Need For Speed Carbon Wii
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
I’m pretty sure most of you will have seen various movies on the Internet showing how the Nintendo Wii can make games we’ve been playing for years seem very different. The unique remote controller is certainly an interesting device that can be used in a variety of ways. Previously we’ve reviewed Wii games that use the remote as a gun or a sword but with the Wii version of Need For Speed Carbon you get the option to either use the remote as a steering wheel or an accelerator pedal. It’s certainly interesting but does it make the game any more enjoyable?
The game is set in Palmont City and the idea of NFS Carbon is to conquer each of the different territories that make up Palmont City. You’ll take territories by claiming the blocks in those territories. This is done by winning the race events in those blocks. You’ll begin your career by choosing one of three different cars. There are three different car classes in NFS Carbon. There are Tuner, Exotic and Muscle cars to choose from and they all have their own pros and cons. There are quite a few events to take part in such as checkpoint races, circuit races, drift races etc. There are also a few where the police are involved, arguably there aren’t enough of them, such as pursuit evasion and trade paint events. Of course you’ll have bosses to deal with too and they can be tricky. You can choose to go straight to the events or simply free roam around Palmont City. Naturally you can modify your car too. Outside of the Career mode there is also a Quick Race mode and a Challenge series mode. There is no online mode on the Wii version, which doesn’t really come as a surprise as no Wii title is yet to feature online play.
The main difference between NFS Carbon and other NFS titles is you have your own crew and can employ them as wingmen during races. You can have three crew members at any one time and each comes with race and career bonuses. Neville, for instance, will earn you extra cash from each race. Each crew member also has specific roles to play when used as a wingman. There are three wingman roles to play as. The types of wingman are drifter, scout and blocker. Blockers get in the way of other drivers, drifters allow you to enter their slipstream allowing you to benefit from the reduced drag and scouts highlight shortcuts to allow you to complete races in the quickest time possible. The use of these wingmen is limited though. They can be useful at times, especially the blockers, but most of the time you can get along fine without them.
The big thing with the Wii version of NFS Carbon is the control scheme. The game offers several control schemes for you to try your hand at. By default you’ll just use the remote to drive with. You’ll hold the remote sideways with both hands and with the buttons facing upwards. You’ll lower your left hand to turn left and lower your right hand to turn right. It actually feels quite natural. The default sensitivity settings aren’t that responsive and you’ll need to increase it for the handling to feel satisfactory. You can also hold down the A button to allow you to over steer. To assist you in handling the car a small steering wheel icon is displayed at the bottom of the screen to show you how your actions are controlling the car. The 2 button is used to accelerate and the 1 button is used as a brake. The four alternative control schemes all involve the nunchuck to steer with and the remote is used to both accelerate and decelerate (it kind of emulates a gas/accelerator pedal). Personally I thought the default control scheme was the best of the bunch. It would have been nice had the option to use the classic controller been included to allow a more traditional control scheme had gamers wanted one.
Graphically NFS Carbon on the Wii looks fractionally better than on the PlayStation 2 with the car models and general textures looking a little sharper. In truth there’s not much of a difference and the graphical quality is what you would expect from an original Xbox. Load times are actually pretty slick and are better than the PlayStation 2 version (which actually isn’t that bad). The frame rate is also better than in the PlayStation 2 version but unfortunately there are still times when the frame rate dips. Thankfully it’s not problematic and doesn’t really spoil the experience.
Support for deaf gamers in NFS Carbon for the Wii is the same as it was for the PC and PlayStation 2 versions; that is to say it’s pretty poor. The game begins with the usual supermodel delivered disclaimer, about the need to drive safely in real life, which isn’t subtitled. The introductory cutscene also isn’t subtitled. In fact none of the game’s cutscenes are subtitled meaning you’ll miss out on the game’s story, which to some extent is disappointing although in truth you don’t play the NFS games for their rich storyline. Comments from various characters during the races are not subtitled. The tutorial you’re given from Nikki about using your wingmen is not subtitled, although you do receive brief text messages that sort of get the point across. On the positive side you’ll receive text messages from time to time that explain what needs to be done and any important communications you receive are shown in text too. In short the game’s rather disappointing in its support for deaf gamers.
Those looking for an enjoyable driving game to pick up for their new Wii console are definitely going to appreciate what Need For Speed Carbon has to offer. The game has a wide range of cars, a nice amount of customisation options and a healthy selection of race types. I actually enjoyed playing the game with the default controls (with the sensitivity maximized) and with a little practice it actually felt rather intuitive. Is it better than the usual control schemes you have in games of this type? It’s not as good as using a steering wheel but some may prefer it to the standard controller configuration that you’ll find on the other consoles. The lack of an online mode is a little disappointing but seeing as no Wii game so far supports online gaming it’s hardly surprising. If you’re after some four-wheeled action on your Wii at the moment then NFS Carbon is definitely the game to go for at this point in time.
NFS Carbon was enjoyable on the PC and PlayStation 2 and it's just as enjoyable on the Wii. There's no online mode here, which is a shame but the new control method definitely makes this feel like a different experience and for the most part it works quite nicely if you increase the sensitivity.