NASCAR The Game 2011

Boogity Boogity Boogity

Beauty is only paint deep in NASCAR The Game 2011.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: April 4, 2011
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NASCAR The Game 2011 has been an interesting point of conversation here at TPS. I have been fascinated in the title since it’s announcement, given that I am a fan of the sport and remember the days of paintball mode in NASCAR 98, though my favorite will always be the much less realistic NASCAR Rumble. Others here, who subscribe the standard “they just race in circles” line of thinking, actually became interested as screenshots poured in showing the games gorgeous graphics. Especially, the level at which damage is shown on the cars. So once the office copy came in I just had to dive in and try it out.

The very first thing anyone who follows NASCAR will notice is the paint schemes. Unfortunately, there was some red tape that prevented Eutechnyx from releasing the game with this year’s changes (for example, Kevin Harvick’s new black #29, Kurt Busch’s Pennzoil double deuce, and Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 winning Wood Brothers ride). Thankfully, after some perusing on their forums, I found that they are releasing a patch around May or June that will update things for free. I really need to tip my hat to the team over there, as many developers and publishers would charge for such a thing. Also, if you’re a fan of the beer cars and have never played a NASCAR game, you’ll be alarmed to see that instead of “Budweiser” or “Miller Lite” you’ll just see the driver’s name. The reasoning behind this is to allow the game to have an “E” rating, and really, when you’re racing you won’t notice it. I just wanted to shed light on the subject since I’ve been asked a few times why things are that way.

Graphically, this game is a definite looker. I saw some fantastic screenshots leading into the review but let me just throw it out there that they don’t do the game justice. I could not believe the level of detail put in to all of the paint schemes (Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Amp and National Guard Chevys are my personal favorite; so shiny). One thing that distracted me, at least initially, came from inside the car. Perhaps it makes me one of the nerdiest people on the planet, but I remember the helmets that each driver uses. Eutechnyx took the time to bring each one in the game, a detail I can’t remember any other NASCAR game bothering with before. To be honest it was the first thing I noticed in the race, as I looked back from the pole and noticed Dale Jr’s matte black headgear and Jimmie Johnson’s silver, blue, and yellow Lowe’s helmet.

As far as damage, well, it lives up to the hype when it works. I always play with full damage on and as such, I expect some carnage. While racing at Talladega I was lucky enough to dodge the big one that collected a total of about 20 cars including Greg Biffle flipping a handful of times. Thing is, none of the cars really had much of a scratch. From the replays it looked like a bunch of Matchbox cars being thrown at one another by a six-year-old. For a game that prides itself so heavily on its damage system it just loses a lot of luster when you see a car that flipped three or four times have nothing more than a roughed up bumper. Seriously, check out this YouTube video of a pile up at Bristol. After that fateful race it seemed as though my experience took on the form of an actual scenario: I began feeling the vibrations and before long, the tire blew out and the game slammed straight into the wall.
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