When you load up NASCAR 14, the first thing you notice is just how different, yet similar, everything feels.
The game is the third from the development team at Eutechnyx, and while it is an overall better experience than the first two titles, NASCAR 14 just leaves a little too much to be desired.
Players start the game by creating a racer profile that will be used for your custom racer and career mode. After that, there are plenty of menu items and things to do to keep you busy before you actually get on the track.
From car customization options in the paint booth to pre-race setups, NASCAR 14 offers players the ability to control everything about their car. Then you get on the track.
The game feels like you are just going around in circles – no pun intended – when it comes to how the on-track experience feels.
Though the AI is smarter when it comes to knowing when to attack the gaps you leave them for passing, they are as incompetent as ever in terms of overall racing strategy.
Even with the AI skill at 100%, the opposing drivers still feel the need to rear-end you like it’s the last lap of a destruction derby race. They also seemingly lack the ability to make good decisions when it comes to pit stops: no driver should have to stop for gas in an eight lap race.
Multiplayer is where the game saves itself. NASCAR 14 offers players a single race mode as well as 16-player online leagues. Getting into a multiplayer race was a massive challenge – there was no one on it felt – but once in, it made the game’s experience so much better.
The online league allows the owner to create his own schedule of races for the players to compete in. It adds a twist to a game that so desperately needs it.
From a graphical standpoint, the game looks like of middle-of-the-pack quality last-gen title. It doesn’t pop out at you visually like games like Gran Turismo did on PS3 or even Forza Motorsport 4 did on Xbox 360.
With that in mind, the game’s visual department is where a primary issue kept arising. No matter what the settings were, there were multiple instances in a race where the frame rate would skip when driving in the third person perspective. When it happens once or twice, it can be forgiven. However, when it keeps happening to the point where the car looks like a flickering firefly, that’s when it becomes a problem.
At the end of the day, NASCAR 14 is your typical stock car racing game. While the replay value is pretty high due to the multiplayer, the game really that doesn’t offer anything substantial that makes it a must-have game for the casual fan.
The foundation is there for a series that could reach, and surpass, the heights of the old EA Sports NASCAR titles, but right now, it’s just a game that comes up short of expectations.
(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)