Driving a car around an oval track - only ever turning left - may not sound that stimulating, but that doesn't stop NASCAR '14 delivering an exhilarating race experience.
One track, four laps
The demo version only offers a single, four lap race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway. You can pick between any of the teams from the NASCAR '14 race roster, and have total freedom to tweak and tune your car.
However, with only a single track and no saved progression it doesn’t matter how good you are behind the wheel because you will always be starting at the rear of the 43 car pack. This makes winning a real challenge, but does offer some high-velocity-impact thrills as you try and weave your way forward.
A constant pit commentary keeps you aware of your position and surroundings on the track, alerting you to any possible strategies that may gain you an advantage. This only feels a little odd if you are racing as Danica Patrick, as the game seems determined to refer to her as “man” or “buddy”.
From arcade to simulation
Honestly, I am not certain if you are meant to be bumping cars off the road constantly in NASCAR ’14 or not - but if you want to treat this demo like an updated version of Sega's arcade game Daytona USA then that is completely possible.
Turning on all of the game's different racing assists make it feel more arcade than simulation, with your car able to stick to the track while you bump and spin other racers with ease. If you are more of a NASCAR purist however, then you can remove all the assists, tune your car, and recreate the real racing experience, thanks to the game slick racing model.
Start at the back
The beauty of always starting at the back of the grid is that you always begin the race with 42 cars in front of you. Not only does this make for some adrenaline fuelled overtaking action, but it also allows you to enjoy the technical feat of having all the cars on the track at once.
This is especially fortunate as, while the Charlotte Speedway is accurately recreated, NASCAR tracks are not the most visually stimulating race circuits. This is thanks to the vast swathes of track that camber in towards your car, making the whole thing feel like racing around the inside of a grey bowl.
Fun for all racing fans
The NASCAR '14 demo offers a great taste of the game for NASCAR fans who are considering buying it, or a great dip in out arcade like racing game for causal players who want to bounce their way around the oval.
Even if you are not a fan of the sport, but do enjoy the odd racing game, then this demo is well worth a look - who knows, you may even decide to upgrade to the full game.