Nascar Thunder 2004 - XB - Preview
E3 2003 – First Look
EA game developer Tom Goedde stressed NASCAR realism during the demonstration of the latest NASCAR title from EA sports, NASCAR Thunder 2004, and he even got me excited about the pastime of Middle America. With stress on authenticity and on-line play, NASCAR Thunder should be a hit with racers all over the country.
The coolest new features of NASCAR 2004 are the grudges and alliances of drivers. The AI of the computer controlled driver watches the gamer’s driving as if he had a “How’s My Driving?” bumper sticker on his car. A few bumps here and there on a computer-controlled driver, and he may just go after you and spin you out. On the other hand, teammates will also come to your aid and help you out in any way they can. Before the race, racers can see the attitudes the other drivers have towards them, and during the race, spotters in your crew will warn you of oncoming trouble. It’s the unseen hostility of NASCAR (unless it’s Tony Stewart punching someone in the face after a race) that spectators rarely get a glimpse of.
Additions to this year’s version include all the Winston Cup Drivers (for the first time in a NASCAR game), over 60 events (including 12 road courses and 4 fantasy courses), and a reworked career mode. Graphically, the particle lighting has been improved making it one of the better-looking racers out there.
The on-line features for the PC and Playstation 2 versions should keep the competition fresh. PS2 racers can drive head-to-head with up to 28 CPU cars and PC users can race against 15 other drivers simultaneously.
NASCAR Thunder 2004 is set for release this September.