It is nothing short of amazing to be able to smell freshly baked steaks and burn rubber. All that and more can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home by NASCAR 2011. Is this Eutechnyx-developed game worth your time?
The menu is the first thing that guests will notice. This menu is one of my favorites ever created. I was immediately immersed in NASCAR’s experience with the garage and track access cards as I loaded. This was a multi-faceted experience that included career, short races, and online play. Usually, I would say that career mode is the best, but this time I can’t.
You can choose to play in Career Mode as either yourself or one of the 43 NASCAR Sprint Series drivers. You gain experience as you race, which you can use to unlock additional content or sponsorships, such as invitational events or a color scheme. Sponsorship is an added bonus. After some decent finishes, you will start to attract interest from prominent sponsors. You can get additional benefits for meeting predetermined criteria, such as leading ten laps in a race. Sponsorship is excellent, but it doesn’t go far enough. Career mode only supports one season. All hard-earned respect is lost after the 36th race.
The best of the crop is determined on the track, and NASCAR 2011 does very well in this respect. It is an unforgettable experience to race with 43 other cars on the track fighting for every inch.
The game does an excellent job of keeping you updated on the world around you during the race. The HUD provides a clear view of all cars around you at the bottom of your screen. The HUD displays the tire and fuel indicators, which are crucial for finishing the race. Trust me; I have seen races where tires fell off cliffs and caused punctures.
This can be both a good thing and a problem. While it adds an element of strategy, it lacks subtle cues. The tires tend to fall off very hard, and car damage can be severe. I have witnessed a race in which the car pulled to the left, and I had to counter-steer the whole thing. It was really exhausting.
The front-end positioning is also essential. The cars are hefty and can end up in a big squabble.
Pits are always an option if you make mistakes or choose to go a long way. A small screen appears in the pits, which offers options for changing tires or refueling. This has the unfortunate side effect of yanking the player out of the immersion. Instead, it switches to a flycam until the car returns to the track.
A similar applies to cautions. These flags indicate a safety situation in a car and add a lot of lottery to any race. They don’t appear very often in the game (thankfully). They do the job, but it is not often (thankfully?).
The AI may be the reason they don’t get out as often as they used to. They drive well and don’t get in the way of each other too often. They are very good at avoiding obstacles (probably you), even though they sometimes fail in larger groups. You shouldn’t expect the real deal, though. You won’t see the two-car bullet phenomenon where one pushes. Strategic slipstreaming in packs and slingshots is another example. The AI is, however, satisfying for the majority of the time.
These elements are a compliment to the tactical sport of NASCAR. Overall, they have been well implemented and deliver close racing, as the sport is known for. Well done, Eutechnyx!
How do these cars drive? To find out, I connected a G27 with the PS3 game and gnawed my teeth. To be honest, I was nervous at first. I was a little anxious seeing the big oval banking, and knowing that the wheel is connected with 3500lbs aluminum didn’t go down well. After many laps of courage and content, I can confirm that the bike does exactly what it says on its tin.
It feels heavy, and these V8 muscles feel that way. It is difficult to change direction, and it punishes any novice entry into the corner. Contrary to what you might think, the smaller ovals really do get you.
Skilled braking is also essential in tight circles. The balance between gentle and high pedal pressure is as important as day and night. Aggressive drivers will find their car dancing under pressure and leave you praying for the next attackers.
As I said, damage can add to the thrill of racing. You might notice the car pulling towards one side if it comes into contact with the wall. Transmission damage will occur if the contact is more severe. Although the damage is not intended to cause permanent damage, it can be visually and mechanically appealing. The only thing that will cause the car to be unable to run is the most severe impact.
You might consider tweaking the car’s setup to prevent damage. You have the option of a standard setup or one that is tuned to your race. Engineers can begin by using just a few sliders to adjust the downforce, tires, and gearbox. This simplified way of setting up setups is something that I believe most people will appreciate. You can go crazy, but the game will allow you to add any tweaks. Although I cannot confirm it, I can see it being comparable to real-world NASCAR. The best part? All these efforts pay off in the race, both in car wear as well as stability.
Eutechnyx is a favorite of mine when it comes to gameplay, and I can’t deny it. It’s not a perfect sim, but it is challenging. The setup work is flawless. Accessible mode is a great way to get started in the sport.
With most handling skills, you can probably imagine online battles that last until the wee hours of the morning and push the tires to the limit. But don’t. Online racing is often not what we envision. Close racing can only happen with mutual respect. The oval circuit is perfect for ghost riders and bumps races, and this is not something I blame on the developers. I can honestly say that I have not finished any of the races with a sense of contentment or satisfaction.
Despite hearing complaints from others, I have not experienced any failures with the online system. If you know some fair friends who are interested in a race, then go for it! This mode is useless for most racers because of a lack of skill or intention worldwide.
NASCAR 2011 is available for the Wii, PS3, and xbox360. These two versions are identical and were the ones we reviewed.
This generation is in its last legs, and it shows. Despite being 43 cars, the graphics are not the best we have seen in this genre. The trackside items look flat and don’t convey the feeling that you are part of a larger world. The cars are beautiful and can be very entertaining to read the backend informationmercial.
The pre-race entertainment is also a delight. You’d expect these to be seen in NASCAR racing, with hawks flying high into the air and fireworks when the cars pass the pit straight. Unfortunately, the in-car experience does not live up to this immersion.
The sound doesn’t help. The engine sounds the same regardless of where you are looking. It lacks an edge and is overall too smooth. The sound of the spotter is less clean. The spotter, who is high up in the sky, helps the driver choose the best lines and keeps him informed of all the latest squabbles. He is a gamer and feels the need to repeat, confuse, and annoy in concise time frames. When driving around an island, he feels the need to repeatedly repeat “all clear.” It would be great if the spotter could be tweaked and added lines.
NASCAR 2011, the first game in the series, is shown. The graphics are also a problem due to the fact that you have to race 43 cars at a time. The racing is still tremendous and offers a lot of fun, even if you aren’t familiar with it. This feature is enhanced by the correct implementation of tire wear, damage, and fuel.
My biggest concern is that it may be unrewarding to race. It’s not easy to find a job online, and your career path is not yet up to par. This means that your mileage might vary greatly, making this title not recommended for the most avid NASCAR racers or fans.