NFS Carbon 360 downloads

Buy before you play!

With Need For Speed Carbon out this Friday, EA has kicked off its Xbox 360 downloadable content plans with the release of the Collector's Edition Upgrade and various smaller bundles.

The Collector's Edition Upgrade isn't such a bad idea - aimed at gamers who either couldn't find or regret not buying the slightly more expensive retail Collector's Edition, it opens up access to all that version's extra content.

The difference in price on shop shelves ought to be around a fiver, and it's not that bad here - asking for 800 Microsoft points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.30) and offering 12 new tracks, six new Challenge series missions and ten exclusive cars for the price.

That includes the '92 Nissan 240 SX, the '07 Jaguar XK, the '06 Camaro Concept, and the Koenigsegg CCX. It's worth noting, though, that the bonus cars cannot be modified further once downloaded, and cannot be used in Career mode.

And if you're buying the game but can't actually be bothered to play it, EA's got you covered too, with its now-standard range of downloadable content designed to let you toy with advanced kit without having to go through the painful process of playing the game to unlock it.

On the turning front, there's the Performance Drivetrain Bundle (400 points), giving you access to all Street and Pro packages for engine and transmission upgrades; the Performance Engine Boost Bundle (400 points), which is the same but nitrous and turbo parts; the Performance Handling Bundle (400 points), which is suspension, brakes and tyres; and the Ultimate Performance Bundle (800 points), which is all three of the above in one handy download.

There's also the Muscle Car Autosculpt Body Kit (300 points), which features 12 autosculpting kits allowing you to play around with the front and rear bumpers, skirt, chop top and bonnet on muscle cars; the Autosculpt Tuner Body Kit (300 points), which is 13 kits for tuner cars; and the Autosculpt Exotic Body Kit (300 points), for exotics.

Not only that, but EA's throwing in the option to buy some cars too, with the '99 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, the '04 Lamborghini Murcielago and the '06 Dodge Viper SRT-10 all available for 80 points each. All of the stuff in the last three paragraphs either says that the individual pieces of content or "many of the items" in them "can be achieved without purchase by progressing through Career".

Watch out for our Need For Speed Carbon review later this week.

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