By Jordan Dodson
If you are a NASCAR fan disappointed in NASCAR The Game 2011, be disappointed no more. Eutechnyx‘s second installment of NASCAR The Game called NASCAR The Game: Inside Line exceeds expectations in all aspects!
Gamer’s biggest complaints about NTG 2011 were about lack of difficulty in single player game play and glitch issues during online multiplayer.
Good news, both have been fixed! That is music to your ears if you have been waiting for the releases of NTG: Inside Line over the past year. Those issues, among many other improvements, have been made to Eutechnyx’s second installment of the game. From tuning your car during practice to victory lane, you won’t be disappointed.
Players start the game by creating their own driver who will make their way to the top of the Sprint Cup series. As the driver, players work their way up to the top in the sport throughout the season. Players improve the performance of their car and attract sponsors as they make a name for themselves. This is a great way to make the career mode more enjoyable.
Rather than jump in someone else’s car and run up front from the start, the new career mode in NTG: Inside Line makes you work for it. Personally, I have really enjoyed working my way to the top. It makes the career mode more enjoyable and as a player, I find myself having to race smart instead of slamming my way to the front. Also, playing it on the hard difficulty level is actually hard. The A.I’s run just as fast as the player or faster. You have to become a better racer to be competitive.
Many players complained about the single player difficulty in NTG 2011 because it was too easy, even set at its hardest difficulty. That’s not the case anymore. I haven’t even played the legendary difficulty yet because it has been challenging enough keeping up on the hard level. There is now more side-by-side racing and some beating and banging. One of the best parts about the improved single player setting, is that cars no longer single file all the way around the track. A.I’s and players are racing from beginning to end.
NTG: Inside Line also includes the new Challenge mode where players can relive or rewrite past moments in NASCAR over the past couple years. Scenarios include beating Tony Stewart at Homestead for the championship or beating Jeff Burton to the finish line as Clint Bowyer did in 2011 at Talladega. This is a cool feature if you enjoy NASCAR’s history and want to relive the special moments of the sport.
Online multiplayer was a big emphasis for Eutechnyx in creating NTG: Inside Line. They worked to get rid of the “Bubble” glitch that affected side-by-side racing as well as the overall race weekend experience online. Both of those issues have been fixed. Players can now race along side one another without unnecessary glitches and wrecks. Racing online is now much smoother and bumper to bumper racing is now a common occurrence. Players also have more options in creating lobbies including practice sessions that allow people can tune their cars before they head to the track. Overall, the online experience is much smoother. There are still connection issues at times that could be improved with stronger servers but when everything works, it works great!
There were other aspects of the game that I found to make the game more enjoyable and feel more realistic. The new track models now allow players to race everywhere on the track from the high side to the low side. It has allowed closer racing and smoother racing. There is no more getting caught in the wall if you run the high line through the turns and more racing lines to choose from.
The damage model has also been greatly improved. Rather than shredding the sheet metal like NTG 2011, sheet metal now bends and crunches. Wrecks now look more realistic as players can watch their car get smashed instead of random sheet metal disappearing. The new damage model also includes over heating and running out of gas so players must always be aware of their engine, particularly where bump drafting plays a major role.
Some shredding still takes place on the sides of the car but it is only minor. The other small improvement that could be made to the damage model is damage to bumpers. Bump drafting can cause damage to bumpers, specifically at superspeedways, and that should not be the case. It was an issue in the NTG 2011, and improved in NTG: Inside Line, but still needs some more work.
NASCAR The Game: Inside Line has been greatly improved in all aspects and any NASCAR fan who wants to feel what it’s like behind the wheel of a stock car should jump in on this gaming experience. The offline and online experiences are both smooth and challenging. This game is one of the most realistic NASCAR experiences I have played on a gaming console. The amount of detail in the game makes you feel like your part of a race team.
There are only two things I would suggest need improvement. That includes connection issues during online play and updating the damage model for stronger bumpers.
Overall, I give this game a 8 out of 10 for its realism, smooth gameplay, slick graphics and attention to detail. NASCAR The Game: Inside Line is the best NASCAR game I have played to date and I recommend it to anyone who wants to feed that racing desire 24/7.