|System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii|
|Release: March 29, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Language|
That's about where all the praise for the game ends. As much as I enjoy weaving through giant packs of traffic in every track, that's not how things work in the sport, and the lack of any caution flags, unless I'm facing the opposite direction for several seconds, really punishes me for getting into an accident, regardless of whether or not it was my fault. The game's tendency to destroy any and all progress you've made through the course race is one of the biggest turn-offs I've ever come across. In a game that clearly touts itself as the most realistic NASCAR experience ever, it's flat out inexcusable to overlook this detail.
So, let's say that you want to take out some frustration and race human drivers online. You have the option to race against up to fifteen other drivers at any NASCAR track…supposedly. Out of the 50+ lobbies I entered, maybe a fifth of them actually ever got to the track, thanks to loading screen freezes and random lobby drops. Half of those races didn't even work probably, due to bugs that caused my car to face head first into a wall, or not even move at all. Finally, the races I did actually compete in weren't the same as they were in the NASCAR season. The frenzy of racing against forty-two other drivers was gone, and it was replaced with a ho-hum experience of only about six other drivers, most of which didn't even last the entire race.
NASCAR The Game 2011 isn't all too much to look at. The graphics aren't bad, per se, but they're not good either; they're average. Crowd models appear to be flat and two-dimensional, and the loading screens/garage menus look incredibly dated. Things don't get much better for the game's audio: commentary is an afterthought, as you'll hear some small talk before the race and that's about it. No in-game commentary, or even a soundtrack to listen to; all you get is the hum of your car, adding to a really poor polishing job.
Deep between all of its issues, there's a successful core to NASCAR 2011. The idea of combining an arcade feel to a sport sim is one that could work really well in this case, but the game's bugs, errors, and lack of realism bring it down far too much to be enjoyed. It's almost as if the game was rushed out to meet the start of the NASCAR season, which is already a month old as of this writing. Should Activision bring NASCAR back for another lap next year, we could have a really good game on our hands. As for now, it's extremely avoidable, to say the least.
CCC Freelance Writer