NASCAR fans are far more prevalent than gamers looking for a NASCAR game, but they are just as vocal in both praise and criticism. NASCAR Heat 2 released last year and while the game improved from its predecessor, it still wasn’t perfect. Well earlier this month, Monster Games and 704Games released their latest NASCAR game with NASCAR Heat 3. Let’s take a look at how it stands up to the previous release.
One big issue with NASCAR games has always been a lack of a solid career mode. NASCAR Heat 2 improved the Career Mode experience by adding the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Trucks Series to the game. Now, Monster Games takes it a step further introducing the fictional Xtreme Dirt Tour. Here is where you start your career picking up “hot seat” starts in anticipation of gaining a full-time seat in the near future. Meeting the team objectives for each “hot seat” start greatly improves your chance for additional rides, and hopefully a full-time ride. The Career Mode has once again deepened in NASCAR Heat 3 with the new option to be a team owner. Here it is your responsibility to maintain not only your driver but mechanics and engineers. Along with personnel, it is your job to ensure your driver has the correct chassis for that week’s race. Selecting the wrong chassis for your driver will cost you a statistical disadvantage for that race. One item in career mode that frustratingly still isn’t available is a way to skip or sim a race during the season. Maybe in next year’s version? One can only hope.
Racing on the track is still a lot of fun. Cars are heavy and don’t spin as easy as they did in previous NASCAR Heat games. This was especially true for me with the new dirt series. I felt like the biggest issue on dirt for me was over acceleration, not spinning out due to bumping other cars. Monster Games this year decided to help novice drivers by providing 7 preconfigured setups for each track ranging from tight setups to loose setups allowing drivers to find a setup that matches the track and their driving style. The rivalry system is back and Twitter comments are also available. Anyone in the mood for a virtual Twitter war between drivers? Those looking for the racing challenges to complete throughout the year can once again enjoy them as they are included and will be updated throughout the season.
Multiplayer in NASCAR Heat 3 has also been improved. You can field full races and if you don’t have enough players to join your race, you can add AI cars which are also improved. AI in the game can be set to a specific value or if you are a novice driver such as myself, it can be set to adaptive like last year. One thing I noticed is that at least on the Steam version, there were very few races to join. However, when racing online, I noticed little lag making the online racing stable. NASCAR Heat 3 can now be used for their new eSports Series. Compete in weekly events on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 to earn a chance to win a trip to the Miami race at the end of the year.
NASCAR Heat 3 Review Final Thoughts:
The graphics in NASCAR Heat 3 are slightly improved but lack the polish that many other recent racing games have added making NASCAR Heat 3 look outdated. As expected, Monster Games will release additional paint schemes throughout the season both as paid DLC and free DLC. NASCAR Heat 3 is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and on Steam for $49.99.
NASCAR Heat 3 on PC
- Addition of a dirt series to the game.
- Option to manage a team instead of just drive.
- Cars seem correctly weighted.
- More car customization options.
- Graphics look outdated by today's standards.
- Dirt racing can be tough.
- Few races available to join in MP.