I have to start off this review by saying that I am not a huge fan of NASCAR, though I have played a few of the games before and enjoyed them to an extent. So this may affect the score at the end of the review, and if you are a fan of NASCAR, you might find this game more or less enjoyable than me. However, when I found out that the game was developed by Eutechnyx, developers of Ferrari Challenge, Supercar Challenge, and a whole range of other racing games, I knew that there was some pedigree behind this game.
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, aka NASCAR, is huge in the United States, particularly in the South. So it’s no wonder that game developers would want to capitalise on this fan-base by making a game for them, and as the name NASCAR ‘14 suggests, this has become a yearly endeavour, so the differences between each iteration of the game are relatively small now. With that being said, if you’re coming into the genre for the first time, this game game is actually surprisingly good.
If you’ve played any of the big simulator racing games before, such as Gran Turismo, or F1, you’ll know that for the most part, they all play about the same. Watch your speed coming into the corners, brake at the right moment, and make sure you have the fastest car in the race. With NASCAR, all of the cars have a very similar speed, and all your attention is focused on making sure you don’t make a mistake. A crash, or engine overheat, or tyre damage can cause you to slow down quite a lot, and you won’t make that time back up easily.
NASCAR tracks are all based on an oval shape, with minor differences in the tightness of the corners. It seems like this wouldn’t make much difference to you, but you have to go into each bend at a certain speed in order to actually make it through without crashing. This game is all about minor corrections, and purposefully makes it difficult to keep the racing line. Also, because all the cars have a similar speed, the only way to overtake other racers is to reduce drag by getting behind a car, and moving out at the right moment.