A few months ago I was fortunate enough to get myself a handful of loose Gamecube games, as my outlet store nemesis can't be bothered to look inside something which I don't care to give away on my blog. BWAHAHA! Anyway.. For mere pocket change I've picked up Mario Kart Double Dash with the bonus disc, Mario Superstar Baseball and Need for Speed Carbon, the last of which will be the main focus for this entry. Again, they're all loose but I've learned to use my small Gamecube disc carrying case.
For years I've had a non-working copy of Mario Kart Double Dash, sans the instructions, since the working copy came with the bonus disc what was I suppose to do with the original, single disc case? This is a job for one of the numerous random empty Gamecube cases I've found from the outlet store! I took a dual disc case and simply used the Mario Kart Double Dash cover from the original and now have a cased Double Dash with bonus disc.. still sans the instructions. (sad face)
But when it comes to racing games I've always had a place in my heart for the Need for Speed franchise, a franchise that has spanned many years. My introduction to next gen NFS was on the Gamecube when I had Need for Speed Underground, but this was years ago and that copy was sold off to help fund my Xbox habit back in the 2007-2009. I have Underground 2 for the Xbox and had a copy of Most Wanted for the PS2, so I'm familiar with the style of gameplay and the extremely terrible acting scenes they add to make it seem more than it is.
Regardless of my views on the direction they (EA) have decided to take the franchise I've enjoyed every installment, to a point. The cheestastic cut scenes are more like high school drama recitals than anything that could ever be confused for entertainment, let alone acting. But I greatly enjoy being able to freely roam a large, sprawling, open city with lots of different things to discover and explore.
The seeming leap between Underground 2 and Most Wanted was enjoyable in my opinion, everything felt well thought out and well executed. When I first played NFS Carbon I honestly thought it fit somewhere between Underground 2 and Most Wanted, but in fact it came after Most Wanted. The issue there is that it feels more like Underground 2 with sprinkles of half-assed elements from Most Wanted seemingly left in on accident because the programmer just couldn't be bothered to remove them.
The police chases in Most Wanted, while annoying as all hell, were pretty exciting and you could eventually outrun the cops and find a place to hide. Although fewer in Carbon, the chases seem to last forever and no matter what you do the cop is on your tail, without any sign of freedom no matter where you go. Another thing is that Carbon brings us back to a city where everything leads to the exact same place, where Most Wanted had the illusion of being a few different cities strung along by countless back roads and many ways to get anywhere you needed to be, which all aided in the ability to lose the heat.
To me NFS Carbon feels like one giant leap backwards, when they really should have just expanded upon Most Wanted. Another issue is collecting turf and having to defend it after every single race you do, this can easily be avoided by hitting reset but this shouldn't even be a feature at all! This isn't GTA San Andreas where people actually battle for territory, this is more like rich College kids racing around in daddy's car and trying to stir up weak, contrived bullshit, which is exactly what it is.
When I play a racing game I want just that, racing, and none of this vomit inducing high school drama rejects on large sound stages with 6th grade CGI backgrounds thrown in. We live in the 2000s which means this is a Fast and Furious world, where everyone has a "crew", whether its a bunch of rich college kids on daddy's dime, some rednecks in their Ford "Git-r-Done! trying to be a tuner" Focuses or whatever else it may be, everyone has to have a crew, but not in a fucking video game! Give me a list of cars, a list of upgrades and make me race my car over and over to earn enough money to get those upgrades, thats all I want.