We reported a few weeks ago that NASCAR The Game 2013 was coming to PC in late July and we've managed to get our hands on a copy to give you guys a new preview of the game. Before we kick things off I haven't played a NASCAR game since 2007 and I haven't really followed the sport since then either so this was an adventure into the unknown for me.
This is the first NASCAR game to hit the PC since 2003 after Papyrus made their last NASCAR game, since then a lot of fans have been waiting for the PC return and Eutechnyx have been saying that they'll do one for years. They have finally done so with this PC exclusive which is coming to Steam with gen 6 cars and liveries.
From the small amount we played so far they have done a good job of porting the game over but unfortunately they've left a lot out of the game, they're still limiting the multiplayer to 16 players only, despite the PC being a lot more powerful than consoles which is a shame.
You'll get the same old career mode and game-modes that you got with the console versions of the game as you make your own team and climb your way up the ranks over multiple seasons.
Jumping into the actual gameplay now and it was the first NASCAR game that I have played since about 2007 so I wasn't sure what to expect. I turned all the aids off and just went for it, the first race was at Daytona of course and I completely nailed it, even turned the difficulty up after that. Then we got to the oval tracks that aren't flat out and I just really struggled to get anywhere near the front of the pack, running around in 36th or lower for most of the time. I'm not sure if it was just my driving or me not understanding how the physics engine properly works but it just felt rather odd to say the least.
Perhaps with a bit more practice I'd probably get used to the way the cars handled and get back into when on ovals that require you to brake for the corners instead of the super speed-ways like Daytona or Talladega.
The AI need a bit of work before release since at the minute they like to kind of drift away from their groove mid-corner and cause you to wreck which isn’t ideal but I'm sure it'll be fixed before the game is released.
I was quite disappointed with the damage model though, it didn't really affect the cars at all visually apart from a few scrapes and paint scuffs here and there and the component damage didn't have much of an effect either. I was driving away from massive wrecks with some slight damage to the brake discs or wheel hub. A shame really as the damage model is something that should be pretty important in a game such as this. Hopefully they can improve on it before the game releases in a few weeks time.
A host of wheels and controllers are all being supported for the game as well, meaning that you can go casual with a 360 controller or get your G25 out and go hardcore with no assists and manual gears. Plenty of options to keep everyone happy which is always good.
There is also all the usual stuff like setups (although the default setup runs too much grill tape so be warned!), paint booths, multiplayer and the NASCAR Highlights Reel, all of which have had a few tweaks here and there.
A new thing for the NASCAR Highlights Reel gamemode is that they will be constantly updating it with new highlights from the 2013 season as their partnership with NASCAR allows them access to a lot of data to help make these highlights as realistic as possible.
Eutechnyx have also made sure that the PC version has got all the usual graphics settings like screen resolution, fullscreen options, FXAA and all that good stuff, so they are making sure that we are well catered too as well. The game seemed to run well on max settings and my graphics card is fairly out of date now as well so that was pleasing for a console port. The only thing is the textures on the cars could do with a bit of work as they seemed really blurred out if you weren't looking at the right up close.
I'm yet to try the multiplayer as it hasn't been enabled yet and it's a shame that it will still be limited to 16 players like the consoles but from what I've played of the rest of the game it is looking alright for the first NASCAR game on PC in almost 10 years. There are a few things here and there that could be improved on before the game's release later this month but I'm sure it'll keep NASCAR fans happy for now. A few might disagree with that but without having the full game available it's hard to give a definite judgement just yet.