NASCAR is a fairly simple motor sport in that it’s about high powered vehicles going anti clockwise while occasionally turning left. But unlike previous arcade belters like Daytona, NASCAR wants to look a little deeper and allow you to customise your team as well as your vehicle. You can’t simply pick a car and then drop into a quick fix of adrenaline. You must work on things to get anywhere and this is the titles biggest strength as well as its largest flaw. Fans of Nascar will most likely delight in playing as their favourite racer while belting around famous tracks. Casual gamers will note the lack of track variety and details to make this game worth returning to.
The soundtrack is suitably adrenaline fuelled metal and while the developer didn’t have the kind of money to incorporate big band names, the soundtrack is adequate as “one does not simply drive to the speed limit whilst driving to metal” *insert Sean Bean Meme here.
Graphically the game is functional and runs fairly smooth with a few judders here and there but isn’t up there with the Turismo or Forza racers. However it’s not a dogs dinner either. Sponsorship logos, damage decals (of what there is) and asphalt are all highly rendered but the scenery really has an extra layer missing that would bring this game to life.
One of the main issues with the game is presentation. The menus feel a little clunky in their use of font and logos but the real bug bear is the narration. I couldn’t for the life of me find out who actually narrates the game but their flat, southern American drawl sounds like they had simply read from the script and lacks any enthusiasm what so ever. It’s in these finer details that the game drops points. There are many real life tracks for fans to visit but the fact they are too similar in their presentation means there isn’t a lot to look at. The game should have really been polished within an inch of it’s life due to the simplistic track design but still feels a little loose.
Speed is the key here though and its realistic representation of track handling is solid. From braking at specific points to finding the shortest route “sweet spots” mean that attention must be paid at all times to track position, slowing down and acceleration in order to shave off those times. This will be great for people who really appreciate the subtle differences between different motorsports. NASCAR is a close race. There can be milliseconds between first and second place and you can be ahead for the majority of a race only to lose out in the final lap due to a tiny error. This will frustrate some but the too close to call finishes will really keep some racers on the edge of their seats. The online features also allow players to claim bragging rights through ranking boards and full online races as expected but doesn’t change up the formula much.
NASCAR ’14 is a decided improvement over last years game and does correct some true concerns fans had over the franchise. But it’s still a niche title for NASCAR fans only and will not recruit any new followers along the way.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC Release Date: 18/02/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of NASCAR 14 by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PlayStation 3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.