Need for Speed Carbon

Common Sense Media says

Mean, nasty street-car racing, not at its best.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lawlessness is very cool here. The game glorifies illegal acts beyond street racing and a video warning at startup reminds kids and parents not to try this on their local streets. No consequences for bad behavior are ever shown.


Cars crash a lot but never really get damaged. Often slamming into a rival is the only way to win!


Some flirting, mild innuendo.


Criminals imply threats.


The cars are all based on real sportscars. A lot of emphasis is put on spending money to "trick" cars out.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game features illegal street racing and most of the trappings found in "pimp my ride" culture: Everything is neon, everyone sports an attitude, and lawlessness is "cool." A lot of emphasis is put on spending money to "trick" cars out with cool accoutrements. The game glorifies illegal acts, to put it lightly, and EA is aware of this. They've included a video warning at startup, reminding kids and parents not to try this on their local streets.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In NEED FOR SPEED CARBON, players assume the role of a racer with a checkered past. The story challenges you to take over the fictional town of Palmont City one borough at a time (or defend what you've taken) by tweaking your car, picking the right wingman to mess with rival cars, and winning races against rival gangs. The focus is on arcade-style racing -- cars never get damaged and stay glued to the road -- but there's a strategic layer that makes the game feel deeper than your average racer. A new concept, "wingmen," allow you to have a computer-controlled car help you win races by messing with rival cars (by blocking, bumping, or harassing them).

Is it any good?


The graphics are beautiful, offering a wide variety of city streets and twisting, turning canyons to race in. All races take place at night, which gets boring after a while, but the neon and headlight effects are often stunning -- particularly when you watch a replay of a race.

While the addition of wingmen is cool, their practical effect is that they make the game too easy: As a consequence, initially, moderately experienced racers will win most races. However, that winning streak will come to a screeching halt when faced with Boss races, intense competition where you can actually win territory, because those races are incredibly hard and frustrating. Need for Speed Carbon would have been a better game if the developers had found a happy medium between these two levels of racing difficulty.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why safe driving is important and why people should never participate in street racing in real life. Parents might want to remind kids that this game has an unrealistic lack of consequences. Families might also want to discuss the racing car culture -- why does it have such a strong pull? Why do people have such loyalties to different types of cars?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:December 5, 2006
ESRB rating:E10+ for Violence (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360)

This review of Need for Speed Carbon was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bySgt-Samson July 3, 2010
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 10 years old Written byluke3290 February 11, 2009

need for carbon report

this report was written by the R,S,L game club (

It is a very good game but the only thing bad with it is that there is no good tracks. There is a very good voice sounding like the real police. the graphics are okay. But it has free roam which allows you to go out of the races and run a muck but be careful of the town police witch are always watching you 24 7.This is not the only Need for speed game. there is a lot more out there. there a lots of different Need for speed carbon games on Nintendo DS. On free roam there is lots of short cuts through out the city. There is also lots of “rival crew challenges” in the free roam mode. There is lots of unlockables through out the game. There is some things that you can go through to crash down. The record for the most police after somebody on Need for speed carbon is 55 that we heard of. The races are very easy at the start of the career but it gets harder when you get into it. some tracks a good but some are bad. You can unlock lots of crew members so you can choose witch crew member to drive the car you have brought. You can unlock special kits when you complete a race in first place or near the car in first place. The game it self is a very good game. The cars you race against can be a bit pushy some times in races but the police are very pushy. There is lots and lots of cars to buy from the car shop. The cars include Mazda, Alfa romeo, Chevrolet and many more. The game is based on the races, police and The canyons. The tracks get bigger as you complete the career. There is the four types of races, they are drift, drag, grip and challenge series On the screen it includes a mini map, speed, gear, tachometer and nitrous gauge. On free roam when you are getting chased by police it also includes number of police after you and cars that you have disabled. You can represent a class, you can choose from tuner, muscle or exotic. In challenge series you can race on the canyons and win meddles but be careful of crashing off the canyon and loosing. There s also quick race witch is just a quick race around town. There is lot of reward cards to earn.
By: Luke

Teen, 16 years old Written bythebizent April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Be careful...

It's a fun game, but with a bad message. I think it's for mature teens who know that it's a bad idea to break driving laws.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families