ORLANDO–EA Tiburon, the development studio behind the best-selling NASCAR game franchise, allowed a select few members of the media to get behind the wheel of the Xbox 360 “NASCAR 08” game. The game, which ships this summer for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, is making its first foray onto the next gen consoles. Although the vast majority of NASCAR fans probably haven’t made the jump to next gen consoles yet, those that have are in for a very realistic ride.
The early build of the game I played only had 16 cars driving on the track, but the final version will have a full field of 43. For online gameplay, PS2 owners get the standard four-player support, while PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers get up to 16 players on the same track. That’s just one of the many differences in the game.
Of course, there will be high definition graphics–and this game looks amazing on an HDTV like the ones EA had set up. But there will also be a lot of cool lighting effects, like the ones gamers experienced in “NCAA Football 07.” As the races take place, the shadows the sun casts will be appropriate for both time of day and time of the year. Watching these races on your TV will be pretty close to watching them live, or in condensed form in HD via Xbox Live Video Marketplace (for Xbox 360 owners).
There’s also a lot more to race in this game, as both the standard stock cars and Car of Tomorrow are included, as well as Busch Series cars and NASCAR Trucks. Each handles differently and every aspect of each vehicle can be fine-tuned.
It’s obvious that EA is getting used to these new consoles, because as a first-effort this blows away past first attempts with games like “Madden NFL 06” and “NBA Live 06.” NASCAR fans are going to have their hands full come July.