My point on this is related directly to the NASCAR Heat Evolution (PS4) game that I have, so this is both a sports post and a post about a game! Can’t beat that! (Not to a big NASCAR fan like me anyways). They, in 2004, introduced the Chase for the Nextel Cup, basically adding a playoff to NASCAR racing. I know, odd eh? Who would think that a PLAYoff would be good for a car RACING sport? You aren’t playing anything in NASCAR so I don’t get why they have playoffs in a way…at least call them raceoffs…..okay, so that’s a gigantic bag of fail. But you get the point. They wanted to spice up the end of the season when the NFL comes on and so they made it so the points earned all season would reset with the final 10 races left, making everybody in the top 10 in points in the first 26 races tied at points and then let the best earner of points in the final 10 be the Champion.
Simple right? There have been some subtle changes sine that time period, that is until we hit 2014 where it turned into an entirely different beast. And at least from a video game standpoint I think this is a perfect system. Basically 16 drivers make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, all the winners in the first 26 races (provided they’re also in the top 30 in points), if there aren’t enough winners (lets say 10 win) then the other 6 are set by points. Once in the 10 races split into 4 sets; 3 races and at the end of the first three races the final 4 in points are eliminated from the Chase; the next 3 races and the 4 on bottom are eliminated; then once more. The final 4 left are left to race it out at Homestead, tied in points, and the best finisher of the final 4 is the Champion. If you win a race in the round, whether the first, second, or third, you automatically advance to the next round. Say you win in the final 3 race round; then you’re guaranteed to be a final 4 contender.
In a nutshell that’s how it works. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people aren’t sure what to think of it. But in a game sense it’s absolutely wonderful. You see I’m in career mode in NASCAR Heat Evolution in my, I think, 4th or 5th season and I’m winning. A lot. I have the A.I. set to max (racing in normal mode, not simulation….maybe I need to switch over), I race with full damage and flags, as well as X4 wear so that I have to pit once per race minimum. I only race short races so needing to pit at least once is a good thing it gives the feel of a full race without having to race a full race, capiche? I have won no less than 12 races my last 2 seasons, which is unrealistic in a way, but I’m good at getting that pit strategy down pat.
I almost have 50 wins in my entire career in fact, in a very short time period, my last 4 seasons or so I’ve won 7 as my least amount of wins, so I’m way up there in wins. But guess what? I’m not good at Homestead, the Championship 4 round. So I’ve only won the Cup once. I love that. I love that I can win anywhere and advance my way in the Chase (barely making the cut in some rounds) and STILL not be deemed the best at the end of the year. Okay, so if a driver won 14 times in real NASCAR and didn’t win the Cup I’d still consider him to be the best for the year no matter the final score, but he’s still not the Cup Champion. I’ve won the Daytona 500 Championship once as well and never the Brickyard, so it’s nice to see that while I’m winning all over the place I’m still barely making the cut when it comes to Championships/Championship races, I’m very happy about that.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanna win *Nacho Libre voice* but it’s nice to see that at least for the final 4 there is a lot of challenge even in a game that I’ve gotten so good at winning throughout the season.