NASCAR 07 Review

NASCAR 07 is a game built for NASCAR fans. It assumes that you already know a lot about NASCAR and its drivers, driving and pit strategy, and race rules, and that you enjoy the long hard grind that marks a NASCAR season. Even if you sleep, eat, and breathe NASCAR but are new to the NASCAR games youíll find the going a bit rough at first. Thereís nothing in the way of tutorials or strategies available, either in the game or in the thin manual that accompanies it. In short, if youíre a casual race fan new to NASCAR be aware of what youíre getting yourself into. That being said, thereís plenty here for the race fan, and the NASCAR fan in particular, to enjoy.

First of all, the game recreates all of the NASCAR tracks in careful detail and most of the professional drivers are included in the game. Each of the drivers in the game has been given a skill rating for the different track types in an attempt to make you make your driver selection based on something other than the color of the car youíll get to drive. Itís a nice idea but in practice any performance boosts that you get from a higher rated driver are too small to be noticeable while racing. EA Sports also got all of its licensing lined up because the cars, tracks, and race names all sport the logos and names of their real-world corporate sponsors.

NASCAR 07 has done a good job of capturing the feeling of speed as you race around the tracks at nearly 200 MPH. Edge blurring and other tricks make it look like the track is really flying by especially since your eyes will be fixed on your car and the next bend in the track. Unfortunately all of this motion seems to eat up some of the graphical processing power needed to make the cars as beautiful as those in a game like Gran Turismo 3, but then again you donít have much of an opportunity to admire reflections on your carís hood at 3 miles a minute.

As for the handling of the cars, the game takes a ďlight simĒ approach. Itís not an arcade racer that will let you get away with impossible high-speed maneuvers, but on the other hand controlling your car through a high-speed turn is not something that can only be pulled off by hardcore racing game players. Well, thatís the theory anyway. In NASCAR 07 youíll have some issues controlling your car but itís the fault of the controls and not the driving simulation. The steering control is simply too sensitive and hugging a line through a turn is less about having your car at the proper speed and direction and more about trying to hold the control stick within a very tight sweet spot. This over-sensitive steering also means that if something goes wrong it is very difficult for you to recover. If you get bumped by another car youíll more than likely soon find yourself fishtailing wildly. The long length of NASCAR races virtually ensures that youíll lose control of your car at some point.