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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Tiburon

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

July 23, 2007

 

 

- Everything the gaming NASCAR fan could as for in a racing game, including new The Chase career mode

- Can race online against up to 16 other gamers

- Extremely realistic driving physics and impressive next-generation graphics

 

 

- Not much new under the hood

- Due to the true-to-life driving physics, takes a lot of practice to become a skillful, winning-the-checkered-flag racer; can be frustrating building up to that level

- Online setup leaves much to be desired; can be annoying just getting to actual online racing to the point that you wonít even bother taking to the virtual roadways to test your skills against others

 

 

Review: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

Review: Project Gotham Racing (360)

Review: NASCAR 07 (XB)

 

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NASCAR 08

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

From its humble origins as a bunch of moonshining hillbillies racing from the law throughout the South, NASCAR sure has grown into a immensely popular entity, as races typically draw upwards of 100,000 fans packing in racetracks each weekend, cheering on their favorite drivers. Once again, the newest NASCAR-themed game from Electronic Arts captures the true excitement of NASCAR for those that get excited about cars racing around a track one left turn after another.

 

nascar 08          nascar 08

 

In this yearís NASCAR title, thereís not much new to get revved up about. However, thatís because whatís been fine-tuned in the past few versions of EAís NASCAR have left an already first-rate NASCAR racing game. Although beware that youíll be challenged immensely trying to handle the real-life physics of the cars, and learning how to modify your ride (with 40 tuning controls) to drive smoothly while in the heat of vehicular battle on the gameís 22 NASCAR tracks.

 

Itís those realistic physics that can be frustrating, especially in the new The Chase career mode challenges. If youíre not flawless in your driving, expect to spend 

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plenty of retry attempts just to pass to the next challenge. The Chase setup as the career mode is very good, however, with plenty of racing events and mini-games that will test your pedal to the medal and maneuvering abilities.

 

Nothing that could be considered innovative comes along for the ride in NASCAR 08, although

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thereís a cleaner ďnavigationĒ system via the Vehicle Telemetry Visor that gives you the real-time status of your carís handling and your position currently on the track.

 

Thereís more than NASCAR to race, too. NASCAR 08 contains the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series along with the Nextel Cup Series. All of NASCARís drivers are in the game, as well as their actual cars, and even the new, somewhat controversial Car of Tomorrow (which doesnít seem to be much different than the car of today) that is raced in select events on the Nextel Cup circuit is here.

 

nascar 08          nascar 08

 

There is online racing, but the setup isnít very conducive to fun, easy-to-connect NASCAR competition against up to 16 other Xbox Liver gamers. It can be really annoying just getting into an actual online race, as you must wait until the host begins the race. In the meantime, youíre left to practicing on the online track.

 

And in my case many times, practicing yet more. I didnít have much luck joining an online game that began nearly as quickly as I logged in. When racing did begin, it unfortunately many times was mostly a choppy, stuttering and sputtering affair. Online, NASCAR 08 blows a gasket compared to its good single-player campaign.

 

But while NASCAR is leaking oil online, at least everything looks good, as the next-generation boost under the gaming engine hood is evident the moment the rubber hits the asphalt. For the NASCAR fans looking for the chance to pursue The Chase on their Xbox 360, stock car racing doesnít get any better than NASCAR 08.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(September 4, 2007)

 

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