Polygon was given a hands-on test drive of NASCAR Heat Evolution, the game that marks the return of the old NASCAR developers to the license. Monster Games has a lot to prove after over a decade apart from the franchise, but early signs seem to point to their pulling it off.
The reporter was given a challenge race first — the task of coming out of a restart at Fontana and winning the entire race with five laps to complete. This has been done in real life by NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, so it is possible…but it’s also diabolical. The reporter couldn’t pull it off. All of the challenge races in the game, in fact, are based on real-life events in NASCAR.
Sean Wilson, the game’s executive producer, says the AI has been greatly improved over NASCAR games of the past. Up to this point, the other cars have just driven along a set track, riding on rails and speeding up or braking when appropriate. Your rivals here won’t be so predictable. It’s Monster’s intent that they behave as close to actual racers on a NASCAR track would in real life. “We really wanted a race at Talladega, in our game, to pack up like in real life.”
Brad Keselowski himself is invested in the game and involved in its creation. Heat Evolution contains an expansive career mode, but Brad’s favorite parts are the arcade-style challenge races. “To be able to have something in the game like that is rewarding to me, personally. The challenges segment is a self-reflection of that.”
You can read the full breakdown at Polygon. NASCAR Heat Evolution will be out September 13 for Playstation 4, XBox One and PC.