E3 2003: NASCAR Thunder 2004 Hands-On Impressions
NASCAR Thunder 2004 has been around on the PS2 for a few years now, but hasnít quite received the attention EA desires. Although there is a steady fan base for NASCAR racing, it seems like the sport in videogame format just doesnít quite attract a crowd. Even though EAís titles have scored quite well over the years in terms of review, gamers still seem somewhat unenthusiastic about the style of gameplay. NASCAR Thunder 2004 hopes to rejuvenate the racing series and has added numerous features to enhance the experience. First off, EA is strongly promoting its rivals and alliance system, which directly impacts how you drive and what actions will take place due to your racing style. I personally think this is an excellent idea, as computer drivers will now target you if you just decide to completely ram them into the wall. On the other side, by driving on teams with other racers, you will gain alliance that will become useful for future racing.
Graphically, NASCAR Thunder 2004 is quite detailed with excellent frame rate, considering the number of vehicles on screen at once. The game controls well and nicely simulates the atmosphere of NASCAR racing. The reckless driving style you may have become familiar with will not provide success in Thunder 2004; however, that is not to say that crashes arenít as cool as ever. EA boasts improved crash animation and overall action concerning collisions. Although this may not be a part of the sport that EA hopes to encourage, it is definitely one of the fan favorites while playing. Overall, I was very pleased with NASCAR Thunder 2004 and expect it to be a success when released. Whether it receives the attention it deserves is yet to be determined, but fans of NASCAR can rest assured that they have an excellent game to call their own.
5/24/2003 Matt Stensrud