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Nascar The Game: Inside Line preview

Start warming up your thumbs for a lot of left-hand turning because the sequel to 2011’s Nascar The Game is coming to racing fans later this year. The pack-racing simulator, Nascar The Game: Inside Line, takes many of the criticisms and suggestions from fans of the first title and adds an entire garage full of features, for both online and off.

First off, the developers are adding a significant amount of features to the multiplayer mode which will be available to players right from the start. Up to 16 players can go head-to-head in completely customizable races. You’ll be able to modify your car, run practice laps, and even complete the entire process of Sprint Cup races, qualifiers and all, with your friends. Jump into a five lap race or sit for three hours through the entire Daytona 500. It’s all up to you.  

The Career mode has also changed the pace from the previous title, this time taking players from being an ill-equipped rookie to a fully sponsored Nascar superstar. You’ll be able to manage your driver’s career to earn better parts for your car, set better qualifying times, and eventually move up your starting position at the start of the big races. Place higher in races and you’ll be on the path to getting better sponsorships, which means even more goodies you’ll be able to use in the Race Shop.

The Race Shop allows you to customize and modify the look and performance of your car. Moving up through the ranks means getting the chance to get sponsored by true-to-life sponsors like Diet Mountain Dew, Target, and Go Daddy. Cars can be changed to any color, sponsor decals can be added, and a variety of paint emblems can be used to make your car look truly unique on the track.  Another nice touch is as you rise in popularity, you'll go from having a sad turn-out of just a few fans peeking at your car to a bustling crowd hanging around your garage. This makes your career progress more than just getting a faster car.

We had a chance to get behind the wheel and take a few laps on the Daytona 500 track and managed to cause a massive pile-up when we were trying to push to the head of the pack. This isn’t like Need for Speed’s street racing or Forza’s hairpin-turn precision tracks; Nascar has a whole other element - the competition. You win by taking turns perfectly, sticking to the draft line, and overtaking your opponents one-by-one. A single slip up can completely change the race, which we quickly learned when we slightly nudged another car sending us slamming into the wall and spinning into the path of the 30 cars behind us.

The developers mentioned that the physics engine has been slightly tweaked to capture a more true-to-life feel to the crashes, how the cars drive, and also changed how the AI works. The AI has been revamped, improving their realism to where they actually mimic the racing style of the real-life drivers. Drivers will react and even make mistakes as a real human would, causing pile-ups, and crashes on their own.

Nascar The Game: Inside Line seems like the next best thing to actually hopping onto a Nascar track. There are already a ton of features with even more announcements coming in the future. The developers promised even more details on upcoming online features soon, so be sure to check back for more details.

Nascar The Game: Inside Line hits stores on November 6 this year on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

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