Need For Speed: Carbon (Wii) Review

By James Temperton 26.12.2006 10

This game is urban, very urban. Being from the harsh streets of Sussex we're not accustomed to people who have 'game', are called 'Razor' and wear more 'bling' than a well stocked English gift shop. The arrival of this game was greeted with a great deal of caution here at C3 Towers. Would it be annoyingly urban again? Would it suffer from serious gameplay flaws? Would the Wii control work? Would it look rubbish compared to the other next-gen versions? Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Oh dear...

EA were onto a good thing when Need for Speed hit consoles back in 2003 and since then the cash has kept on rolling. Whilst the rest of the gaming world seems to love all things urban, we can't help but feel that EA are overplaying it a bit here. Over the top FMV sequences, lots of women, lots of people with strange names and lots of chances to trick out your wheelz. All this is well and good and if done well is pretty damn good fun, but EA have forgotten one key thing. This game is on the Wii.

And it doesn't work. The only bling in this game is the continuous flow of profit to EA's cash register. If the constant darkness, urban music and ramming from opponent cars doesn't annoy and depress you then the uncompromisingly tough Wii control system will. The career mode of the game opens up with a customarily long, pointless and badly acted cut-scene and then without warning you are in control of your car, forced to race down a very twisty mountain-top whilst being chased by a very annoying 'enemy' who constantly shuns you batters you into the mountainside. The fact that the default control scheme doesn't lend itself very well to the art of cornering is quite a big factor.

Screenshot for Need For Speed: Carbon on Wii

In this default mode, the Wii Remote is used as a steering 'wheel' of sorts, tilt it one way you turn that way in the game, tilt it the other and you turn the other way. The problem is, your car doesn't move how you'd expect it to, it isn't accurate and it is almost impossible to complete one lap of a course without crashing into something whilst going round a long corner. And we practiced a lot. Annoyed but refusing to be put off from this urban racing fun-fest we fiddled about with the controller options.

Screenshot for Need For Speed: Carbon on Wii

The rest of the control modes makes use of the nunchuck controller and the main Wii remote. In each case the remote us used as a funny looking accelerator peddle, which works quite well, but breaking by pulling the Wii remote up is confusing and doesn't work. You can also set the nunchuck as your steering device, which is done by tilting it. Never before has a control system been worse. Alas, no control system makes this game anymore than playable and that just isn't good enough. Without a shadow of a doubt, Need for Speed works better with a standard controller.

Whilst we're picking this game to pieces, it is worth mentioning the menu navigation, which is totally pants. Considering the deault (and supposedly the 'best') control system involves you holding the controller on its side, EA seem to have neglected this in the menu system. Everything is the wrong bleeding way round. Having to navigate through menus on the Wii using the D-Pad is insulting enough, but confusing us by putting everything in the wrong place is just mean.

Screenshot for Need For Speed: Carbon on Wii

The game is stuffed full of the usual plot elements, characters and scenarios. All of this comes together into the rather comprehensive ten-hour career mode. You pick a car, tune it all up to your personal preference and play about a bit. When that is done you are thrust into the main game were (rather than in Most Wanted) everything is about taking over territory and becoming the 'top dog' (or should that be 'dawg') in the area. There are four zones, each split up into a number of smaller zones, take over the small zones to take over the big zones to take over the area and win. Simple. The races themselves comprise of Sprint, Circuit and Drift modes. You race as part of a team, allowing you to send out a number of crew members to enable you to win with style. You can send out scouts who check out the courses for clever shortcuts and alternate paths. You can slingshot past teammates, send them to block opponents and generally use them to your advantage in your never-ending efforts to win all the damn time.

Those of you who have caught the adverts for this game on TV will have seen its trademark track, the canyon race. Whilst pointless, tedious and not very much fun, they do provide something a little bit different. As is the case with most Need for Speed games, the challenge this one poses is a very significant one. As you move into the latter stages you really do get tested by some very tough racing opponents. Whilst this is normally a welcome challenge in the game, when you have to battle with over zealous opponents and a mangled control system it all just gets a bit too much. Add into that the graphics which are just about good enough in comparison to the PS2 and XBOX versions and a soundtrack that instantly makes you want to hit mute and you have a fairly offensive game.

Screenshot for Need For Speed: Carbon on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

If you enjoy the Need for Speed series then go out and get it on the XBOX, 360, PS2 or GameCube. This game does not work on Wii. The gameplay is flawed, the controls are often impossible and the whole game suffers from some major compatibility issues. You won't enjoy it, you'll find yourself pummeling your groin with you Wii remote and the whole experience will leave you scared, irritated and

Developer

EA Games

Publisher

EA

Genre

Driving

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (8 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Shame that, since the GC version is pretty decent :-(

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

...if you're into game-ruining frame rates.

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

Yeah, that's true and I read your same comment in the GC review posts :Smilie But at least the game played much better than this one sounds!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Hmmm, not to be contradictary or anything, but i dissagree fully on your comments about the controls. We also have the game, and i quite enjoy/like using the wii controller on its default setting and though there was somewhat a harsh learning curve, i know longer have any issues with it. Dont think the game is as bad as youve made it out to be, but i guess its all dependent on your taste :Smilie

thats out of my wish list and into the trash!


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I know that you didn't need to mention it but not all of the Need for speed games have been all that urban. You might not guess it from the cut scenes but 'Most wanted' mostly takes place by the sea, with rolling countryside all around and very naturalistic colours.

I'm not a fan on the NFS games - had one on the PS2 and it was ok but nothing special. However, read this review with interest as EA hold the key to my favourite racing game (Burnout if you hadn't guessed!) and was interested on the impact the transition to Wii for driving games would be.

For God's sake EA, don't stuff up Burnout like it appears you've stuffed up this! (Excite Truck id looking ever so appealing too!)

The only bling in this game is the continuous flow of profit to EA's cash register.

That sounds familiar :tongue:

1"We're mentalist psychic Scots , which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

Unlike the reviewer I absolutely loved the alternate control scheme (2). Steering by twisting the nunchuck and using the Wiimote as an accelerator/brake has made this one of my favorite Wii games. In contrast the default controls (tilt the Wiimote - buttons to accelerate and brake) feel awkward and unpleasant. I hope other games will provide similar control options in the future!

That review doesn't really explain a great deal about how the game actually works. The controls are slightly ropey though.

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