Hands on NASCAR 2001 (PS2)

Yesterday GameSpot took a trip down to Electronic Arts' headquarters in Redwood City to play NASCAR 2001 for the PlayStation 2.

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While still rather early in its development cycle the game already looks impressive. The models used for the cars are very detailed and look closer to the real life articles than in any previous NASCAR game. Spectacular smoke-effects help set up scenarios similar to those seen in the Days of Thunder movie, and you'll have to decide whether to go high or low as you pass through a blanket of smoke that conceals the exact location of damaged vehicles.

When completed, the developers claim that the game will run at a constant 60 frames per second without any slow down. In its current state, it only had a basic control setting that seemed to be fairly solid. In the final product you'll also be able to choose between several different types of controls, including simulation and arcade.

The producers of the game are shooting to make NASCAR 2001 the most realistic interpretation of the sport of NASCAR racing ever. To do this, EA is spending a great deal of time working on the AI of each racer so that the drivers will react and drive like their real life counterparts. Each driver will be rated in multiple categories such as aggression. Dale Earnhardt takes the turns low into the corner, while Jeff Gordon is smooth and consistent in and out of the turns. Moreover, drivers will perform better on certain tracks than on others, which corresponds with real-life statistics.

Two new features of NASCAR 2001, that have never been offered before, is the fabled Daytona race track and engine fires.

Be sure to check back in a few days for a full-blown preview of NASCAR 2001, complete with new shots and video.

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