(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 2 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 2 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 2 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Skip It
NASCAR The Game: Inside Line
- Street Date:
- November 6th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Roger Shao
- Review Date:1
- December 5th, 2012
- Game Release Year:
- ESRB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
For those that consider turning left the pinnacle of racing.
This year's update to Nascar racing (a sequel to NASCAR The Game: 2011) Nascar Inside Line brings everything you would expect from a Nascar experience but nothing more. Compared to other racers on the PS3, Inside Line is bland, vanilla and really a bare bones example of what a modern day racing game should be.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Okay, I want to preface this review by stating my biases as they are highly relevant to the eventual score. I am a racing enthusiast but not a fan of Nascar. Skipping over the obvious deficiencies (lack of right turns), let us focus on the other myriad of faults. For those who are unfamiliar with Nascar, the races are generally held in a giant banked oval track. This offers Nascar it’s main redeeming factor, speed. The mild banked turns on Nascar tracks enable its cars to maintain a higher overall average speed with less need for braking. Compare this to an F1 course that offers multiple turns each ranging in shape and size from hairpins to inverted corners. And when it comes to technology, F1 wins out as well. F1 cars are at the pinnacle of racing tech, pushing the limits of chassis design, weight management and engine innovation. Touted as true “stock” car racing, Nascar has extensive regulations against innovation and lists restrictions on engine makeup, tire selection, and even fuel type.
Let’s get the basics out of the way. The menus are crisp and easy to navigate, unfortunately this is because there are a decided lack options to select from. The game only boasts 3 real modes, Career and Local Multiplayer and Online. The menu music is great and the loading screens provide Nascar trivia to pass the time (very welcome seeing as the load times tend to shade on the long side). Having played quite a racers online, I decided to jump right in and tackle the PSN competition. What could go wrong? As it turns out, pandemonium.
When you have 20 cars on screen at the same time bunched up at a starting line, lane space is at a premium. And when those 20 drivers have no care for crashing, (I mean who does in virtual racing really?) and the track is only 3 cars widths wide you WILL crash. I expected that. What I didn’t expect was that crashing and then causing a yellow flag (caution) will immediately kick everyone in the race out to a screen that asks you if you would like to pit. After selecting no, I was rewarded with a restart of the race with everyone still “in” it but invisible on the track. Apparently, if a rogue driver decides to pit without getting everyone else to do the same, a bug occurs and causes all the other cars to disappear on your screen. Oh, and this is on top of the mechanic of having to restart races every time someone crashes. Even if they are a lap behind you. And yes, I know that is how it is done in real life but man does it make for some frustrating races.
The Career mode on the other hand does a great job of making you feel like you are living the life of a Nascar driver. You go through all the preliminary trials and qualifiers to get to the bigger races. As you win races you get more sponsors which nets you more cash to upgrade your car. Unfortunately, like I mentioned above the upgrades are generic and nothing that a wrench monkey would consider tuning. It is more like just buying a faster car without actually getting to the science behind how each upgrade helps make your driving faster.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Running in 720p the game looks properly high definition. The lobbies are well designed and colorful while the garage gives you a 360 degree controllable camera to admire your ride. In fact, the cars look much better in the garage than on the track, the sponsorship stickers in particular all look razor sharp. Unfortunately, in game is where most players will be spending their time and while the cars look okay (especially in demo mode), the environments are horribly boring. Racing on the practice track feels like you are playing a beta, with textures and background detail quite poor. If you were expecting a graphical powerhouse on the lines of Forza or Gran Turismo you will be disappointed.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The game supports Dolby Surround sound and it shows. The game sounds great all around, gunning engines and fiery crashes all sound great. I can't really comment on braking sounds as I have yet to need to use my brakes........ On a side note, the soundtrack for Inside Line is impressive, my review copy shipped with a cd from Simple Plan with the game track "Last One Standing" a particular highlight.
Until they fix the online system, the game will only be enjoyed by those who love career modes and leveling up their cars. Unfortunately, the number of upgrades are limited compared to other racers on the platform so I would say only those that love Nascar need apply.
As much as I love racing games I just could not get into Nascar: Inside Line. From the rules to the play mechanics and broken online system it just isn't that much fun. The only redeeming factor is the amount of Nascar integration that the game offers. In that sense, I could see it being enjoyable if you have a few friends over and they were huge Nascar fans (target audience is key here), but for everyone else I would suggest you try out a different racer on your system.
- 480p, 720p
- DTS , Dolby Digital
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