Since quarantine began, I’ve seen a few NASCAR races thanks to my brother-in-law who has been staying with us. Admittedly, I’m haven’t watched a lot of NASCAR, but I’ve grown to appreciate it over the last few months. So with the release of NASCAR Heat 5 by 704 Games, I got a chance to immerse myself in that high-speed world for a bit, and it turned out to be pretty darn enjoyable.
704 Games’ NASCAR Heat 5 is a racing sim that really captures the bright lights and furious action of a motor speedway. The tracks look great, the lighting makes everything on the track pop and the controls feel good. I don’t have a steering wheel setup though, and I’ve been told that using that would take this experience to a whole new level. Still, I had a fun time playing through this game’s multiple modes.
A great feature of this game is the quick race, which lets you jump into a race and play around with your configurations, setup and more. You can save these and take them with you into online races, career mode and more, which is helpful in fine-tuning your car and getting it race-ready. It was nice to be able to get a feel for the cars and tracks before jumping into other modes.
As I do in most games, I spent the majority of my time in career mode, which lets you start out in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, then the Xfinity series and finally the Cup series. You can customize your cars, including paint, decals and more, though the customization options did seem a bit limited. Though maybe that’s a NASCAR thing, I’m not too sure. The really neat part for me was the option to either compete as a driver or a team owner. You gave the option of either joining a team or starting your own, each with its own set of challenges. If you’ve read my MLB The Show reviews, think of it as the difference between Be a Pro mode and GM mode – one will have you focused on your own personal goals, stats and achievements, and the other has you managing staff, purchasing cars, securing funding and, of course, winning races. It gets addictive really quickly, and I have to say that while I don’t really like the GM mode in MLB, I really dug this mode in Nascar.
One area that the career mode – and the rest of the game for that matter – didn’t stack up in was the presentation. Maybe it’s just quarantine amplifying my need for social interaction, but as there is no commentary in this game – which I guess is true to the way you’d hear it if you were, in fact, driving in a race – it just felt a bit isolated. You do get the occasional advice in your ear from your team though which is nice, but the whole experience feels a little lonely.
To remedy that, there is an online mode as well, and after jumping into that for a race or two it was painfully obvious that I’m not going to be climbing the leader board there any time soon. I also experienced some glitches and stuttering, which were annoying at times, but that could have been just my setup. There are also online challenges to beat each week, which add some fun things to do in between tackling your career and tweaking your settings.
Overall, NASCAR Heat 5 will quench that racing thirst for anyone who is looking for some fast-paced, NASCAR action. The game looks great, plays well and the career mode is a fun way to experience all that NASCAR has to offer. If you’re a racing fan, be sure to check it out! As always, if you’ve played it, let us know what you think in the comments below.