I’m a fan of racing games, I’m a fan of coming in first after a couple laps on the track, I am now a fan of NASCAR The Game: 2013. The game is so simple and yet has so much to offer, most notably a lot of enjoyment and a level of addiction that comes with winning races. This is my first time playing a Nascar related game and I was surprised by how much fun I ended up having, dinner sat in the kitchen getting cold as I finished my 30 lap race, albeit in 12th place.
At first glance racing around a circular track for anywhere from 5 to 60 laps can deem daunting and boring, it actually isn’t. I thought the same thing when I began my first race, that is until I saw the other cars encircling me, vying for control of the quite small lane. That small lane is the host to some major collisions and heart stopping passing as the slightest twitch can send you careening into the wall at 170 MPH.
Being a race game it is safe to assume the vehicles are the stars of the show, you receive a choice of three different companies when you start your career; Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. The cars in Nascar feel like they sound in real life, powerful and fast. But not so fast that I lost control, that was only caused by my opponents. It is easy to surpass 150 MPH and keep on going while still keeping the incredible handling under your control. Too often in racing games we see the cars fish tailing or losing control at the slightest turn of the wheel, or A and D keys.
The AI will be the biggest downfall of the game. They absolutely love to cause crashes, major multi-car pileups that in turn get blamed on you. I had so many flags against me it was unreal. This is partially due to the bad AI programming and partially to the size of the tracks, some corners are so tiny only one car can fit in the lane at a time, unless you want a major crash like said above.
The first thing you will see as you begin your career in Nascar The Game: 2013 is the efficient menu system. Everything is explained to you by a very well done announcer, teaching you exactly how to navigate the large menu system without getting confused and lost. Most players will begin their racing journey in the career mode, the equivalent to the story mode in most games. Here you will win races, earn sponsorships, and upgrade and tun your vehicle to become the perfect racing machine. Racing events take place during notable real-life Nascar events such as the Daytona 500. The better you do in these races the more credits you earn, granting you the ability to upgrade your car. Winning races also attracts better primary and secondary sponsors. These will give you exclusive sponsor stickers on the side of your vehicle and better payouts depending on your position in the previous race. But in the end you will still be racing around the same tracks for some time.
Those who don’t feel like beginning a Nascar racing career can opt to go into Single Player where you can just race to your hearts content. No events or sponsorships to worry about here, instead it is you, your chosen car, and your favorite track for as many laps as you want. Some people will end up here more for practice than anything, other’s will find it relaxing to just drive around without having worry about anything else.
Then we have the multiplayer side of the game, at the time I played it was difficult to find a game, as it was just released this was to be expected and I gave it some time. After a few minutes I was joined by three other interested racers looking for a good multiplayer game. Racing against another human player is so varied from the career mode; you never know what another player will do. I had more crashes in 5 laps of multiplayer than I did in 30 in career. Yet I had fun, a lot of fun. As good as I thought I was, these guys ended up being better and beat me the majority of the time we played.
The roaring of engines and the sound of the crowd cheering for their favorite racer, hopefully you, is the soundtrack to Nascar The Game: 2013. The engines sound as well as they play, powerful. You can hear the perfectly tuned machine shifting gears and increasing speed as you race around the track. This immerses you into the experience, as any games sound should do. If I owned a racing wheel I would have sworn I was in the Daytona 500.
Graphically Nascar The Game: 2013 is beautiful where it counts. The vehicles and the tracks were gone over with extreme detail, ensuring everything was as accurate as could be for the player. The love of a Nascar fan can be seen in the graphical work. You can read every sticker placed on the side of your car, and you can even see your opponents sponsorships as they race by, or hopefully fall back. It can get distracting trying to check out all of this detail from within cockpit view. The crowd is the only thing ugly, but it doesn’t detract from the experience. The crowd looks like they always did in old-school sports games, blurry and not fully human, yet so full of life.
Throughout my playthrough of Nascar The Game: 2013 I never came across a game bug or any weird technical issues that would have hurt the gameplay. While I had a lot of fun in the game and will play it for little while longer, this isn’t the racing game that will be your final one. The replayability will only last so long before you run out of tracks or new players to race against. This will be the biggest downfall of the game. This is the kind of game that retains a small community of dedicated players with the rest moving on to the next big racing release. Pick the game up on sale, play it for awhile with some friends or go solo and enjoy your time racing the tracks of Nascar.
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Story – N/A
Gameplay/Design – 8/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 7/10
Lasting Appeal – 7/10
Overall – 7/10
(Not an average)