NASCAR Heat Evolution has been released, and quite a few hardcore racers have a desire to tweak car mechanics, enjoy a realistic NASCAR driving experience. Racecar fanatics have high hopes for this title but will NASCAR's gaming experience please all the hungry gamers?
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It Goes Fast:
You may think I am referring to the racecars in NASCAR, no; I am talking about the download, install, and update speed of NASCAR. Being a sports game filled with various modes, cars, settings, etc. we automatically assume that the download file will be rather large, how we were so wrong!
This game took approximately 10-15 minutes to do EVERYTHING, required to actually play the game, which is definitely a benefit, seeing that there are MANY 10, 20, 30, or even 50 gigabyte video games that take up to 2 hours to download, (not to mention the limited hard drive space).
There isn't a very large variety of game modes to choose from, and I REALLY hope you didn't put too much faith into playing a unique or a, "different from the rest of the game producers", type of game mode…because you will be sorely disappointed.
What we have here are just about bare bones when it comes to racing, we have 'Race' which is comprised of picking the user's desired race track, car, and driver. You then can set A.I. difficulty as well. You can choose to alter minor aesthetic qualities such as the color of the race car, and the shell of the racecar (i.e. Ford Fusion aesthetics).
This is basically like a quick race, no records are tracked, and nothing is saved.
Delving into 'career' mode, right off the bat NASCAR grants you with the option of creating a character, by this you will be able to choose gender, skin color, hairstyle, beard styles (Male only), and minor facial reconstruction and alterations. You then proceed to choose from various racecars (which are all equal in stats), so it is again, completely aesthetic to which car you choose.
You can earn big bucks from WINING smaller races, winning a smaller race will yield about 10-20 thousand in the beginning, and you even earn SOME money just for racing (it depends on what you placed at). The real big bucks are at the Championship races towards the end of your career. But even if you can't always bring home the gold, there are other methods of getting paid.
You will also receive sponsors, IF you place 30th and above in career races, you have to place twice in 2 races to get a sponsor (which is a lot harder than you think). Being sponsored is just another way to receive "extra "revenue. Even if you place 40th, the companies that sponsored you will STILL pay out.
There are also secondary sponsors you can choose to put on your racecar; these kind of sponsors will have a requirement alongside them, (i.e. place within the top 20th), these yield different revenue amounts depending on which sponsor you choose.
You can spend your winnings on upgrading your racecar, and you will also have to upgrade your garage, hire mechanics, tech mechanics, etc. This aspect of NASCAR gives you a little something to look forward to, but don't think that there are any, "awesome exhaust upgrades", or anything like that, it is close to completely internal performance, and almost no aesthetic qualities, but this is expected from a hardcore racing title.
Here we have some basic but possibly exciting aspect of the game, challenges vary and there is really no way of telling you how many there are, or how difficult it gets, but the challenges range from completing laps within a certain time, placing first in a crowded race, etc.
Turning effectively at high speed is just about impossible, you almost always have to decelerate and sometimes even brake in order to not spin out or hit the side wall, and slowing down TOO much can be detrimental, and potentially cause you to lose the race. There are 2 types of handling though, one is in the 'normal' mode, and the other is in, 'simulation' mode. I highly recommend that you use normal mode, and use simulation mode when you desire a very difficult race.
It is a quite a challenge to maintain proper control even on the normal mode, you must maintain 100% focus on what's behind (using rear view mirror), what's in front, what's beside, and what's ahead of you at all times, this is just for a CHANCE of placing in the race, this is actually a nice realistic feature, that adds a strategic aspect to NASCAR.
Should you ignore our advice and choose the simulation mode, be prepared to avoid hitting the wall at any level of speed even once. Should you hit the wall at any decent speed, your car is going to be damaged (engine) and you will have to limp to the pit in hopes of repairing it. IF you make it to the pit before the race is over, you are effectively out of the race anyway. The engine repairing has always taken close to the two minute mark to complete and by then you are nothing but an afterthought on the track.
