With EA they have had a lot of success in every single one of there sports franchises whether it be the highly touted Madden franchise, there NBA or FIFA lineup and even their NASCAR lineup has all seen a great deal of success over the years. However over the last few years EA’s NASCAR titles haven’t improved all that much and instead have been one of the more disappointing areas in my opinion of EA Sports lineup. Today we are checking out NASCAR 09 which according to EA has been revamped to a new extreme hoping to bring all those NASCAR lovers the game they have been asking for. Does EA have the necessary tools to create the NASCAR title of the ages? Read our full review of NASCAR 09 for the Xbox 360 to find out.
What I think EA needs to continue doing is creating these beautiful menu systems, although that doesn’t by any means make a good game it is so nice to enter into a game with a gorgeous introduction and NASCAR 09 does exactly that. That opening menu show’s up and it just really sets the mood right for the game, now Jeff Gordon is the man to really introduce the game which will probably make a few hardcore NASCAR fans are going to scoff at the choice, otherwise the game opens up beautifully and allows you instant access to everything the game has to offer.
The main mode for NASCAR 09 is the career mode which allows you to jump right in and customize your car and hit the track. The customization options which EA has been telling us about for quite sometime do live up the all the hype with just an amazing amount of customization options to where you can really make the NASCAR car that that you have always wanted to see. I would imagine the true NASCAR fans are going to find a lot to enjoy out of creating your own NASCAR rig.
The career mode itself starts off pretty strong but the game just doesn’t have a smooth progression to it. Having played countless NASCAR titles over the past years I can honestly say that after the first few races I felt myself increasingly wanting to just move on from the mode. The game makes very few attempts at really giving the user incentives (outside of achievements) to keep moving forward.
The game has modes outside of just the career mode which do help to keep things interesting but nothing that will keep your attention for all that long of time. Let’s however switch gears and go into the racing mechanics which for whatever reason seemed to have taken a step in the wrong direction in this year’s game. The game seems to have taken a lot of the real nitty gritty action that makes NASCAR such an appealing sport to watch and really throws it out the side window and instead makes things a little to polished and just a little to bland. The racing itself works but the AI is so relaxed that you can pass three or four cars at a time with very little competition. Unlike the real life sport of NASCAR, the competitive nature in this video game isn’t all that high and it does take something away from the NASCAR experience.
Another issue with NASCAR 09 is the long waits to play in a game on Xbox Live. Obviously it does make some sense given the long races that you do compete in, but the game still seemed to take far to long to get you into the action that unless you have a ton of time on your hands to wait around. The action online is much better then offline but the wait times make it a bit more discouraging to sit through.
Visually the game has improved quite a bit in terms of the detail on the cars which seems to be one of the key focuses for the game this year. The cars that you create (which can be taken online) really are the cornerstone for the visuals but unfortunately the rest of the game doesn’t have the same great amount of detail. The atmosphere which was discussed earlier is very nice and neat but it doesn’t necessarily carry the NASCAR feel along with it.
I thought out of the box this was going to be a great iteration of the NASCAR franchise, like I mentioned earlier the menu system I thought was fantastic and it really did grab your attention, but as you get into the game you realize that the game still needs a lot of work. More then anything in NASCAR 09 you never get the feeling like in many other EA titles that your really getting an accurate view of the sport where in this game you feel like the competition is far to passive and the game feels more like a standard racing game rather then a true NASCAR experience.
NASCAR 09 had a great opportunity to really take the NASCAR franchise for EA to the next level but in my opinion it did the opposite and went in the wrong direction. NASCAR 09 isn’t a bad game it just unfortunately doesn’t have the necessary elements to really do justice to the sport of NASCAR.
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