Review by Warhawk
"Fight for the Top as I review NASCAR 2005 for my 52nd review"
NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup is the newest edition to EA Sports' NASCAR series. This year EA Sports decided to add in 3 new series: Modifieds, Trucks and Busch series along with a newly tuned physics engine in which could've been a bit better but there's always a year to try to make things better if they do go about making anything to improve over this year's NASCAR game. Each of the series that were added along with the NEXTEL Cup series are quite unique in their own way due to how each car in the series handles on the racetrack wheter you're racing the Modifieds, Trucks or the Busch series, but there are a couple things that I don't get though with EA Sports Tiburon this year: Where's the leaderboard? and How come the EA Sports Bio isn't programmed for this game? Another thing is that Pocono isn't featured in the game along with Jeremy Mayfield not being in the game probably due to licensing problems while trying to get the track Pocono Raceway and driver Jeremy Mayfield into the game before the cutoff date to get the tracks along with drivers into the game with a few paint schemes.
The graphics for NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup is alright while some of the tracks that are new in this game are nicely done while some were modified from last year's version of NASCAR Thunder 2004. For example Martinsville seems to be a little wider compared to last year's along with other tracks like Phoenix, while there are new tracks in there such as The Milwaukee Mile, IRP, and Nazareth which look almost like the tracks in real life counterpart. The car modeling seems to be like how last year's (NEXTEL Cup cars) while the Busch cars look basically like the Cup cars but as for the Craftsman Trucks and Featherlite Modifieds; are basically generic look to them but some of the drivers driving a certain make like Bobby Hamilton driving a Dodge or Travis Kvapil driving a Toyota. I certainly hope that EA Sports Tiburon will at least make an attempt to fix this for next year's game if they go about making next year's version the same way (with the idea of having more than the NEXTEL Cup in there).
The difficulty in this year's NASCAR game can vary for each racer because with the new tweaked physics engine it may be difficult for some to get used to the physics of the cars in this year's game while others that may have some experience with NASCAR simulations may be able to pick up well while there are others that have played NASCAR sims like NASCAR Racing or NASCAR Dirt to Daytona whined about how the physics weren't all that good. The only thing that I can say is that they were probably whining because they couldn't stay competitive in the game which isn't hard if you get used to the physics. Another thing that is good is that when you go about racing at the Restrictor plate tracks like Daytona or Talladega you won't be able to pull away from the pack like in previous NASCAR games and when you make a pitstop you better take all 4 tires or you'll be asking for trouble after you make that pitstop if you only take 2 tires. After playing through Fight for the Top just to see how it was before I officially start it sometime soon; it allows you to choose the difficulty level before you start so if you want to make it easy for yourself go ahead while there may be others that may want more of a challenge by taking the difficulty up there so they can really fight to get to the NEXTEL Cup series.
What can I say about the sound this year. EA Sports really done well at capturing the sound of the engines in this year's game since they managed to record the sound and be able to put it in the game so the cars will sound realistic especially when you go about shifting up or shifting down but more importantly how it sounds real as you shift up. Even the way the tires squeal as you slide across the track if you get spun out by another driver or your car is loose then slide across the pavement of the track; so overall the sound of the cars in NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup is probably the most realistic sound I heard in a NASCAR game since NASCAR Racing 2002 Season if Papyrus done the same thing or similar to what EA done this year.
As for the soundtrack for NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup is an alright soundtrack but it would be nice if they could've had some quality songs that may be able to fit a NASCAR game like Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood or Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf just to name a couple songs. For next year's NASCAR game I would like to see songs that would really go about fitting a racing game such as the NASCAR games for a more of a racing environment; there are many songs that would be able to go really good with any type of racing any type of racing game. I really would like to see that happen for next year's version of EA's NASCAR game.
The controls for this game I say are somewhat better than last year's NASCAR Thunder 2004 but I do say that it makes it more realistic feel while you're at that particular track racing and trying to make sure that the car stays in the racing line that you feel the most comfortable racing in around the track. With the new physics engine it makes it feel that you are almost racing in real life at whatever track that you are racing at whether it's a flat track like IRP to a Speedway like Texas Motor Speedway to a road course like Infineon Raceway. Depending on where you're racing the car will take a feel for that whatever track you're racing at and if you feel that the car is tight or loose you can always adjust the car by going to the Car Setup to adjust the car to your liking so you can get around the track better.
The gameplay of NASCAR 2005 is good but it at least could've been worked on a little more in my opinion of what I have done so far in this game. It seems that there seems to be a glitch in the game like in last year's game NASCAR Thunder 2004 while you are under caution and while under caution you seem to get a ridiculous lap time for example in last year's game while I was under caution at Lowe's Motor Speedway I got a lap time of about 13.5 seconds; and anyone knows that it's impossible to get a lap time like that whether its NASCAR, IRL or any other form of racing. The only thing about if that happens in this game it seems that you can't erase that incorrect lap time so you can go about getting a better lap time so anybody will ask How did you get that time at <insert name of track here>? EA Tiburon better fix that problem for next year's game or at least have it like NASCAR Thunder 2004 if that happens I can always delete that lap time and try to get a lap time that I know that I get at that track.
REPLAY VALUE: 8.5/10
Even though that there's a lot that you can do that can keep you playing this game for hours but it seems to fall short since there aren't many Legend drivers in the game such as Bobby & Davey Allison, David Person, Darrell Waltrip along with a few other legends but instead it's mostly fantasy drivers who seem that they can't drive and always seem to spin out most of the time like in last two NASCAR games. One thing that I like about this year's NASCAR game is that you can earn skill points to go about purchasing the Thunder Plates unlocking things anywhere from Pole Positions to Production Cars to C-A-C Sponsors and even having a MR. CLEAN pitcrew (where you're crew like the Jackman, Tire Changers, will look like Mr. Clean).
NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup overall isn't that bad of a game but there are some things that I think that EA Sports could've done to make this game much better including the physics but in my opinion that this game could've been an experimental game to see how people's reaction would be to this game to find out what they can go about fixing up or whatever the people suggest that needs to be done to improve the game for next year. I just hope that next year's NASCAR game will be like this year's NASCAR game with the Modifieds, Trucks, and Busch series to go along with the NEXTEL Cup but I hope that they go about fixing some of the problems along with any of the glitches like with the lap times so I don't try to figure out why my lap time is faster than the normal time that I know I can at that track (rather than maybe like 5 - 30 seconds (depending on the track) faster then I know that I can run. I would like to see a better game next year or I'll be writing to EA Tiburon wanting to know what is going on and how come this is like this or like that.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/05/04
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