A couple months back we here at PretendRaceCars.com reported that the rights to the NASCAR license for console games had been transferred from Eutechnyx to a company called Dusenberry-Martin Interactive, suspiciously retaining all of the assets from the previous handful of NASCAR games pumped out by Eutechnyx.
Today, NASCAR’s Official Facebook page announced NASCAR 15 would be released on May 22nd, 2015.
The trailer was incredibly underwhelming, featuring the same bizarre pack racing at restrictor plate tracks that plagued the other games in the series.
And here is a shot from NASCAR ’14 I took in photo mode.
Now compare these shots to how the racing at Daytona actually looks.
The theme of shoe-horning in old, outdated liveries and drivers to fill the 43-car field has also continued, as despite the title implying this game will focus on the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the
pyramid scheme Dogecoin car has made a return.
As well as the HUD from NASCAR ’14.
It’s impossible to get hyped for NASCAR ’15 as the series of games has been developed by Eutechnyx, the same team behind Ride to Hell: Retribution, a game that earned a metacritic score of 19. My own experience with the NASCAR: The Game series has been that of despair. All titles in the series stemming back to early 2011 have been ridden with bugs and a developer team located in England that flat-out doesn’t care.
The game’s official forums quickly banned anybody who spoke out about the quality of what they’d just bought, and even though NASCAR The Game 2013 had been on Steam as an Open Beta, pointing out actual issues like the fact that these cars no longer have a rear sway bar would net you a ban. The 2013 game never evolved from “Open Beta” status, and instead several pricey DLC livery packs were released for the game until it was promptly abandoned for the release of NASCAR 14. That game shipped with its own set of bugs.
A more detailed description of how terrible these games have been can be found here, and I’ll quote what I said to give you an impression of how NASCAR 15 might play:
At launch, the game failed to grid you accordingly, and a stellar fifth place qualifying effort could start you anywhere from on the pole, to at the back of the pack. While this glitch has since been fixed, in return, qualifying is now dreadfully easy, even with the default setups.
“Inside Line” has AI that is beyond awful, and there’s just no sugar-coating it. AI cars brake-check heavily at seemingly random times, no matter what track or difficulty setting is selected. This, in short, is aggravating, and makes offline racing a complete and utter chore. Simply put, the AI drivers do NOT put up any fight, and anyone with even the least bit of skill can drive circles around them without much effort. On top of that, the driving lines the AI use are downright terrible, often separating into two specific “snakes”, with one half of the field running right along the apron, and the other half of the field running right by the wall, allowing you to easily shoot through the middle on any track where the middle groove is effective. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if the AI was constantly swapping spots back and forth with each other, but AI cars are almost reluctant to make passes on each other, even when approaching a lapped car, opting to stay in a perfect single-file line. On both Superspeedways, arguably the most popular tracks in NASCAR games when it comes to fun factor, the AI brake-checking ruins all sense of immersion and constantly breaks up the giant packs you’re used to seeing on TV. It is also very odd to see drivers have no tangible skill level difference, as back-markers such as Danica Patrick and Dave Blaney will be mixing it up among the top ten, while eventual cup champion Brad Keselowski fights it out for 42nd place. The only passing resemblance the AI has when compared to real drivers is their inability to dodge wrecks adequately, opting to instead plow into several cars to create Hollywood-like crash scenes.
Not only does the AI fail to replicate the type of racing only seen in NASCAR, they also have their own set of basic coding issues that seem absurd in the year 2013. AI cars in “Inside Line” just cannot execute a pit-stop properly, opting to either pile into each other upon entry into pit lane, or spin wildly out of control upon exit & create massive track-blocking wrecks that all other AI cars slam into without hesitation. On some tracks, regardless of tire wear settings or race length, AI cars will pit every five laps, for no particular reason. No matter what race lengths you run, or what tire wear setting you select, offline races are often frustrating due to the AI’s inability to hold their composure for more than a lap before displaying some sort of bug that renders them uncompetitive to anyone who’s played a previous NASCAR game.
“Inside Line” has the WORST online racing you can find on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, featuring an abundance of glitches that make you question whether Eutechnyx truly tested their game before release. Cars levitate, sink into the ground, and flip wildly out of place, giving other users no clear indication of where others are on the track. Collision detection is wildly inaccurate, making passing, drafting, and close racing in general, impossible, as someone is always on the receiving end of a netcode shunt that sends them into the wall and ends their race. Cars spawn upside down on the grid, are shot ahead at twice the speed of sound, or ping-pong off every other car in the field after being brought to a sudden stop for no apparent reason. Sometimes, one or two cars in the lobby will be uncontrollably loose the moment the green flag drops, with no way to adjust this during pitstops. If a yellow flag comes out, half of the field is immediately kicked out of the game and sent to the main menu. The matchmaking system flat-out doesn’t work, putting you in lobbies with races that have already started, and booting users for no explainable reason when the next race finally starts, ten minutes later.
Developers actively come on the forums to argue with users who speak negatively about the game, taunt other developers of more successful racing titles about a failed title update, or brag about working on a game unrelated to “Inside Line”, despite telling loyal members only a day earlier that they were “hard at work” on fixing issues in NASCAR. Users with genuine complaints or bugs are promptly banned or called “trolls” by the moderation team, and silenced before they are able to make any further critical comments on the game. Preview videos feature developer’s purposely “sand-bagging” races against the AI to make the game appear more challenging than it actually is, and several topics exist primarily to post YouTube videos of crazy online glitches. There are also your stereotypical younger users, who have never played a NASCAR game before “Inside Line” and praise the developer team while calling everyone else names and making excuses for glitches that should not exist in a game that spent two years in development. Truth be told, browsing the official “Inside Line” message board is actually MORE entertaining than physically playing “Inside Line,” as it’s a grim reminder as to the kind of people your money is going towards supporting should you actually buy “Inside Line.”
Don’t fall for the hype, Eutechnyx NASCAR games have been continuously trash since 2011.