NASCAR is a motorsport that I’ve been a major fan of since I was a little boy, for right around 20 years by this point. I likely got into it as quickly as I did because of my parents, who are major fans themselves. Since they watched it I did as well and it has stuck with me ever since that time. One of the other things that stuck with me that was around when I was little was video games, starting with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis. So it was only natural when we got a PSOne and got NASCAR 98 that I’d want to give it a shot. I loved playing the game, and I got most of the ones that followed, whether through renting or by actually buying the games. Most of them were pretty enjoyable and offered a lot to do. Some of them were horrible games that weren’t worth playing at all. Others were neutral; not bad, not good. So where will NASCAR be after their major next gen game comes out for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 (2016 release year)? Will it be good? Bad? Neutral? Only time can tell, but I have at least 3 things that I want to see in this upcoming game, things I think NASCAR games need to have to be a great success.
1. Laser scanned race tracks. I think this is important for the sake that it adds to the realism and depth of the game. Real NASCAR drivers, and ones from other series, use iRacing to practice for upcoming races or tests, and the driving they do in that game legitimately helps them when they get to the track. One of the largest reasons that’s the case is because of the laser scanned tracks, which map out a track to the tiniest fractions, therefore making it ultra realistic. Drivers claim that if they practice on iRacing for a few hours and then get to the real track that it helps in reducing the time it takes to get used to a brand new track, the game is that realistic. A fully fledged NASCAR game on consoles should have the same feel. Update the tracks. Make them so real that you could go to the real track and get a feel for it pretty quickly. That would be awesome to see.
2. More realistic racing. One of the things that absolutely kills me in NASCAR ’14 is the horrible racing at times. Look, I’m no NASCAR expert, but I’ve watched hundreds upon hundreds of races across all of the major NASCAR series. I’m very familiar with how certain tracks are more racy than others and offer close, tight action (places like Martinsville and Bristol for example). I’m also familiar with tracks that typically don’t offer all that much in the way of excitement. It’s not a bad thing or anything like that, but I’m familiar with them. There are times at just about every track where the racing is so dang unrealistic that it’s hard to enjoy playing sometimes! When I race at New Hampshire, for example, I’ll see the cars 3 wide several rows deep as I’m at the front of the field. If I mess up even a little bit, hit the brakes too early in the turn or too late, I get slammed and lose around 20 spots immediately. That’s bull. No race at that track has ever come close to looking like that! There are more examples but you get the point: the racing needs to feel more realistic.
3. Better online racing. If they are able to get the tracks laser scanned then the next major thing after that is to offer the ability to race other players on these awesome tracks. The major thing that iRacing has for it, in addition to the realistic tracks, is the fact that you can race in all sorts of leagues and series against other people, even leading up to a real official NASCAR series! Granted not just anybody can make it to that series, but you get what I’m talking about. There are great options, against large groups, available. NASCAR needs the same thing in their game. I don’t know for sure what all they should offer but there needs to be a lot of options, basically like iRacing but on consoles instead. You should be driving into pit road fully, you should be driving all of the pace laps, and everything else you can do over there. That’s my opinion at least.
Those are the 3 things that I think a next gen NASCAR game needs to have. But what about you? What do you think should be there? Let us know in the comments section what you think should be there or changed, if anything.