Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. It’s a shame that EA decided to drop the intense cop chases from Most Wanted. Carbon is still a very addicting game even though the drift races don’t work quite as well as they should.
  2. Though not a “graphical” enhancement in the truest sense, EA’s Autosculpting mode is the Tiger Woods “Gameface” of racing games. By allowing gamers to adjust nearly everything on their car, from the width of the spoiler to the height of the blower on that ’69 Charger, Carbon allows gamers to truly make their ride their own.
  3. This is the best execution of the ideas that were first introduced in Underground, and so long as you didn't hate those games or have gotten burned out, this is a solid, if slightly underwhelming entry into the series.
  4. 85
    If you have a Xbox 360 console, stick to that version of Carbon.
  5. A pretty decent title, if not visually off-putting.
  6. 82
    Carbon does a good job of capturing the look and feel of your average street racing movie. Its got loads of gorgeous looking cars, winding city courses, speed, lots of blur and a few cutaway camera tricks. Oh and having Emmanuelle Vaugier from Smallville and CSI:NY doesn’t hurt any either.
  7. The amount of customization options behind the game easily make this the most worthwhile NFS 'tuner' title to date.
  8. This isn't a brand new experience but it is one that continues to impress and entertain for hours on end.
  9. And gameplay wise, so what if Carbon isn't redefining the street racing genre - really, at this point, what could? It still hits a sweet spot of intensity, danger, and style.
  10. The SIXAXIS controller is used well, adding a new element to the driving physics.
  11. Carbon plays a lot like the past versions, so chances are you already know if you like it or not.
  12. The racing and the physics are always right on the money and with Carbon we get everything we know and love about Need for Speed – another solid and enjoyable racer.
  13. There's fun to be had, and those looking for yet another racing game have an option in what EA has put together here, just don't expect to be floored by what is essentially just a rehashing of ideas we've all seen before.
  14. 79
    An overall fun racing game, though in large part it's simply more of the same from EA. Cars still feel too similar to each other, and as they're the stars of any racing game, we wish there was a bit more character here. Autosculpt is a fantastic addition to the series' already great customization features.
  15. The fleshed-out story is a nice touch, and the head-to-head canyon races are a hoot, but with so little content it’s hard to recommend as a purchase unless you’re spending your nights on deserted pieces of road looking for some action.
  16. 76
    All this obsessive tinkering smacks of desperation. [Issue 148, p.71]
  17. Undoubtedly, Need for Speed: Carbon is a fun game--the racing is solid, there are a lot of cool cars, and the car customization is pretty robust--but your wingman, one of the game's big new features, don't work out as well as they should. [Feb. 20007, p.82]
  18. While Carbon is peppered with clever ideas, ultimately it falls victim to EA's insistence on annually iterating a franchise. [Jan. 2007, p.68]
  19. Not a bad game, but something about it seems off. The autosculpting rocks as a feature, but the stagnant gameplay is not exactly propelled by the story mode.
  20. Great fun, but familiar and not quite as good as the Xbox 360 version. [Apr 2007, p.64]
  21. Little differentiates the PlayStation 3 version from its counterpart on Xbox 360, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While there are frustrating moments, such as the duels and the laughable attempt at incorporating motion controls, it largely plays well.
  22. Even though the wingman mechanics and canyon races don't quite pan out, it's still a stylish and enjoyable street racer.
  23. The blurring is the biggest offender, causing the backgrounds to lose all detail, and the wake left by each car looks considerably worse than in the 360 version.
  24. Back out on the streets and nothing much has changed. Eyes forward, pedal down. [May 2007, p.94]
  25. 70
    You steer with the analog stick like normal, but then you can tilt the controller in a tight turn for a tiny bit of extra turning boost. And that's just dumb. It's like adding a "turn harder!" button that hardly does anything anyway.
  26. 70
    Not a huge improvement over previous versions, with only a few minor additions, a few new vehicles and a new setting.
  27. 70
    There's not much here to differentiate the PS3 version from current-gen consoles besides the sweet high-resolution graphics (and in the case of the Xbox 360, not even that), but if you have a PS3, there are worse games you could play on it.
  28. An intuitive lobby system and latency-free online play are the only missing ingredients that keep Need for Speed: Carbon from being recognized as an excellent gaming package.
  29. The frankly terrible graphics will ruin the experience for some gamers and at the very least will disappoint.
  30. A competent racer, but all the fun seems to have been sucked out of the series since "Most Wanted." [Apr 2007, p.56]
  31. Get the decent PS2 version instead and save your money for a real next-gen racer. [Jan 2007, p.76]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 3 out of 10
  1. Dec 26, 2011
    Amazing game. Probably the only racing game ever created worth playing. It had great handling and a great backstory behind the game. The cars were great, customization was unreal. All around amazing game. Full Review »
  2. Oct 7, 2011
    This game is by far not realistic at all, but that is a good thing. The cars are easy to drive, the races are fun, the customization is endless. This game really hits the spot. lots of people are saying how the graphics are straight out of PS2 game, WELL THEY'RE NOT, the graphics are just as good as any other PS3 car game.

    The gameplay is fun and some of the boss races are hard but you get through them eventually.

    Overall the game is worth a buy as nowadays its only about £10 on amazon
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 2, 2012
    Make a game with an amazing open world, give it some shiny graphics and you know it will get positive comments. This is the case for Need for Speed Carbon. Only one or two elements really let this down. For one, the story. Which is crap, as you expect with any racing game, but the characters as well are just poor. The "crew" element also feels bland. Luckily the gameplay, graphics and open world pick the whole experience up. Its a joy to start police chases and to race around the city. This alone makes up for all the annoying characters and the "story". Its a good game but its not great. If you want an amazing open world racing game I recommend Burnout Paradise. But you can probably pick this up for very little money now so this is a suitable fix if your low on cash. Full Review »