NASCAR video games have been a bit confusing. Either they’ve been really great (NASCAR Heat, NASCAR Thunder 2003, a few of the various NASCAR PC Games, NASCAR 2005) or they’ve been downright awful (all of the NASCAR games from EA for the last few years, NASCAR the Game Inside Line, and the last few, which have been very uninspired). There rarely seems to be an in-between with the franchise. NASCAR has has a great run in the smartphone world lately and Xbox One, with Real Racing 3 and Forza Motorsports 6, but those aren’t full blown NASCAR games. (Be that as it may they’re the best version of a playable NASCAR that you’ll find around currently outside of iRacing). But soon we will be getting a new NASCAR game for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, named NASCAR Heat Evolution, and so far it looks like it’ll be a decent game. I’ve definitely got a few things I’m not liking about the game from what I’ve seen so far but all in all I do like what I’m seeing. So almost like a review I’m going to list what I like about it and what I don’t then take it from there. It’s a different way to talk about a game seeing as how I’ve never touched the game, but you don’t have to play it when you’ve seen a lot of gameplay and whatnot to develop an opinion of it, so here we go.
What I like: Simulation mode! The game has a dumbed down mode that plays like an arcade game, which is pretty typical with a lot of console racers, but there is also a simulation mode that plays more realistically and that really lends itself to playing with a steering wheel and pedal combo, and that’s something I’m excited about. You really need that type of thing alongside laser scanned tracks, thus creating the most realistic experience possible, but even without the laser tracks the simulation mode really does add some depth to the game and it’s something I’m looking forward to experimenting with. I also like that the A.I. isn’t a one trick pony. It learns based on how you play and adjusts its line accordingly. That may be common in games like Forza Motorsports but to my knowledge that hasn’t been done all that often in the big NASCAR games so I can’t wait to see how the computer characters compare against me and improve as I improve as well.
I also am excited about career mode, where you start as your own designed character (male or female) and start off at a random part of the current season and try to earn top 30 finishes and get noticed by sponsors. You’re in a blank car and aren’t all that fast, which is exactly how real life can be as well, so that aspect of the game looks like it has been done very well and I can’t wait to start off my career as my own personal character. I’d still like a career mode where you start off in lower series but that’s fine that you’re only in the Cup, it’s still a version of career mode that I think looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. And even though I don’t play multiplayer all that much they are allowing a full field of people you meet online to all race in one race, 40 full players. I don’t mess with online gameplay all that much ever since dealing with people who drive way over their head on iRacing and left that world behind, but that’s something I may just step into and see what it’s all about. If it works efficiently then that’ll be a big deal and I can’t wait to see how it goes.
But not all is positive. I think this game looks dated and it’s not even out yet. No, it doesn’t look just purely trashy or awful, but it doesn’t look like a great game from a graphical standpoint either. I really hope that once it’s on my TV and I’m seeing it for myself that it looks better but I’m far from the only one complaining about the graphics right now so I’m hopeful that things aren’t too bad in person but I’m not hopeful. I also don’t like the idea, though it’s no game breaker, that the tracks aren’t laser scanned, thus making the most realistic version of the tracks possible outside of/including iRacing. This is the video game all about NASCAR. In as many aspects as possible it should be the most realistic video game when it comes to NASCAR, not something like iRacing or Forza Motorsports. (That’s not to make a knock against those games, they are great games, but a fully fledged NASCAR game should be the best).
It looks like, overall, the homework was done and this NASCAR game may just be a good game. There are some things I need to see for me to fully deem it a success but even with what I’m not liking so far the likes over pile it and that’s a good thing. If all else fails I know that I have the Forza Motorsports 6 game to scratch that NASCAR itch but I’d love to have a full NASCAR game be successful as well, time will tell as it arrives next month!