One of the most commonly mentioned NASCAR games, NR2003 is best described in one word- top-class
LusterPurge94 wrote this review on .
NR2003 does have some problems, but those aren't enough to give it a bad reputation. It sold very well, and is still very well-praised and popular.
Let us begin with a very appealing aspect of the game- the graphics. I noted in one of my last blog entries that good graphics don't guarantee a good game, but that doesn't mean the graphics are useless. The game looks awesome, and it's hard to beleive that this was 2003. The frame rate is smooth, the cars are detailed, and even the sky, clouds, weather conditions, and shadowing look as close to realistic as a game made in 2003 can be.
The graphics in a NASCAR game are vital, because since NASCAR involves high-action, 200-mph conditions, a smooth frame rate will give the player a more realistic and playable sense.
The only sounds you hear in the car is the roar of the engine, your crew chief and spotter talking, and sometimes the bashing and smashing of cars going every which way. The monotonous roar of the engine constantly doesn't bother me, it just enhances the feel of NASCAR.
The sound effect used for scraping or hitting the wall bothers me, though. It sounds like a light scraping of tin foil against solid steel, even when you bash into the wall at 170 miels per hour, not like a two-ton beast ramming head-on into something.
The controls are my biggest issue with the game. For the record, I don't use arrow keys- I have a steering wheel controller that comes with pedals. Even then, the controls are imbalanced. I suppose that's not worth complaining about too much, because real NASCAR drivers would have to wrestle with their car at times.
But there are different setups for your car, which affects how it will handle, and I find that the transition from even Easy mode to Medium mode is very difficult. Also, there are moments I experienced during a race in which my car will be handling well one lap, then the next lap it starts deciding that it doesn't want to turn, and you have to drive slower.
The opponent strength option is something I have issues with, as well. You can toggle between 70% and 100%, but good luck trying to find a setting that's right for your skill level, because if it's too low you'll end up being about 4 mph faster than the AI, and sometimes this causes you to not be able to stop and crash into everything. But if that setting is too high, it's the other way around- you can't compete with the leaders most of the time, and good luck qualifying well.
But one of the most appealing features of this game is that it has a knockout, crazy awesome multiplayer mode. This mode has a constant chat option enabled, you can play against anyone across the internet on any track, but the only problem is that you can't choose what car you want to be. Most of the time, the game ends up giving you a fake car that's all one solid color with a triple-digit number slapped on the side.
And best of all- you can get updates from Sierra's website, including a CoT mode and a whole bunch of unreal tracks.
That said, here is the criteria I have judged this game on to give it my score of 9.0:
OVERALL: 36 out of 40 (9 out of 10)
In closing, this game has its flaws, but it's still an awesome driving simulator whose upsides cannot be matched.
That's all for now, folks. LusterPurge94 over and out.