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‘NASCAR 14’ Review: For the Die-Hard

NASCAR 14 (Xbox 360)

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Things get real-real, real fast in “NASCAR 14”

NASCAR racing may seem like just a bunch of right turns to the casual sports fan, but the precise driving exhibited in every race is no joke. NASCAR drivers have a plethora of poise and stamina-it takes a ton of patience and control to avoid crashing and stay in a race.

Deep Silver's recently released "NASCAR 14," requires a similar amount of patience in order to thrive. Unlike the former EA NASCAR games, this one isn't about high-octane crashes. More sim than arcade by a long stretch, hardcore NASCAR fans will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of content offered, while casual gamers won't get it.

A steep learning curve doesn't help the gamer looking for instant thrills. A bad turn or a bump can send you to the back of the pack in a heartbeat, making it almost impossible to get back in a race. This “do or die” mentality is one NASCAR fans will embrace however and the thought of maintaining chess-like strategy just makes sense to them.

The same thing goes for the control vibration every time you step on the gas. It feels good. It feels right. To see things like this work so easily in the game is easily one of its most redeeming qualities. It may sound crazy, but the feeling of pulling off a picture perfect turn and passing a few cars in the process provides a wonderful feeling.

Eat my dust. Although it pales in comparison to the craziness of the “Need for Speed” series, “NASCAR 14” provides it’s own thrills- ones that fans of the license will never take for granted. Like a never-ending game of “Tetris,” the attention to the control makes each race pressure-filled. Every second counts. It’s anarchy, even if it doesn’t look like it. Much like a real NASCAR race, you don’t know how to feel until you play or race for yourself.

Away from the in-game experience. “NASCAR 14” has plenty of other goodies. The extras, such as paint jobs already available for races, which occurred after the game came out, without an online update, also add to the game's polish and allure. Add in online leagues and another mode that allows you to relive highlights from some of NASCAR’s biggest races and it’s obvious there’s plenty to do and experience.

Simply put, "NASCAR 14" was created for the hardcore and for them, it works- well. Every other racing game fan should stick with their game of choice.

Pros:

Plenty of Content: Online leagues, customizable paint jobs and a host of other gameplay modes add to the well-rounded experience.

Good-Looking Current Generation Graphics: It’ll never “wow” you, but the game’s look is solid. Would have been nice to see damage in cars, but there’s so many other things going right for the game that this small blemish can be overlooked.

Control Feels “Right”: Shifting gears, braking and accelerating feels awesome. With the controller vibrating the entire race, the nerves set in and as a result, you get a great racing experience.

Cons:

Steep Learning Curve: If you lack patience, you’ll probably hate this game. If NASCAR isn’t your thing, this will be the last racing game you should play. It takes an investment to get good at the game and those who respect the license and the sport will probably be the ones who appreciate the sometimes-heartbreaking difficulty.

Bottom Line:

Fans of NASCAR will find “NASCAR 14” an inviting and realistic racing game chock-full of content. The smooth control and good-looking cars are an added bonus. Those who think Jimmie Johnson I the guy who used to coach the Dallas Cowboys, may not get the same amount of pleasure from the racing-sim, as it rewards those who love the sport much more than driving game aficionados.

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