Oh dear. Well, let's make a few things clear first of all: we at OXM are an open-minded bunch, and do appreciate that there's probably a tactical element to real-life NASCAR racing. We approached NASCAR 08 with a completely open mind. But within just five minutes we'd begun to wish we hadn't approached it at all.
Graphically, the game looks very average; you'd be hard-pushed to claim it looks much more impressive than an upscaled Xbox title. Yes, the car textures are detailed, with loads of sharp and colourful sponsor logos plastered all over them, but the models are disappointingly basic and polygonal - miles apart from the quality of the cars in Forza 2. Anyway, as long as it plays well we can let that slide, yeah? Yeah.
Good lord. Let us confirm: we are not bad at playing games.
Some of the OXM team have been gaming for decades. Yet this reviewer, OXM Nab Gil and OXM Monobrow all had a go at NASCAR 08 and all spun out at almost every corner. On the beginner control setup.
Quite simply, the handling is awful, and easily among the worst we've seen in a racing game. We can appreciate that EA had to do something to make a game with mostly oval tracks interesting, but creating an artificial challenge by making your car handle like a shopping trolley driving through a custard spill on an ice rink does not an interesting race make.
What's more frustrating is the fact that almost every time you spin out or crash, you are 'treated' to a cutscene of an official waving a yellow flag then you have to sit there for a good 30 seconds watching your car slowly going round the track with the other cars in a single file formation. And you can't skip it.
There are so many "Why?"s in NASCAR 08. These range from small ones like, "Why, in the in-car view, do my driver's hands jerk around as if he's having a fit every time I turn?" to worryingly frequent ones such as, "Why do I constantly spin out when I take a simple 15 turn?" Ultimately though, the question you'll be asking yourself most often is, "Why did I waste money on this garbage?"
For fans only. Fans of masochism, that is
- Handles like a yacht in a storm
- Constant non-skippable cutscenes
- Graphics are notably bland
- No local multiplayer mode
- Did we mention the handling?