Hey there all you sports fans. Kemanswar has been doing some stock car racing this past week with NASCAR ’09 for the Xbox 360. This year’s cover athlete is Jeff Gordon, driver of the number 24 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. At the start of the game he provides the tutorial to help get you started. Any time Gordon is explaining anything to you it is via cut scene; you can skip it or listen to him talk. If you are a fan of NASCAR you already know the basics but let’s break it down anyway.
If you run through the career mode you start out in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, this is where all you rookies will get some experience. You can sign contracts for teams and sponsors, as you progress and meet objectives i.e.: place in the top 25 for 3 races, etc… This gives you Reputation Points, the more of them you have, the more options you have for sponsors and teams. As you complete sponsor objectives and team objectives you also get Performance Points. Use these to upgrade your stats in four categories: Engine, Chassis, Aerodynamics, and Durability; and in the four track types: Speedway, Super Speedway, Short Track, Road Course. Leveling up comes in heavy when you play online (more here later). After some time in the Truck Series, you can move up to the Nationwide Series, think of this as big engines with training wheels. A faster car, better aerodynamics, better stability, makes competition a little bit harder than the trucks. Same rules apply though work your way through the season and build up your reputation and make your way to the Sprint Cup Series.
Sprint Cup Series: fast cars all turning left over and over! This is where the big boys race for the win, or make a smoking wreck in turn four! All your big names and big sponsors are here where big engines cut loose for you to take to the front.
If you were to remove the NASCAR licenses it would still be a decent racer, it has control modes that make it easy for novice users to keep up with the hardcore simulation fans. Speaking of whom, will love to go in and tweak their set up, much like Forza 2. This detail into handling, aerodynamics, tire pressure, etc makes it a worthy simulation (I’m not going to lie; I just looked at the options, as I know nothing about cars).
There is also a race now feature, as in all EA Sports games, and of course the obligatory country EA Trax. One of my favorite features is the option to create your own paint scheme, which for once EA stepped up and is giving you more. You can also upload your very own custom paint job from your computer. Love to edit in Photoshop? Than go to the EA website and download the templates you need to create what ever your mind can come up with. We could talk about the dangers of what some gamers will “paint” on their cars, but that’s been beat to death.
Overall I really enjoy NASCAR ’09, it’s a fun race game that helps you learn how to adjust your cars and build up a reputation. If you are a fan of NASCAR than you will probably enjoy the ’09 outing, heck if you like racers check it out! It’s more about how you control your car and how you tweak your settings that make this a keeper. If on the other hand, you are not a fan of either, but your interest has been sparked, rent it and find out what you think.
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Here is a trailer for the game: