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    Fan Driggers's Avatar
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    Gamertag: Guy Driggers

    My experiences with NTG11

    (Forgive me if I ramble or trail off in certain points of this review, I've been up all night. :P)

    Being that it's been two years since the last NASCAR game, I was chomping at the bit to get this game. And I'll be honest, at first I was disappointed, but after having some time to play through career and see what kind of upgrades the patch made to the AI, combined with the awesome physics, I have to say Eutechnyx, you guys did a great job in your first go around with NASCAR.

    I'm one of those guys who likes to race online, but that's not what I'm doing most of the time. I'm very seldom online, except to race, because my computer shares my internet connection with my Xbox, and I have to unplug the ethernet cord from my computer and into my Xbox anytime I want to get on XBL One thing I hated about NASCAR 09 was that you HAD to be online in order to practice and tune your setup properly (thanks to the Performance Points glitch at release.) So, being able to work on my setup without people annoying me or having to disconnect my computer from the internet is a big plus.

    If my understanding is correct that Richard Towler came up with the default car setups, give him my regards because every track I've gone to in career has been accessible thanks to his setups. Not all of them suit my driving style, and I intend to tweak on them, but the majority of them have been a pleasure to drive. As I mentioned above, the physics are amazing. Even running Infineon without assists, while frustrating to get the hang of, is extremely fun and challenging - particularly in race conditions.

    While I'm on the subject of setups, the lack of tire temps confused the heck out of me. That's an integral part to setting up a car. Mind you, the advanced options are extremely comprehensive, and even the tiniest adjustments are helpful, but tire temperatures are absolutely critical to creating good setups.

    Career mode by itself is pretty meager. I was hoping for statistics similar to what NASCAR Thunder had (what with ROTY and manu. points, Silly Season, etc.) and the lack of these things was a bit of a letdown, but, again, the racing more than made up for that. In the future, I'd like to see a stronger, more robust set of options for career mode.

    There's some things I don't like about the racing though.

    One, as I'm sure you've probably heard screamed from the heights of Mount Everest, is the fickle nature of caution flags. I usually fall back on the Rewind feature to avoid having to deal with the shot-in-the-dark caution flags, but when those are exhausted, if I'm going to wreck, I want to see a caution come out.

    Second, the AI. The patch did wonders for the computer-controlled cars, but it feels to me like, at some tracks, they're downright brutal, and at others, they're easy as pie. New Hampshire comes to mind. The AI remained on the bottom, nose to tail, single file, and didn't jockey for position the way they did at Daytona, the following race. At Daytona, they were going three, sometimes even four wide, and I'll be honest with you, the racing at Daytona, starting from the back, is only outmatched in intensity by some of the online races I've been in on NASCAR 09. It is extremely, extremely impressive to see the computer drafting together, dogging each other for position, and actually racing. That said, the AI at certain tracks needs to be beefed up. I'd recommend all of them to be honest. Still, the AI is fun to race with, and if more upgrades to it are made in future patches, I only see good things in store for the quality of the offline racing.

    Damage is something else that irked me a little. I've smacked the wall a lot at certain tracks, and though after a few good hits to the right front the tire will blow out, other damage doesn't make my car undriveable or, for that matter, feel heavily damaged. There's been this feeling that, while my car looks like it just emerged as the winner of a demo derby, it's still very capable of gaining positions, and more often than not, I do wind up picking off a few cars after a wreck. So, if there's a patch, I'd ask that you strengthen the damage physics.

    I'd get on the subject of pit stops, but I've never had to pit under green (most of my races are short) and so I can't adequately express my likes or dislikes with it. I will say though that the crew in the cutscene seems a bit...slow. I've also heard that the AI shoots up the track after pitting under green - so obviously that's another thing that needs fixing.

    Paint booth was interesting...I'm not sure I like it, but I'm not sure I don't, either. There's a lot of potential there, but it leaves a lot to be desired in its current state. I was hoping for official team numbers (layered decals preferably, so I could change the colors of the drop shadows, outlines, main colors, etc.) as well as a multitude of fonts, but I was rather disappointed in the lack of these things. On top of that, no manufacturer decals, to be frank, is unacceptable.

    I did, however, like the "seamless" way we could apply decals and graphics to the car. It takes some getting used to, but there's a lot more that can be done with a seamless scheme creator that one that's split into sections like with Forza. I'd ask in future iterations of it for a "copy-to-opposite-side" option so we don't have to transfer graphics by hand. That can be a chore, especially if the graphics are skewed and stretched in a certain way.

    For custom numbers, I'd like to see an outline and drop shadow option. In truth, if you look at some of the options and features of Photoshop, and applied those to decal, logo, and graphic creation in the paint booth, you'd be golden.

    I'm an Xbox 360 user, so when I was told Photo Mode would not allow us to upload photos to share with friends, that was a huge hit as well. I really enjoy using Photo Mode and I think I've got quite the knack for capturing my racing experiences. It's a shame I can't upload it - hopefully there'll be a patch that fixes this, but if not, PLEASE make it possible for us to upload it in future releases.

    A couple of minor things I noticed: post-race celebrations, specifically those when the driver is getting out of their car, are really...quiet. I'd like to hear more cheering in these sequences. I'd also like to see them extended a bit longer, and different celebrations wouldn't hurt either.

    Also, I don't know how many drivers this is, and maybe it's just me, but the person who is supposed to be Martin Truex Jr...looks nothing like Martin Truex Jr. I honestly thought it was Jamie Mac (he's my driver for Career) after he popped out after I won a single player race. There's also a Dale Earnhardt Inc. logo on the auxiliary switch panel in his car's cockpit. I can overlook it but man, when I won with Truex, I was expecting him to start celebrating and then I was like "Holy crap, it's Jamie Mac in a NAPA firesuit!"

    Overall, I enjoy this game very much. Despite its flaws, and there are many, I sincerely believe this game is one of the best NASCAR games I've played. The presentation and racing experience is second to none. What I've written here is merely my experience with the game, and I know I'll want to add things to it later, but yeah...this should cover all the major issues.

    Once again, everyone at Eutechnyx, you guys did a great job with this game. Keep at fine tuning this game. It's a good feeling knowing the future of NASCAR gaming is in good hands.
    Last edited by Driggers; 31-03-2011 at 12:51 PM.
    Driver, #1 Bass Pro Shops / McDonald's Chevrolet
    Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
    RCRL Sprint Cup Series

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