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Monday, January 15, 2007

Need For Speed Carbon – First Impressions – Playstation 3

Today, I finally was able to crack open a Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) game that I received for Christmas. My original intention was to play it over the holidays while I had some time off. Unfortunately, as many of you know – I spent that week in pretty much in bed with the flu. What fun. None the less, since today is Martin Luther King Day, it gave me the opportunity to check it out.

The games itself is a Blu-Ray Disc, meaning that it could be true HD. However, this game – Need for Speed Carbon – by EA Sports HD, only supports video output of up to 720p. Not the true 1080p that both the Playstation 3 and Blu-Ray discs support. Enough said about the technical pieces of the game.

I have not played ANY of the need for speed series of games since the original Need for Speed was released back in 1994, while I was in college. In the meantime, I became a real fan of the Gran Turismo series. From the looks of the packaging before my PS3 boots up the game, it looks very similar for Midnight Club 3 – DUB Edition, which I have been playing on my PSP on some recent business trips. The first thing that I noticed as the game starts up is that it does not make much use of the PS3’s hard drive. This is a distinct difference from both Call of Duty 3 and Resistance: Fall of Man – used a few GBs to help with game loading and scene changes.

The introduction is pretty interesting. The first thing you’re told by a character (Kenji – Bushido) is that “Didn’t expect you to show your face again. Things have changed around here.” Definitely interesting, but I am left wondering whether I have somehow missed out on important facts by not playing other games in the series or if the story is started mid-stream. After getting though setup story, you see a few scenes of your driver escaping a police chase and then you come back onto the scene.

I put an hour or two in the game and here are my observations.

  • Why does every game have to use a different set of controls for the same thing? Yes, I know I can change them – but what is the point? It would be nice if the gas and brake were always in the same place. It took a couple of minutes to get used to the Gas/Brake being on R2/L2.
  • Graphics are good, but nothing spectacular. I have tested out Gran Turismo HD, and those graphics are far superior.
  • Game-play is not too difficult, I only had to take one or two races on a second try to win, and I have already conquered Kenji as a boss.
  • The story-line and characters are pretty good thus far, keeping you mildly entertained between races.
  • Within your crew, the “Blockers” have been especially helpful for me. I have not gotten too much out of the “Scout” crew members in the way of help.

In a short summary, with just a few minutes under my belt, the game is fun and entertaining – but is not an award winner by any means. It is very similar to the Midnight Club series from Rockstar games as well. Lastly, I have not tried much in the way of online play yet – as I am sure I would take a beating in short order.