Title: NASCAR Heat Evolution
Version Tested: Xbox One
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
Developer: Monster Games
Publisher: Dusenberry Martin Racing
Official Site: https://www.nascarheat.com/
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Where to Buy: Xbox Store, PSN, Steam, Local Retailers
Very recently, I got the chance to review F1 2016. Now, it had been awhile since I really played in-depth into a racing game. However, just after that, I was offered Nascar Heat Evolution and I figured… why not? Nascar Heat Evolution is the first authentic Nascar game for the Xbox One and PS4. It features over 40 drivers, a variety of gameplay modes and 23 licensed Sprint Cup series tracks. It also features a variety of gameplay modes including online, career, challenge and season mode. So, does Nascar Heat Evolution burn hot around the track at every turn or should it have stayed in the pits? Well… that all depends on how much of a fan you are.
When it comes to Nascar, my first real experience with it was a movie called “Days of Thunder.” It starred Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall and Michael Rooker. I absolutely loved that movie. The Nascar experience can sometimes be considered dull when compared to such a movie, especially when it’s a game and you’re driving the car. A full race at times can consist of over 300 laps. That’s a long time to continually drive in circles. That’s not to say it can’t be without challenge but I believe this game really caters to a specific audience.
Nascar Heat Evolution, when played with an established driver, is fairly easy starting off. You’ll quickly find yourself in the top spots as you bump and rub your way around AI opponents. The default settings for racing provide much leeway in terms of allowed damage, tire wear, and control. This can all be changed in the options menu depending on how realistic you want the race to be. For newcomers to the world of Nascar though, these settings can leave one in dark about what does what, or that they’re even there. If I had no desire to change the settings and was just looking around for fun, I could have been done with Nascar Heat Evolution in the better part of 30 minutes.
While the season mode may be fairly easy starting off, the career mode is another matter entirely. Nascar Heat Evolution has adaptive AI, so the game will get harder depending on how well you do. Starting in the career mode, however, it’ll be tough from the get-go. You’ll start with a plain car, no sponsors and most likely towards the back of the pack. In my case, finishing within the top 30 two times secured me a sponsor. The sponsor will pay you X amount per race, on top of whatever you earn for placement. As you earn more money, you’ll be able to build your car better by building up your shop. The career mode is much more challenging and fun when compared to jumping right into a season mode. It is also thin, in terms of the meat on the bone. There’s no cutscenes or depth to it outside of creating a character and trying to place higher each race.
Nascar Heat Evolution does offer an online mode but for me, it was incredibly disappointing. I found little to no lobbies when playing in any of the three offered game modes. Most had races already underway and I was not presented with the option to join. Perhaps this would be fun to give a go with a friend but as a single player, this was definitely a DNF (Did Not Finish).
Two other modes that are offered are “Challenge” and “Chase.” Fans of Nascar will certainly find more excitement in the Challenge mode than someone who knows little. Here you’ll be able to either “Replay history, rewrite history, or take control of a fantasy situation.” While the 23 separate challenges do offer a… challenge, the moments behind these challenges were largely unknown to me. As you beat challenges, you will unlock special videos from the Pros themselves, which offer inside tips on conquering the racetrack. The chase mode will allow you to bypass working your way up through the season and instead have you just race the last 10. For a Nascar fan, it can certainly be a white-knuckled ride.
When it comes to Nascar Heat Evolution, the worth of the game largely depends on how much of a fan you are. If you’re a fan, you’ll love the experience and be willing to look past the little things, like the guy in your pit crew talking to you throughout the race. I hear the words, “Still there?” in my sleep. This guy runs on a cycled loop of phrases. For me, it was the equivalent of Chinese water torture. Alright… perhaps that’s a little extreme but it gets very repetitive. If you’re not a fan, there’s probably little here that would keep you playing for more than 20 minutes at a time. The graphics are so-so, the racing can be exciting depending on what you play but it’s simply not for everyone. If you’re more of an FPS player, Call of Duty: World at War is now backwards compatible on the Xbox One
DLC content both paid and free will be releasing monthly from now until the end of the year. DLC will include new spotter voices, new paint jobs as well as challenge and chases. Have you played Nascar Heat Evolution? If so, what did you think? Do you feel it’s tailored for any racer to give a go or is this game more for the fan? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
- Gameplay: Easy or Challenging depending on what you pick. Adaptive AI changes play based on performance
- Graphics: Brings the look and feel of Nascar but little to no cutscenes.
- Sound: Annoying spotter voice but Racing sounds authentic.
- Presentation: This official Nascar Game caters to the fan… which is great if you’re a fan.
- Authentic sounds
- Adaptive AI
- Nascar Experience
- Lack of depth for game modes
- Online mode almost non-existent
- Looping spotter voice