Need For Speed Carbon: Own The City is the peak of DS racing games, Even by today's standards.
The player flashbacks to a race where he and his brother and a couple of other racers are racing to own the city. But something happened, leaving you, the main character in the hospital with amnesia and his brother Mick dead. The player sets off on different races to beat a variety of crews and see if they know anything about the accident, which is mainly focused on four different crew leaders: Poorboy, Buddy, EX, and you. You can become less attatched to the plot as the impact is weakened by repetitive racing throughout the game, but the plot that stands is very engrossing and at times rather emotional, which is hard to come by in a street racing game.
The gameplay is based upon rival street racing crews. Players run a crew and can hire specific street racers to be in their crew and the active friendly racer is known as a wingman. Each hirable street racer has a skill. Each skill has different properties from finding hidden alleys/back streets (shortcuts) to reducing police attention. Cars driven by the wingmen are also different; blockers drive muscles, drafters drive exotics and scouts drive tuners. In career mode, players have to race tracks and win to conquer territories and face off against bosses to conquer districts.
Unlike Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Underground, Carbon had no drag racing. However, Carbon features the return of drift racing, a mode that had been included in two previous installments Need For Speed: Underground and Underground 2, but omitted from Carbon's predecessor, Most Wanted.
Largely impress for the most part, especially as its on the DS. Everything from the cars, the scenery and even the menus look nice to look at. You sometimes get a few texture pop-ins now and again but these are a rather big rarity.
Comparing the graphics of this to the likes of the X360 and PS3 versions would be stupid, but put it next to the PSP, there is a difference but its not a very big one, and this largely improves from the GBA's graphics too, allthough you probably allready knew that without having to look.
The sound is probably the least impressive area of this game, allthough its not bad. Occasional track jumps for no reason and that annoying 'Scratched CD' sound during loading screens is a bummer, and theres no consistency or transitions in the music. It continously plays songs one after the other from the moment you turn it on until the moment you turn the DS off.
As for the soundtrack, By default, hip hop/grime songs are played when the player is driving an exotic car, electronic songs are played when the player is driving a tuner car, and rock music is played when the player is driving a muscle car, though, this setting can be turned off. These songs were released by EA in very limited quantities on a special edition disc which was not available with the DS version.
This is the part of every review I have difficulty to write. It's tough to describe, but with this game, their is alot of cars to unlock, many different customization options, and the will to want to beat your old times or complete the races you never did first time round. These reasons would allways make me happily pick up this game multiple times, and you would be daft not to want to recieve 100% completion.
Plot - 9
Gameplay - 10
Graphics - 8
Sounds - 7
Replay Value - 10
OVERALL : - 9
Being a 5 year old game now, i still believe this game is at the height of DS racing games and can compete with the more modern racing DS games of today. Only costing about £5 or £10 in the pre-owned section in your local game store, this is definitely a worthy pick up for anyone with time on thier hands, and a will to use it!