Review: NASCAR 14

NASCAR 14 PS3 (1)

It’s your turn to immerse yourself in the full-throttle thrill of the world’s most exciting motor sports racing series in NASCAR ’14. Take the wheel from your favorite driver and participate in the race week experience complete with practice, qualifying, and race day challenges.

NASCAR 14 PS3 (2)

Pros:

  • Graphics are good, The detail of the cars, The tracks, They all look realistic and atmospheric. Every race way is a true recreation of their real life counterparts.
  • Trivia questions on loading screens to help while away the time.
  • 23 NASCAR teams to choose from, All have their official drivers.
  • 32 official licensed tracks from the NASCAR schedule.
  • Auto save after each menu.
  • Two season options are available to take part in: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the chase for the Sprint Cup.
  • Game types are minimal but plentiful: Career, single season, race now and custom.
  • Seven different views to use whilst driving. Ranging from the no car view to the bonnet to the cockpit with or without a steering wheel, To your more traditional way behind up high view. All can be used and flipped through in game with a simple button press.
  • Photo mode can be initiated from the pause menu at any time. You can choose the quality, flip the camera, add effects and tilt the camera for that brilliant shot. Once taken you can export the image straight to the XMB for sharing.
  • Create your own personal profile.
  • Damage model options are: visual,off or full which includes brakes,tyres and engine failures. Adjusting these will adjust the difficulty accordingly.
  • Before each race in any single player mode you can select all the options and tune the race to your liking. Opponent difficulty is measured on a percentage bar, add your assists or the damage model used etc.
  • Tutorial is present in the career mode and will talk you through and have you practising the basics of NASCAR.
  • Part of the tutorial is a bit where you do a few laps with no opponents, Upon completing this exercise the game will assess your play style and turn on/off assists and present you with what it recommends you should use. It can be changed how ever and is only for guideline purposes.
  • Controls are simple and have some powerful options on the pad for you. The ability to change brake bias as you drive is a real thing and done via the d pad buttons. You can change the button layout.
  • In your garage section you can spray your car, upgrade parts and set up all the suspension,tyres etc.
  • Before each championship you have to build your car using your money earnt from races. You will start off with second hand parts and will unlock new parts as you race.
  • R+D section is more you upgrade tree, Earn money and spend it here to unlock new parts/boosters that can be assigned to your car.
  • Unlock and earn new sponsors by finishing races/championships.
  • Highlights is an option where you have a scenario you have to complete in an allotted time. More mission based, This mode will see you recreating/replaying some of the sports greatest moments. Also includes an online leaderboard to compare schools.
  • With the race weekends it is possible to skip parts of it like practice, qualifying etc.
  • Handling is responsive and does require a lot of practice to learn.
  • HUD in game is minimal but powerful, Apart from your basic standards like map and speedo, You get a sensor indicator which will help you know where your opponents are and when best to go for an overtake.
  • You can use the right stick to change the camera around and look around your car on the in car view.
  • The lighting is brilliant and really shines in night time racing. The sun bounces off the bonnet and looks really realistic.

NASCAR 14 PS3 (3)

Cons:

  • Lots of loading screens and the ones you first encounter upon starting the game are particularly long.
  • Big learning curve for the driving model used within the game. Gran Turismo this aint.
  • So many rules with little explanation in game thus rendering new players a bit lost and frustrated.
  • Voice over explanations, In the menus especially don’t always trigger or only play once and you may miss it.
  • Career mode outside of driving is just a long series of button pressing and menu surfing.
  • No crowd noises as you pass the stand,not even a air horn.
  • The tracks have no life, By that I mean they are just tracks, follow the road and win. They don’t have any atmosphere or build any sort of climatic explosion.

NASCAR 14 PS3 (5)

In Summary, The game is aimed more to fans of the series and whilst new players can get fun from it, You will have a mountain of rules to learn and will have to train yourself again in how to drive as its a completely different beast to other games. The actual driving part of the game is good but its the atmosphere that really lets it all down. It has none, The stadiums whilst looking nice, Have no real atmosphere and apart from a few colourful banners on the side hoardings, Is a very grey, stale place to be. The commentary is slow and repetitive and just doesn’t have the same excitement levels of the sport that I have seen on the TV. Now I am in no way a huge fan of this and very much fall under the category of a noob. I had to learn how to drive again and it was a hard lesson with a lot of last place finishes and long waits for cash. That said I did enjoy the game when I managed to hold my own in the corners and have opponents all over me. Its when you get left behind that you realise just how cold and alone you are. I compare the feeling very much to when you visit a friends house, The family there argue and you feel really out of place and just want to leave. Fans will love all the attention lavished on the menus and the highlights scenarios will carry a lot of weight to you. New players will struggle but get there whilst returning players will feel let down by the lack of atmosphere and feel like this is almost a downgrade from previous games. Try a demo first if you can as this is not for everyone.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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