You can tweak tire pressure, adjust suspension, adjust sway, adjust passive brake pressure, and many more. I thought this was going to be a significant factor in NASCAR Heat Evolution, but it turns out to be MORE detrimental to the racer, it doesn't help that NASCAR fails to provide you with ANY, information on how the game actually works, there was absolutely no tutorial at all; leaving the player clueless.
I thought NASCAR was trying to use this tweaking feature to their advantage, by offering hardcore racers the option to fully tweak their racecar to the specs they desire but that only works if they give us proper instructions on how to execute said tweak, otherwise we're just pushing random buttons; in hopes that it works out.
I'd say if you are going to "tweak" settings, start with minor changes and be sure to take it on a test run before an actual race.
If you've watched one NASCAR game before, you will know what pit stops are, it's a very short time to quickly and effectively replace parts, fill tire pressure, refill on fuel, etc. Let me tell you this now, you will almost NEVER use the pit stop, unless you have a significant lead on the other racers, even still, you would at least have to have a 6 second lead, (I say 6 seconds because that is about the amount time to just change some tires), or more if you choose to replace other parts on your racecar.
Even if you manage to replace some tires or refill your gas tank, forget about actually repairing your car to properly run when damaged, because it takes approximately 2 minutes to fully repair your racecar, and by that time, you are already too far behind and unable to catch up.
A.I. is the computer you play against in career races, quick races, challenges, etc. As we know, computers are programmed to perform certain tasks assigned by the creator. You may be wondering where I am going with this, I am saying the A.I. is PROGRAMMED to knock you out of the race once you reach a certain place in the race; if you don't want to go that far, you can definitely tell that the A.I. gets progressively more aggressive, towards you when you are starting to succeed.
That being said, this can invoke anger within the player when Jimmie Johnson decides to swerve into you like a dirt bag; knocking you out of the race without any chance of regaining your place. For supposedly being such a realistic racing game, the A.I. seems to be dirty cheaters trying to kill each other on the track…not so realistic in my opinion.
Another area that by NASCAR Heat Evolution fails miserably in is the "Quick Race". If you were looking for a game that the whole family could join in on, or even two people could play, you are out of luck. We all assume a racing game (known for the option of 1v1 races), would allow two players to play a 'Quick Race' on the same console, we were wrong again. Two players with the desire to play together on the same console are NOT supported by NASCAR Heat Evolution, bringing the value of the game EVEN lower.
If I Wanted To Play GTA, I Would:
This brings us to a very significant point of all games, multiplayer. There are 3 multiplayer mode options to choose from:
Hosted: Allows the host of the lobby to kick any unwanted players from the server.
Normal: Allows racers to choose a server to race on, booting others is not permitted.
No Rules: Is basically 'Normal' mode but is intended for people who want to race aggressively.
The serious glaring problem and flaw with all these modes are trolls!
As we all know, trolls seek trouble and try their hardest to invoke anger upon legit players playing the game. NASCAR Heat Evolution is no different in that regard and trolls playing Online will initially drive in the opposite direction of the track; knocking racers who were in 1st place, all the way down to last place, WITHOUT any consequences.
The game is difficult enough to maneuver when you don't have terrible players intentionally trying to run you off the road like you are in episode of cops!
And then you have the people who think this is GTA 5 racing, and purposely knock into each other; hoping to take your place, but it just causes unnecessary trouble for the "clean" racers looking to have a REAL race and can achieve the same result (first to last) as the trolls who drive the wrong way on the track.
Personally I had most of my fun on multiplayer (the clean races), but the clean races are too far and few between, it is just too saturated with gamers who just look to antagonize others.
It is unbelievable to me that NASCAR would put their name to a game that is supposed to recreate the real life NASCAR driving experience only to allow online players to drive the wrong way on the track and crash into other players. How this obvious defect was overlooked is beyond me and basically makes the online portion of this game unplayable.
