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All told, Need for Speed Carbon for the Nintendo DS is a solid street racing game that should provide you with many hours of enjoyment. It isn't a feature-for-feature replica of the console versions, but it's close enough.
Is the game as good as the console versions? No. Does the DS version do anything special to warrant a purchase if you're already playing the console version? No. Does it stand on its own as a good racer for the Nintendo DS? Yes. Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City is a really good racing entry on the dual-screen portable, and even with the expected warts that usually surface in EA's "secondary" DS development projects, it's a quality production. And in terms of arcade racers on the system, this is definitely one of the better ones. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but it at least brings the series back from the dregs after last year's awful Most Wanted.
Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City is a fun and fast-paced racer with plenty of customization options. For racing fans, this is an excellent buy; just don't expect the single player portion to last very long.
Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City is a giant leap ahead of Most Wanted and probably nudges Underground 2 as the franchise's top title for the DS. There are some nice touches -- the storyline, the wingman idea, and the use of the dual screens -- but it still lacks in the graphics and overall presentation department. If you're a fan of the series, again, this is the best of the lot for the system, but DS owners still are without the killer street racing game they deserve.
So while Carbon won't necessarily offend your street racing senses, it's won't knock your socks off either. One thing's for sure - it beats the hell out of last year's Most Wanted DS title, but since that's not saying much at all, we say take another pass this time around.
Pocket Gamer UK
While Need For Speed Carbon may well offer a joyous experience on the other platforms and go on to dominate the charts, the DS version is a classic example of unsuitable original material and rushed porting. Even given the paucity of decent racing games on DS, we suggest you drive on by.