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Review: Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition

Posted by on December 2nd, 2011 | 0 Comments | Tags:

Like the classic Daytona USA but want some more? Check this thing out. Holding the distinction of the least reviewed game on PSN, Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition is loosely based on the movie of the same name starring Tom Cruise. Very few things in the game are directly related to the movie though. Besides the NASCAR racing, there are similar sponsors, the same crew chief giving you basic tips and comments, and Rowdy and Cole turn up on the race track, though they never say anything.

Career mode follows you through a preseason, season and chase for the Sprint Cup. There are some 16 races that need to be tackled for the sprint cup with more for the pre and post seasons. You have the option to qualify for any race you participate in if you’d like a better starting position. It seemed like even when I messed up, I could still get pole position when I qualified.

Cars are modeled well but the same pre-made damage for them can make it look cookie-cutter. The tracks all look good with some pretty backdrops, but they may not be as faithfully recreated as much as some diehards might want. The HUD is slapped on top of everything, reminding me of Top Gun’s generic look. Music is a stale rock track that plays quietly in the background. I opted to change that for custom tunes (I suggest the Dazed and Confused soundtrack).

Gameplay is arcade like. All races begin with a rolling start. With some focus, I was able to make my way up from a lap down to first place over the course of 3 laps. Pitting is way too easy, with you never actually stopping. You drive through it slamming on three buttons to recharge gas durability and tires, and then you’re off exiting pit row at top speed (not the 40mph maximum). Navigating lap traffic is probably the most challenging aspect to this game. You have access to two abilities. The first is dropping the hammer, a boost which you can charge up by drafting and clean driving. The second is focus mode that slows everything down to bullet-time, which is charged by… rubbing other cars. Yeah rubbing’s racing, so much so that it gets its own meter.

Customization is limited and pales in comparison to the old EA NASCAR games. Going for the streamlined arcade approach, you can change a few paint jobs, and some minor stats unlocked via money. You can earn money by winning races and unlocking sponsors. Unlocking sponsors is probably the most fun I had with this game. Each sponsor requires certain tasks completed, like winning a number of races, finishing a race undamaged, or damaging every single car on the track. If you have some friends with this title, you can play some online multiplayer. Just don’t expect to see anyone else online… or voice chat.

There are better racing titles out there, but there are also worse. This game has a lot more to offer than “just turning left” and you should consider it if you want a less serious NASCAR title. Plus putting Jeff Gordon into the wall is always fun.

A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Pitting
  • Lack of customization