The powerhouse that is EA Sports brings us the latest instalment in the Nascar series. But is it worth a look in? We start our engines and find out.



Nascar doesn’t mean much to those outside North America, especially if you have never see Days of Thunder. For those not familiar with this branch of motor racing, it mostly involves driving laps of an oval track with banked corners. And that is pretty much what you get in the game, which doesn’t give you much to work with.

Ok, so this is a simulator, so essentially this game is about learning the driving skills that matter to a Nascar racer – luckily the game helps you in this regard, but it is worth noting that even with all the assistance, this is no jolly. Concentration and precision movements are the name of the game, and if you are not really that enamoured with the concept of driving laps ad nauseum then this is a non-starter.

Graphically, yes, this is presented in glorious HD (but not to 1080p) on the PS3 in Dolby Digital etc, etc, but we found it difficult to get past the tedium of actually playing the game. Trying to break out and hit a relatively normal bendy track (which you can do) only reinforces just how serious this game is about being a sim – you just can’t turn the corners and unless you have the patience of a saint, you’ll be flogging this on eBay before you can say Daytona.

Of course there is a caveat, namely, that this is the next-gen version, so any upgraders who loved the PS2 version will be keen to see the graphics in 720p. Of course, this is the full licensed version, so you get all the drivers, cars and sponsors that you’d expect to see.

There are some fancy features – the online racing, which you’ll need as there is no 2 player option; you can also use the SIXAXIS for precision controlling, although many might find this too distracting and prefer to stick to regular controls. Ok, the ESPN voiceovers make this fantastically American but don't substitute the poor gameplay.

Verdict

Nascar 2008 is a poor racing sim overall, it just doesn’t feel right and considering how much this next-gen version might set you back, it’s not worth the outlay. EA do some great sports games – this isn’t one of them.