Gamers rejoice, as there’s something brand new for you to enjoy. NASCAR Heat 4 is the latest installment of the NASCAR’s video game franchise, with Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart serving as cover stars for the standard edition, and Hall of Famer, Jeff Gordon appearing on the “Gold” edition of the game.
After receiving its fair share of criticism for NASCAR Heat 3, 704games, the game developers, had a lot of eyes of them when it came to their newest product, myself included. You see, I actually skipped the third version after being disappointed with the second one, and honestly went back to playing the EA Sports games from a decade ago, that I believe were and still are better.
So, heading into this game, my lone question was simple – is it any good?
To answer that, I dived in and spent a long time just digesting it and seeing what it really had to offer.
First thing, I ran a simple quick race, and immediately I was impressed. Not only were the graphics the best I’ve seen from a NASCAR game, but it also ran super smooth – no bugs, no lag, nothing like that.
It was also cool to see the little additions that they threw in like in-race storylines, where before the race it would tell you who has been fast in practice, and if anybody had to go to rear of the field for failed inspections or practice related accidents. That’s something I’ve never seen in a NASCAR game before.
Another note about just running a race is how the track changes; for example, if you are running a night race, it will get gradually darker as the event goes on.
So, aside from all the extra stuff, how was the actual race gameplay?
It was a lot of fun and probably one of the more challenging games I’ve played; hard races were challenging hard unlike most NASCAR games and, easy races still forced you to work for it.
Another nice thing about the gameplay was the settings, as not only could you set it to whatever skill level you wanted, you could also set up if you wanted a more compressed field or spread out. You could also set how the opposing cars would handle, and how the opposing cars would respond. Again, something I had never seen a NASCAR game before.
The biggest thing I wanted to see was career mode.
In my opinion, the best career mode came in NASCAR Thunder 2004, where you had to save money and slowly establish your team from the ground up while being careful about spending, and in NASCAR Chase For The Cup, where you could work your way up the NASCAR ladder. For those curious, NASCAR Heat 2 was probably the worst career mode I played, just because it lacked any features that these games that over a decade old had, and it was just boring.
Those three games were where I set the bar for NASCAR Heat 4, and in all honesty, it greatly exceeded the bar, and is the best career mode I’ve ever played. It has everything I loved about the 2004 and 2005 games wrapped up ever so nicely.
You have to work your way up from dirt, which is the hardest series in the game, all the way up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Once you’ve saved up enough money, you can create a team, buy cars, hire people, and have a lot of room for customization.
Now, let’s talk about customization because it has been a problem for 704games.
This game was the exact improvement I wanted to see, from more design options for your various rides to being able to customize your driver’s appearance and fire suit (again, something I don’t remember being possible in any other NASCAR game).
I will say though, that the paint booth still isn’t exactly where I’d to see, whereas games like NASCAR 15 you had not only all the freedom in the world for customization of cars but could also run various paint schemes in your career mode, something that is still impossible in this game.
So, all in all, what was my final thoughts of the gamw?
I believe that this is not only this best NASCAR game that has been out in a long time. I believe it is truly a really fun, really good game, that I would highly recommend to not only fans of the sport, but to anybody that likes video games, it is that good.
If you are reading this and have been previously been turned away by the most recent NASCAR games because they were bad, I highly encourage that you give this game a shot.
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