The Need for Speed series is special. It’s special in the sense that EA makes one of them every year, and yet, only seem to make a meaningful entry into the series every couple years. Last year’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted did a good job of trying to update the series in a way that helped bring the Need for Speed title a bit more credibility, and for the most part, it succeeded much more than the Underground games ever did. Now, a year later, we get Need for Speed: Carbon, which serves as an excellent example of meeting low expectations. All things told, Carbon seems to take the Need for Speed series nowhere, and while the game can be entertaining in its own right, many of the new additions aren’t very compelling. The multiplayer options have improved, but aside from that, many of Carbon‘s elements, including career mode and new game play ideas, fall flat.
Carbon seems to be the first Need for Speed title to directly tie itself to its predecessor. The story is continued from Need for Speed: Most Wanted as you drive in a BMW M3 GTR, which you won back from Razor in the last game, towards Palmont City. It’s not long until Sergeant Cross, the police chief now turned bounty hunter from Most Wanted, catches up and totals your BMW. You’re soon introduced to Darius, who informs you that you’ll be working with him to take out the three rival gangs in the city and rebound from your run-in with Cross. As time goes on, you’ll uncover a lot of the underlying plot behind Carbon, which includes you escaping the city one night after a massive police bust some time ago. Thus begins the career mode.
Career mode is ultimately similar to many of the previous Need for Speed titles. Notable differences include a return to urban street racing as well as night racing, but the biggest difference in Carbon is probably the street racing gangs that control territories throughout the city. At the start, you’ll have to compete in races in territories in order to obtain them for your gang. Once you’ve taken over all of the territory from a gang, you’ll have to race against the leader of said gang. Repeat four times, and you’ve essentially got Need for Speed: Carbon‘s career mode in a nutshell. It can often times feel a bit dull, and it also seems a little shorter than in previous games, which, given the dull nature, may not be such a bad thing.
There are some additions as well as omissions with the race types. Drifting has made a return after being absent in Most Wanted, and there are a few new online modes like A