NASCAR The Game: 2011 review

  • Gameplay true to NASCAR racing
  • Includes 2 full seasons of the Sprint Cup
  • The Southern accented coach in your headset
  • Lack of polish
  • Unfriendly to NASCAR outsiders
  • Weak crash animations

The differences between a real NASCAR race and what people think it is are huge. NASCAR races are battles of attrition and patience, cars are tuned to be technically identical, so winning requires the drivers to remain consistent and wait for their opening. It’s a far cry from the stereotypical “bumper cars and fiery explosions” reputation it has. NASCAR the Game: 2011 captures the reality of the sport, especially at the higher difficulties where you’re actually required to do hundreds of laps and manage your fuel, tires, and car condition. If that doesn’t sound like fun, NTG: 2011 might not be for you.

It may sound strange to non-NASCAR fans, but every circular track really does feel different. Bear with me. Slight changes in banking, track length and turn angles means every race requires your full attention. Misjudge the banking or go in too hot, and you’ll be saying hello to the wall every time; too slow and you’ll get passed or worse. You’ll quickly get to know the differences between the ovoid beasts. Super short, heavily banked courses like Bristol Motor Speedway are fast, exciting, and usually full of crashes. High-speed tracks with engine restrictor plates like Daytona require drafting and even bump drafting so you can slingshot in front of other drivers. Either way you’ll need to play patient and strike when the opportunity arises. Adjustable difficulty, assists and race length means you can cut your teeth against easy opponents in 6 lap races before working your way up to more realistic challenges.

NTG: 2011 features a career mode, challenges and individual races, in addition to online multiplayer. Players earn NASCAR Experience Points (NXP) for every race, and leveling up unlocks new challenges and additional liveries. Cars can be customized individually by hardcore players, but seeing as each car features a pre-made, track specific tune set up, you better know what you’re doing before you break out your e-wrenches. NTG: 2011 will include both the 2010 and fully updated 2011 Sprint Cup seasons, so hardcore fans will have two sets of races to complete.

While true NASCAR fans know there’s a lot more going on than just the crashes, the average NASCAR outsider enjoys a nice 43 car pile-up. While there are plenty of wrecks in NTG: 2011, the crash physics leave something to be desired. The game always does a quick flashback after a yellow flag is dropped so you can see the wrecks, but the cars look more like slick polygons bouncing into each other instead of savagely wrecked metal. NTG: 2011 could use a little more polish in other areas as well, there’s little to assist or train players new to NASCAR style racing, and the awards and win animations are recycled for every race. Non-circle track races like Infineon also feel a bit off, as if the game’s physics engine wasn’t really designed to handle them.

Despite the unfortunate large scale crash physics, individual crash damage on cars is modeled well, bumpers get scuffed and bent, and hard crashes will remove your hood and body panels. As with most sim racing games you have the option to keep the damage cosmetic if pitting in for a bent control arm doesn’t appeal to you. There’s also a rewind feature, a good idea in a game that could potentially have you losing the race after a mistake on lap 199 of 200.

Eutechnyx have done a nice job with NTG: 2011 but it isn’t going to win over many converts. “For fans only” is a well worn cliche, but in a game as incredibly specific and dedicated as NTG: 2011, it’s the truth.

Apr 6, 2011

More Info

Release date: Mar 29 2011 - PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Racing
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Eutechnyx
Franchise: NASCAR
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Language

Down are up ell, ex why be?

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  • loken68 - June 3, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    I Played it for two months. The game was released unfinished and is currently awaiting a 2nd patch that supposedly make it online playable. The community Managers were horrible in the forums issuing threats to anyone not giving the game good reviews. I think Activision should distance itself from this developer.
  • SlinkyDink - April 8, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    As long as I'm going left I'm happy! Left > Right. More racing games should adopt this going left mechanic, having tracks with other turning options gets old too quickly.
  • philipshaw - April 7, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    So many left turns
  • e1337prodigy - April 7, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Where's the "is it better than" section? I would like to know what is the best NASCAR game at the moment.
  • ExcessGiraffe - April 7, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Oh wow, I thought this was a joke when this game was announced. Driving round in circles for hundreds of laps and watching my fucking fuel tank does NOT sound like a fun game.
  • Balaska - April 7, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    @AlSwear Alt Gr, ít wórks fór á lót óf léttérs
  • AlSwearengenHatesCocksuckers - April 7, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    This "President Obama" is pissin me off. So I'm gonna do some dip and speak my mind! True Nascar. Also, my captcha has fucking SPANISH letters in it. It wants an accent over my a, and it's just not something I think I can provide.
  • Rubberducky - April 7, 2011 4:26 a.m.

    Do you have to be poor and stupid to enjoy this game?
  • Gahmah - April 7, 2011 3:21 a.m.

    Sounds cool, I'll have to check it out, Dirt and Grid just weren't pulling something for me that Shift, or Gran Turismo did. This sounds like something to put up alongside my game from Paradox Interactive, Europa Univeralis III, Nascar 2011, Vanquish, oh yeah.
  • SonicX_89 - April 7, 2011 3:18 a.m.

    Ahhh Jeff Dunham references, they make me laugh.
  • chrisat928 - April 7, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    @bengimon85 We'll be right back. Come back in three hours, you won't miss a fucking thing.
  • FreedomPhantom - April 7, 2011 1:51 a.m.

    Nipples, man! what a redneck sport.
  • bengimon85 - April 7, 2011 1:47 a.m.

  • Spartan11794 - April 7, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    I didn't think Nascar was bumper cars or fiery explosions, I always thought it was people driving in a circle for hoooooooouuuuuuuursssssssss with the occasional crash