By Isaiah Soto
NASCAR Heat 5 Gold Edition let me race into a new world of Motorsports. I’m no crazy race car fan, even though I do watch the competitions on TV sometimes. But this game, published by Motorsports Games, got to me. I have to admit I haven’t played every game in the series. Actually, I’m still too young to drive, even though I have done my time with go karts at real life theme parks. So racing like this made me feel like a professional driver. Here’s the breakdown.
When you load the game, you can play online or local, whichever you prefer. For me, I like to play the single player game first and then go into online play to see how good I’ve become. You have to do your training first or else you’ll be killed online. It took awhile for me to finish the ins and outs, but I finally did. The thing is, because this is a simulation, the way how you control your car is kinda hard at first. Much of the time you’re getting your car fixed or tuning it. So it’s not Mario Kart, if you know what I mean. You have to just get used to the fact you’re driving a real race car and doing the things a race car driver and team would do; that’s pretty much the main thing.
Anyways, you have to drive in circles, but you have some music to play. So you’re not bored the whole time: it is kinda boring when you’re just driving in circles. But you’re trying to win first place, and that’s the goal. You also can change and adapt your controls, which is cool: I like games that let me play my way. Also, you can change your camera angles to 3rd person or 1st person. There are 34 tracks and you can race with up to 40 racers online, too.
Because I love music so much, this actually was the best part of the game just because the songs make you feel welcomed as soon as you start the game. You hear multiple types of music: country, hip hop, pop music and to me it made me feel inside the experience, especially when I kept on trying to give up. The soundtrack isn’t large, less than 12 songs. But it’s almost enough to make me feel energized.
The artwork looks very realistic like I’m in the game, especially when I’m in first person. For me, in online play it’s even better. The colors and textures feel right and bright as a day at the race. I was able to change the brightness to very vibrant colors. You also get special Tony Stewart paint schemes. The look of the game helped to keep me going even when I felt I was spending too much time getting used to driving – because it was challenging at the start. But you have to keep on going to see the wonders of the game.
Travel In Style:
Honestly, a lot of NASCAR is racing in circles. But it’s the fast cars and the travel to other places that gets to me. I mean, I do travel and leave the Lower East Side to places like Florida and North Carolina for vacations and to see relatives. But I love to travel in NASCAR. You’re driving your sick new race car and seeing the country at same time. Even driving a blue Toyota, Ford or Audi that I customized myself made beating the famous competition something I did in style. And even though I could go from city to city, I would say the Daytona 500 was the best place to race because I feel like that legendary race Daytona International Speedway offered the best competition. I looked it up and I wish they would still do some racing on Daytona Beach – old school!
In the end, my take on these many raceways of motorsports is that at the start it actually kinda difficult because the controls are confusing and actually frustrating to play. It took a second (well, more than that) and I started blowing away the competition of A.I. But in online play I got beaten multiple times. Beaten or not, it’s exciting! So NASCAR Heat 5 Gold Edition is going in my top 100 games of all time.
Teen writer Isaiah Soto is a member of our Lower East Side Videogame Critics Circle. He attends Pace High School.