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October 25 2006
Need for Speed Carbon - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
23/3/2007EA GamesEA GamesEA Black Box
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-2TBA$119.95

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Graphics look pretty special.
Racing fans will be please to hear that Electronic Arts have just about completed development on Need for Speed Carbon for the Playstation 3's launch this November. With the recent delay to Sony's MotorStorm this game should fill the racing void nicely (well, in America at least following the PS3's delay in Europe and Australia). Electronic Arts are taking the racing from cities all the way to the local canyons and the game looks quite stunning with the PS3's Sixaxis tilt feature also being used in the title.

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In-game with the HUD displayed.
Believe it or not but the game will include a storyline, and one which follows on from Need for Speed Most Wanted. You return home to Palmont city only to find out things have changed. He has been framed for a race that went wrong, rival street racing gangs have taken over, and like any good conflict, it has to be settled on the streets in their cars.

Need for Speed Carbon will challenge players to face the ultimate driving test on treacherous canyon roads. What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world’s most dangerous and action-packed style of street racing. You and your crew must take on your opponent in an all-out war for the city – risking everything to take over your rivals’ neighborhoods, one block at a time.

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Check out the road textures!
As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve. Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon. Indeed the developers are including around 900 different decals, as well as 90,000 paint combinations!

In terms of cars Need for Speed Carbon will include over 50 licensed vehicles for you to race around the city in. These have been split up into three categories; muscle, tuner or exotic. Some, but not all of the cars include Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, Nissan 240 SX, Lamborghini Murcielago, Shelby GT500, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Porsche Cayman S, Toyota Supra, Koenigsegg CCX, Volkswagen Golf R32 and Renault Clio V6. It's pretty impressive to think that's only a small sample of the cars in this game.

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Yet another super slick screen.
In terms of game modes the developers are including Circuit racing, Sprint racing, Speedtrap, and new modes Canyon Duel, Canyon Race, Drift, Canyon Drift, Time Trial and a few others. Each of these game modes will be playable online as well. As you may have noticed one of the new game modes in this game is the Canyon Duel, basically a one-on-one race through the canyons on the outskirts of town. The actual racing sees a return to drift styled racing, which has also led to a new and improved scoring system.

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Crashing through the barrier.
Another extremely impressive feature of this game is the all new Photo Mode. Not too dissimilar to Sony's Photo mode in Gran Turismo EA's version allows you to pause the game mid-race, move the camera and take some photos. These photos can then be uploaded for all your friends to see - with each photo also including the visual enhancements made to your car, its modifications and statistics.

Interestingly the developers are making use of the PS3's Sixaxis controller. It won't be used for steering in the game but rather will give you a big of extra push around some of the tighter corners. It will be interesting to see just how well this works, and how it affects the gameplay.

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Frantic racing up ahead.
Graphically Need for Speed Carbon is running just as smoothly as the XBox 360 title - a vast improvement from early showings where the XBox 360 title appeared much more advanced. While neither game is apparently running at a solid 60fps, it's pretty close. Although we've only seen the game with racing at night time (and we suspect the entire game will take place at night) the amount of detail in the backgrounds is quite impressive.

While the Need for Speed series has grown from year to year we can be honest in saying that Need for Speed Carbon is the first game we're really been excited about for some years. At last Electronic Arts' Black Box development studio has the hardware that can push the graphics to levels which the racing deserves, and it looks like the company will be doing just that. Expect a November release in America with the European/Australian release certain for the PS3 launch in March 2007.