E3 2003 –
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
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.
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.
2004 is set for release this September.