Despite the crew at IGN’s rather casual-oriented display of American Stock Car Racing uploaded earlier today, we now have our first look at the rebirth of NASCAR Heat Evolution, set to release this September for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Crafted by the team behind 2002’s cult-classic Dirt to Daytona, and confirmed to be powered by the exact same engine Monster Games had used to take a serious shot at dethroning Electronic Arts – with the Hardcore physics option set to return – it appears we’ll finally have an officially licensed NASCAR simulator to write home about, the first in over a decade.
It is an absolutely atrocious video in terms of raw presentation – the thumbnail for the clip has actually been taken from Project CARS, and the demonstration itself is clearly using a half-finished version of the game on the entry level set of physics, but for NASCAR fans who have suffered through years of getting anally penetrated by abysmal Eutechnyx products, the five minute overview justifies any cautious excitement oval racing fans may have over this upcoming release.
Unlike the laughable attempts from Electronic Arts near the end of their run with the license, and the shovelware quality releases pushed on NASCAR fans by Eutechnyx, this one is going to be quite good. A full Career Mode is available as the main form of single player progression, the classic Beat the Heat challenges will also be making a return, online will obviously be much easier to implement than it was in the early 2000’s, and the physics will satisfy all dedicated sim racers thanks to the availability of an optional hardcore driving model, one which unlike past games will be available from the start inside the options menu.
As someone who has sunk many hours into NASCAR titles by Monster Games thanks to a backwards compatibility PlayStation 3, as well as messed around with total conversion mods for the original NASCAR Heat on the PC, this is the best possible title NASCAR fans could have received at this point in time. To this day, a small yet dedicated modding community continues to create content for the original NASCAR Heat, a game released for Windows 98 operating systems all the way back in the summer of 2000, and their creations still hold up to some of the more established oval racing simulators currently available. If someone were to… I don’t know… come along and simply re-make this exact game, with modern graphics, it would make a lot of people very happy.
It may seem bummy that Heat Evolution will closely resemble something of an official first-party modification for the original title published under Hasbro Interactive, sixteen years in the making, but the sheer quality of the driving model, combined with the competence of the artificial intelligence, means that sim racers will be quite satisfied with the final product once it hits store shelves.