In part two of our series on what recent NASCAR video games have gotten right and wrong, we take a look at the last two NASCAR video games Eutechnyx released, NASCAR 14 and NASCAR 15. Now, yes that is two games, but, NASCAR 15 is the exact same game as NASCAR 14 with an updated driver roster. Therefore, both are included in this list. Let’s take a look at what NASCAR 14 and NASCAR 15 got right and wrong.
A Look at Its Predecessor
We already talked about NASCAR The Game: Inside Line in the first part of this series, and that was the game that came out before this one. For a more in-depth analysis of the game, here is the first part of this series.
While NASCAR The Game: Inside Line was praised for its’ good driving model, and it had a decent online community, the game was not perfect. The AI was not great at all, and the career mode, while improved, lacked depth. People were excited for a new NASCAR game to come out in 2013…..
Well, NASCAR The Game 2013 did come out, but it was a PC re-skin of Inside Line with 2013 drivers including the Generation 6 cars. Those cars were already included in Inside Line via DLC, so, it was a worthless game unless you were a die-hard NASCAR fan who only played PC games. Finally, in February of 2014 just in time for the Daytona 500, NASCAR gamers got a brand new console NASCAR game, NASCAR 14.
What NASCAR 14 Got Right
Whatever Inside Line Got Right, It was Kept or Expanded Upon
NASCAR 14 is very similar to NASCAR The Game: Inside Line, so the developers thought, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The menus, the graphics, and the paint booth all remain relatively similar to the previous game. Why would they change it as these were all positive aspects of the previous game?
The career mode is similar to the previous game, but it is slightly more fleshed out. While there is still a similar basic car upgrade system from the previous game, it is expanded a bit. There is also a similar driving model and tire wear system as the previous game.
The AI in this game was also marketed as tougher than in the previous game. Were they really that much tougher? Probably not, but they do race quite wild, particularly at superspeedway tracks. However, there are not a lot of new features in this game, and, that is the crux of the problem.
What NASCAR 14 Got Wrong
Not Enough New Features
This video game really is very similar to NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. There is no lower-tier series, which were included in the EA Sports NASCAR games. As a result, there is no true fight to the top or “Dirt to Daytona” style career mode option in it.
Buy and large, if you have played NASCAR The Game: Inside Line, NASCAR 14 does not do a lot different. They are not necessarily copying and pasting with updated drivers, but it is obvious that Eutcehnyx took a lot of the cues from the previous game. There are some slight improvements made, but there are no game-selling new features. However, that was the least of their problems when this game came out.
Was Not Updated to NASCAR When it Came Out
This game came out at an inopportune time for Eutechnyx. The 2014 season was a complete revamp for NASCAR. Instead of the 12 driver Chase, there were now 16 drivers, win and you’re in, knockout style Chase. On top of that, qualifying was changing to knockout-style qualifying from single-car qualifying.
Eutchnyx did not have enough time to fix this by the time the game came out. As a result, the game was already outdated by the time it hit store shelves. Eutechnyx promised to fix this with a patch, and, well, that patch was a complete failure.
Not Released on Next-Gen Consoles
This game was released in February of 2014, but it came out on the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3. Yes, Eutechnyx skipped out on the eighth console generation even though those consoles were released four months before this game came out. This was a head-scratching move at the time, and it still does not make much sense now.
It probably played a large role in why there were not many improvements to this game. It was on old hardware, and that meant that Eutechnyx was limited in what it could do. Then again, many features people were asking for were in older games on older hardware.
The Infamous Patch
The patch Eutechnyx put out to update the game was a failure. Instead of a 16 driver Chase, there were 26 drivers in the Chase. Not only that but there were all sorts of game-breaking bugs and glitches introduced into the game. It was a complete failure, and it even went into online modes as well
The game was so broken after the patch that leagues such as NORC had to move back to Inside Line to continue their league races. Soon afterward, Eutechnyx no longer held the NASCAR license.
The backlash from this patch going wrong and the general backlash from the community regarding the last three NASCAR games forced the license elsewhere. Eventually, in January 2015, DMI, now known as 704 Games, acquired the NASCAR video game license. Thus, the Eutechnyx era of NASCAR games came to an abrupt end, sort of.
In order to release something before DMI could work on the next video game, NASCAR 15 was released as a copy and paste of NASCAR 14 with updated driver rosters. The bugs were fixed, but the damage was done.
These two games hold an interesting place in NASCAR’s video game history. They both played a part in where NASCAR video games are today, but they also were the last games in the Eutechnyx era of NASCAR video games. They have a complicated legacy, and that is probably why fewer people talk about these games than others.