Fresh Look Switches Gears This Week With Need For Speed: Carbon

To the surprise of no one, and to the dismay of the chief editor, I am once again digging up an old title that a bunch of people have likely forgotten about. I was broiling in my house when my heat-exhausted brain decided it wanted to play something from the Need for Speed series. I have been wanting to play a street racing game for a while and settled on Need for Speed: Carbon.

While I could buy it on Steam and play on my high-performance gaming laptop, I instead went medieval and bought an Xbox 360 copy. Why? Sometimes, I just want to play games on my large TV, and my house is not set up to run my computer through that. Besides, I got to enjoy all those kind of awkward cutscenes that Need for Speed: Carbon is known for as you experience the story. Honestly, after all of the games aiming for photorealism, the odd animations in Carbon are actually charming.

In fact, this generation of racing titles might have been my favorite. You had Need for Speed’s Carbon and Most Wanted as well as Test Drive: Unlimited and the entire Burnout series where at least part of it was all about trying to perform spectacular crashes. I remember when Need for Speed: Pro Street released, and I was bummed that it had evolved the series into a realistic racer on closed courses. The charm of these for me was the open world, police chases, and dodging regular traffic during a race.

I know Burnout ran into issues where car manufacturers were not thrilled with their cars being destroyed. Then there was the failed marketing campaign where Acclaim offered to pay for any UK driver’s speeding tickets as long as they occurred on the release date of the game. Burnout became a lightning rod for some people to hate and seemed to make the remaining racing games lean more towards closed course racing.

I will admit that I have not played any super modern racing titles in a while, and maybe some have gone back to street racing (remasters not included). I like the whimsy of games like Destruction Derby where you can race in an ambulance against sedans. I miss the weirdness of San Francisco Rush, and the carnage of Burnout Paradise where cars are exploding against a peaceful island backdrop.

While I will refrain from the whole back in my day train that I usually ride on, I will say that racing titles have become more, well, boring. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing Forza or Gran Turismo as much as the next guy. Sometimes though, I just want to drive expensive cars and cause a level of destruction rarely seen outside of a cartoon.

Most wacky or unique racing titles have been gone for a while now, and I think now is the time to bring them back. I have nothing against realistic racing simulations or closed courses, but don’t you think that an open world is a little bit more fun, especially if there is a story or some kind of missions involved. That’s why I think bringing back ones like that would be pretty well received and good for everyone.

Think about it. There is no way in this era of Twitch that a new Burnout wouldn’t go viral with massive crashes. People want carnage, and we should always give the people what they want. Also, I learned that I am no longer good at racing games anymore. I just have to chalk that up to old age, bad reflexes, or both. But I am pretty sure I can still crash like a pro.

At the end of the day, racing or any other genre of titles should actually be about having fun. And playing Need for Speed: Carbon has provided just that. Maybe you can find some favorite games too, new ones or classics, to enjoy during the upcoming holiday weekend. If you do, I hope you have a great time with them, as much as I did with Need for Speed: Carbon.

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