It is getting pretty close to the holiday season and we are already seeing a much higher rate of games coming out onto the consoles in recent weeks. One of the disappointing announcements from EA this year was that there was not going to be a next generation version of this year’s NASCAR game. So with that out of the way, we are actually checking out the Xbox version of EA’s NASCAR 07, which tries to continue taking the series to the front of the pack. So how does this year’s version turn out? Read our full review to find out!
NASCAR games are an interesting bunch of games, mostly because it is not an easy task to really recreate the intensity and thrills of a NASCAR race. But in previous years EA has managed to continually upgrade the NASCAR games with new features and even better driving mechanics. In this year’s version, NASCAR 07 has some interesting new features, including a new adrenaline meter, which measures the intensity on the track. There is also some more including the Race Breaker (like GameBreaker) which allows you to see the holes in the track to help make your way to the front of the pack. The new features in this year’s game don’t seem all that exciting but how do they all play out?
Similar to last year, NASCAR 07 is jam packed full of modes to choose from for all of the NASCAR faithful. The modes in this year’s game include Race Now, Season Mode, Chase for the Cup, and the multiplayer modes. The modes are still in full force and do offer up a huge amount of playability in the game. In fact there is just a good depth to every mode that you can see the past years’ of development have been able to accomplish.
There is one new feature that I have not yet talked about is the new Variable Attribute System which is an interesting new feature as it allows you to gain points for your driver which you can use to upgrade your driver. This is sort of an RPG style of feature that really does help influence you to do good racing techniques, which for me made there have more reason to try during some of the more tedious races.
The racing in the game manages to really stay close to the same, although the controls in my opinion feel a bit looser then they have in the past. EA has usually taken their games to a hybrid-simulation game, and this one feels a bit more on the arcade side. The controls definitely feel like they have loosened the controls up, allowing turns to be done a bit easier, even at the higher speeds. This isn’t a huge change but for fans that have played every game the series offers up, this will feel a bit of a change from the normal.
NASCAR 07 has a ton of depth to speak of, but unfortunately none of the new features really have an overwhelming effect on the game. In fact it seems to me that the developers really just wanted to refine the racing, which in some respects they did. The races definitely feel a bit tighter than last year and manage to really make for a more realistic race. Some of the new features in the game do manage to keep things feeling fresh, but to me there was nothing that really made this year’s game feel all that different from last year’s game. The online multiplayer still feels like the bare minimum, and I am just waiting to see a nice racing league system setup to have some really intense races online. The races online work well with little lag here and there, but overall the game is just a good solid outing that could have been better.
Visually I have to say that EA has always done a good job, and NASCAR 07 is definitely no exception to that. I have to say that the developers are really still doing a great job using old hardware and still making good looking games, something that NASCAR 07 manages to do. One of the big improvements in my opinion is the car models, which have a lot more detail are just improving each year. The frame rate has also stayed pretty good in NASCAR 07, which is also an improvement from last year’s game.
NASCAR games in general require a specific type of player, one especially who has a lot of patience and a pure love for the sport. NASCAR 07 definitely has an appeal to it, just because of some of the small new features that have been added that do have an impact on the game. However, I just felt like I was playing an expansion pack for last year’s game, as this years game just doesn’t have any huge upgrades to last year’s game. This made this game not as impressive as it could have been.
NASCAR 07 is a game that just continues the success of an already successful series with not as much "new" as we have seen in the past. NASCAR 07 is still a very good game that offers up a lot of great racing experiences that for me was still an enjoyable game except for the disappointing online play. For fans of the series, I would recommend this game if you just can’t hold for next year’s game. This game has some good new features, but nothing that really revolutionizes the racing experience.
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