Welcome to our NASCAR Heat 4 review. Whatever your thoughts about NASCAR, there’s no denying it’s one of America’s biggest racing series and with that sort of fame comes video games. Whilst personally not a fan of the sport and having never played a NASCAR game before, the opportunity to review NASCAR Heat 4 was a welcome way to learn a bit more about the sport.
- NASCAR Heat 4
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Monster Games
- Publisher: 704 Games
- Multiplayer: Online 2 – 40 Players
- Available: 13th September 2019
- Price: £44.99 (U.K), $49.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 3 (UK/EU), E (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
There’s no real story in NASCAR Heat 4, instead, you’re just a new driver who is working his or her way up the sport’s career ladder through several different NASCAR disciplines. The only real narrative you’ll get is from your manager who pops in every now and again. There are two modes players can choose within career, Owner, and Driver. Playing as an owner allows you to own a team and manage it by purchasing vehicles, repairing vehicles, training staff, and improving facilities, whilst playing as a driver allows you to just focus on the racing. If you want the real experience and the stress of money managing, then owner mode is for you.
When it comes to racing in career mode, things start off a bit slow and you’ll generally find yourself getting better as you go. There are a few disciplines present such as dirt racing, truck racing, and the pure NASCAR experience. As you play through the game each of these disciplines will unlock and you’ll be able to play more than one at a time if you wish, by which I mean your calendar will contain dates for races in each selected discipline.
At first, it feels almost impossible to get a podium finish in NASCAR Heat 4, as it feels like your vehicle is greatly underpowered. There’s a reason for that though, and that reason is that the developers have placed greater importance on setting your car up for each individual event and this means veterans of the series will find what once worked in previous games may not work as well here, whilst new players to the series are going to have a lot to learn, and unfortunately the game doesn’t do much to teach you.
Admittedly the career racing in NASCAR Heat 4 feels very repetitive in a wash, rinse, and repeat cycle that sees you doing a practice run, then a qualifying run and lastly the main race. All of this repetitive action with nothing in between leads to an experience that gets boring very quickly. Where other racing games would try to fill in gaps between events with a race unrelated to the overall career, NASCAR Heat 4 chooses to do nothing.
Throughout the game’s career, you’ll come across various teams who will offer you contracts based on preset conditions being met throughout a season. When conditions are met you’ll receive offers which you can consider for the next season. If none of these teams tickle your interest you can always start your own.
A social feed similar to Twitter is also present where other drivers will post comments based on your performance during a race. Race well and you’ll get a load of positive comments, race roughly and ram into other drivers and you’ll generate some negative posts. These comments have a great effect on your overall reputation and will help shape how you’re seen throughout the sport, whilst your performance and reply options will help you to make friends or rivals.
NASCAR Heat 4 features quite a few settings that allow you to change things such as race length, A.I difficulty, driver aids, and so much more to allow you to create a custom-tailored experience to suit your needs and play as you wish.
On my original base model PS4, the game’s graphics are at best average for the most part when it comes to anything that isn’t a vehicle. The cars all look really good in their digital representations and it’s clear to see the graphics team has paid a lot of attention to detail, from the sponsorship and branding to the placement of things both internally and externally. The cars are very smoothly made with no real roughness to their overall appearance. The speedways have also been faithfully ported to the digital world, but unlike the cars these are very rough around the edges and have a very early PS3 like appearance to them.
An online multiplayer mode is present and will pit you against up to 39 other players from around the world. Being good at racing is crucial here as there are a lot of pro players out there ready to smoke you on the game’s many speedways.
The number of Speedways including Daytona and Pocono is sure to please fans of the sport as is the number of teams and recognizable faces from the NASCAR circuit. Admittedly none of this means much to me as someone who doesn’t watch NASCAR, but I appreciate the amount of work that has gone into keeping the fans happy.
In conclusion, NASCAR Heat 4 is sure to please any fans of the sport and previous games. For me, as a newbie, it didn’t quite hit all of the right spots and hasn’t really made me a fan or any more interested than I was before. A repetitive wash, rinse and repeat cycle for each race kind of zapped a lot of the fun away, whilst having to tune cars without much help kind of left me in the dark. The negatives aside I am positive this game will please fans of the series.
That concludes our NASCAR Heat 4 review. To purchase the game on PlayStation 4, check out the links below.