In 2016, gamers expect pristine, high quality graphics; regardless of what game it is. With NASCAR that is definitely not the case, NASCAR feels similar to an arcade type racing game, the type of game you play not for the graphics, but rather the gameplay itself. The surrounding environment of NASCAR is quite mediocre graphic wise, such as the spectating crowd, you will notice that they are nothing more than lifeless; human-like figures. Even the pit crew in the spectating towers, appear to be shadowy figures.
The overall motion of NASCAR is less than stellar while racing; you will notice choppy movement of cars (including your own), it also will slightly lag and buffer when too many cars crash at once. Burning rubber and swerving tight corners will create white smoke, and this white smoke will blow in your face; leaving you sightless. The white smoke can also cause your race to lag.
Although there are quite a few cons with the graphics, it's not all bad. NASCAR's sky and clouds seems to represent the real thing, the tarmac looks pretty good, but it could use a little more texture to it, the racecars are obviously not REAL cars; thus not providing graphic detail, I'd say NASCAR did a pretty fine job at making them appear as real racecars.
Did you expect to hear roaring super engines hurdling through the race track? Screeching tires? Amazingly realistic crashing sounds? Well if you did, you will once again be disappointed, because these sound effects are not going to be up to the standards of most racecar game fans; even people who don't play racing games, will notice the lack of excitement through the poor audio.
Before we go any further, let me just say that the pit coach that communicates with you, is beyond irritating, seeing as he repeats the same dialogue, in the same tone, every single race. His purpose is to notify you when a car is trying to pass you, with there being 40 other racers on the track, it is non-stop speaking…
The pit coach will also notify you about the most ridiculously obvious issues, such as when your engine is blown, the pit coach feels it's necessary to TELL you that your engine is blown, thus making things more annoying than it already was.
I hope NASCAR considers adding additional voices or changing up the dialogue a bit in the future.
I expected WAY better sound effects, from a game that almost requires good or better audio quality. These high tech pieces of machinery, are supposed to sound like jet engines when speeding through the track, not weak sounding eco cars.
When we screech through a corner of the track, we want to hear intense audio being pumped through our speakers, we want to get as close as possible to felling like we're ACTUALLY racing in a NASCAR race. The audio NASCAR produces sounds more like a smart phone game, lacking bass, strength and boldness; which in my opinion is necessary and intensifies the experience.
Rent vs. Buy:
There is no doubt that NASCAR could and should have done a better job before publicly releasing this title, a lot of hardcore racing enthusiasts and even non-enthusiast were quickly let down, because for some reason NASCAR felt the need to rush the game out to store shelves. I know this, NASCAR knows this, we all know this, and this option they chose will lose them some of their profits, by reading reviews and choosing not to purchase NASCAR, and by unsatisfied costumers throwing it aside with no intention of ever playing it again. NASCAR Heat Evolution has received some heat for this action, ironic right?
There are rumors of patches and updates coming to NASCAR in the future, but by that point people are going to be "over it".
Players driving in the opposite direction of the race (online), poor audio quality, less than stellar visual effects, two people NOT being able to play together on the same console, lagging of the game, it just isn't worth paying full retail price of $59.99.
But if you can get NASCAR for highly discounted price, somewhere in the $20 range, then this wouldn't be a bad game to add to your collection. But even being dirt cheap, the gameplay itself (regardless of price), will still be very mediocre, and you will likely choose a different racing game to play.
I hope in the near future that NASCAR releases a serious patch or update, to fix basically…the whole game. But until they do that, you are probably better off not purchasing NASCAR unless it goes on sale, for a SIGNIFICANTLY reduced price.
There is no doubt that NASCAR could and should have done a better job before publicly releasing this title, a lot of hardcore racing enthusiasts and even non-enthusiast were quickly let down.(Krakrabbit.com)
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