The lights are on
NASCAR developer Eutechnyx's first outing with the sport was almost a start and park situation. But the studio kept releasing patches, and this year's follow-up is benefiting from not only more development time and knowledge, but also a more efficient development process overall. The result is a game that appears to be fully featured in many areas. And when you've got a car that's good in all the corners, you've always got a chance to win.
Fans will be heartened to know that this year's game contains a fleshed out career mode where you vie for the attention of multiple sponsors for your car (there are 60 real sponsorships in the game) each with different objectives. How you perform on the track during the Sprint Cup season and in four different types of invitational events determines how well you do with your sponsors and what more attractive and lucrative offers come your way.
Overall, the better you do, the more cash you bring in to upgrade your race shop. For instance, you can improve your engine in specific areas such as its durability, fuel efficiency, and its performance during qualifying. You can also upgrade your chassis, drive train, and brakes through multiple levels.
Online racers can now utilize a full race weekend complete with practice sessions and qualifying for a more realistic racing experience. The game supports 16 racers online, as well as 2-player split-screen for the PS3/Xbox 360 and 4-player for the Wii (split-screen now shows a full 43-car field). Unfortunately, there is no online racing for the Wii version. You can form an online league and keep track of all the records and results that you and your friends rack up. Eutechnyx also says that it has improved the online collision and bump drafting, among other fixes from last year.
Better Times On the Track
For novice racers and the hardcore alike, Inside Line will have a number of tools to help improve lap times. Spotter and crew chief audio from Ty Norris and Ray Evernham offers helpful feedback (Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip provide their voices for race day), and practice and qualifying sessions not only let you get used to the track, but monitor things like fuel usage as well. The game's Track Test mode also shows your tire temps and the G-force in the corners.
Eutechnyx rebuilt the game's tracks and one of the results is that different race lines are available for each one. These will evolve as the race goes on. You can also change your brake bias on the fly, overheat your engine when bump drafting, and see the game's new damage modeling that includes more scrapes and deformation. The damage setting in the game can be toggled from cosmetic to full, and not only can you DNF, but you can cut a tire and experience other mechanical failures.
Other new elements this year include an expanded paint shop, non-points events like the All-Star race, interactive pits (w/ varied AI pit strategies), and more. While last year's title was bare bones, Inside Line has already come off the hauler looking bad fast.
NASCAR the Game: Inside Line comes to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii on November 6.
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