NFS: Carbon [*****]

I’ve been a fan of Electronic Art’s Need for Speed series since I first encountered the classic Need For Speed: SE. The game was the pinnacle of graphics, audio, and racing physics for its time on a PC. The years since have seen numerous releases under the NFS moniker, and IMHO they just keep getting better.

Their latest release, Carbon, holds true to the die cast by the original Underground while managing to smash all exceptions to pieces. The loose plot involves the driver from Most Wanted, returning to where he started out and not so happily greeted by the smoking hot Emanuelle Vaugier.

Physics are again improved, and once again you’re able to happily vault through a guard-rail to your certain demise. There’s a solid arcade feel to the game, but the physics are tight enough to satisfy even the biggest simulation racer fan (me). Graphics again are outstanding… the current generation of game consoles (the system used here was the Xbox 360) offer near photo-realistic graphics. It’s hard to even claim the line has blurred, I think someone at EA is officially sitting on it. Audio reproduction is again outstanding, the rumble of a Camaro SS V8, a Mazda Rotary, or even the harmonious note of fine European power – all again set the standard by which arcade racing games will follow for years to come.

Enough of the review, when it comes to arcade racing, EA has always put out that extra effort to stay on top and NFS: Carbon takes the cake. Sure there are other arcade racers out there, but none of them combined add up to Carbon. Take it for a spin. Hell, get a Gamefly account like I did and rent or buy it!

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