Archive for nfs

NFS Carbon

Posted in Video Games with tags on December 28, 2006 by Saquib

As winter starts to set in, it’ about time for us to expect a new release from the Need for Speed series. This time, EA changed the obvious naming spree of their series and called it “Carbon”. Okay, so i was wondering what made them name it this way: oh yeah, so man body parts made of Carbon. First time i heard the name 5 months back, i thought you gotta build your car completely out of carbon in the end to win, or you might have to buy and sell carbon to earn cash to get stuffs for your car, or may be carbon will be banned from the world, and it’s up to you to save this precious object from extinction by racing cars made of – yes of course, “Carbon”. Nope, there’s a twist to it: you see the name originates from Carbon Canyon in good old California, where allot of Canyon Racing takes place – or so I was told.

Now, what the heck exactly “Canyon Racing” is? Trust me, I didn’t know until i played the demo myself. To make it simple, it’s like racing (probably just 2 cars) on a Canyon Street (like the roads of Downhill Drifts that we’ve mastered in Underground 2). These have lots of turns, narrow and best of all, this time if you hit the sides out of control, you’re actually going to fall off edge – This is probably the best addition to the game yet so far, but didn’t we see this idea somewhere else before? Yes of course, in Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift, duh! But that’s not all, there are more rules to this Canyon Racing actually: you need to stay close to your opponent at all times. Moreover, there are two sections of this race, first you have to try hard to stay close till the end of that race, but if you overtake him, and stay ahead of him for a certain amount of time (trust me that’s difficult) then you have an instant win – if not, then you go to the second phase, where you’re ahead of him, and have to keep it that way till the end of the race to win; if he overtakes you this time and stays ahead for certain amount of time, then you lose, and have to start fall over again: Cool ‘eh? Nevertheless, to master this kind of racing you’ll need to acquire newer skills that what you had for the older need for speed series. Just like, drift racing and drag racing opened new area of skills unlike traditional circuit or sprint type races, Canyon Racing too is unique. You can’t just play safe and cut corners at high speed, relying it all on your cars mechanical ability and some delusive driving: this time you have to use the downhill and turns to your benefit, while racing trying to drift around corners gives you more speed based on physics; but when you start doing it, you’d feel it’s more like an art of racing, at the same time you’re extremely careful because of the chance of falling off the edge.

This time the game has three types: Muscle, Exotics and Imports to choose from. These are decent categories to fill all our need for cars, at least for a few months. Some of the cars listed by EA and seen in the demo are: BMW M3 GTR ’03, Daimler Mercedes-Benz CLK 500 ’05, Ford Mustang GT ’06, Lamborghini Murcielago ’04, Lotus Elise 111R ’04, Porsche Cayman S ’06, Toyota Supra ’98, Volkswagen Golf R32 ’06, Fiat Alfa Romeo Brera ’06, Daimler Chrysler 300C SRT-8 ’06, Nissan 350Z Fairlady Z ’06, Audi Le Mans Quattro ’07, Aston Martin DB9, Dodge Challenger Concept ’06, Dodge Charger, Dodge Viper, Ford Shelby Cobra GT500, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, Mazda RX-7, Mazdaspeed 3, Porsche Carrera GT, Subaru Impreza WRX STI etc. The customization options looked fabulous in the demo. This time you not only buy and fit in different parts from the manufacturer, but you can completely alter their shapes and sizes inch by inch according to your desire. For example, before you could just choose 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 inches sized wheels; this time you go for virtually any size possible by increasing or decreasing values, change the shape of the alloy, just how much twist you want on the design, how much deeper would it be, how big and wide you want the tires to be, width, height of your spoilers, bumpers, side skirts, depth of the air ducts you want to use on the hood – virtually any imaginable combination you want, with any amount you need – you have it all. This type of intense customization selections were probably never before seen in any previous racing games.

The graphics of the game, as always has been transformed to new looks. However, this time the alteration was not as massive as it was in Most Wanted. First feeling I had playing the game was it was almost similar graphics engine changed to night time. But nights really look like nights now. It’s a lot darker, and somehow makes you feel elegant. The headlights keep the front lighted up nicely and realistically, at the same time the left behind place is a lot darker with the cars glossy paint sort of shining out in style thanks to the night-time with a high contrast look and localized lighting of “Shader Model 3”. However, the games Blur Effect actually disappointed me; I already liked the blur effect of Midnight Club series more than Underground, but in Carbon, it looked even worse. Switching on Motion Blur pretty much heavily blurs everything ( except for the cars ) from very little speed gain. There are a lot of shiny surface, particle effects, high geometry counts to notice, especially if you’re playing it on a high end PC, X360 or PS3 (when it’s available).

For PC users, the game could cause the same trouble while installation that many of us faced with NFS Most Wanted. You might be given an error message that Direct X is not installed or something related to that, even though everything is set up fine. To counter this, just go to the CD/DVD drive or in the folder where files are primarily extracted for installation, and look for the famous Autorun file. Once located, right click and go to properties, then g to the Compatibility tab and use the option of “Windows 2000 Compatibility Mode” from there; and then click on OK. Now run that Autorun file again and it should get installed just fine. Thanks to EA’s development team, NFS Carbon demands resources slightly more than the Most Wanted version. If you played the Most Wanted, it’s possible you can play this game with nearly same settings. If you encounter unexpectedly low frame rates, make sure to check that you have switched off Vertical Sync in the graphics option of the game.

The gameplay seems to have some good changes as well. this time the handling of the cars definitely seemed more realistic. Unlike Most Wanted, where crashing into cars and throwing them away and get passed, this time the effects are more radical, yet EA still gives you the chance to get away with it. The car suspension and game physics feel more interesting and turns are bit more complex – this is mostly recognized in Canyon Races and Drifts. The drifting rules are slightly changed, but now seems better, and even more significant is the fact that they work differently than all other NFS series. You’ll need more speed here, and more cross turns to increase multiplier which will eventually boost the drift scores. Another major aspect I have seen in the game is the computer’s skills to challenge you. First time i started the game, it wasn’t easy, and i couldn’t take the first place no matter what, after 2 races, the game became lot easier – and I knew my skills couldn’t just change in 2 races. i looked into NFS Carbon forums, and did find that the opponent skills are adaptive: just like GMAT! Yeah, if you play badly, the AI becomes stupid, and if you play better, the AI becomes smarter, so the fun is always there. The game also have good old catch up logic – so a few mistakes can be forgiven if you play nicely overall. Although it’s difficult to say how much improved the game is compared to all other games in the Need for Speed series; it’s obvious that EA still creates one of the best racing games for any platform. Need for Speed Carbon truly continues to be fun, action packed and realistic at the same time unlike many other racing games – and this time it’s more about gameplay than anything else.