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NASCAR 21: Ignition Review

NASCAR 21 Ignition 1 (1)

This year was supposed to be a big one for gamers into NASCAR.

With 704Games Company acquired by Motorsport Games, a fresh start was promised. And so here we are with NASCAR 21: Ignition, not Heat 6. There are some pretty big changes, too. It’s been made using the popular Unreal engine, for example, and Studio 397’s rFactor physics engine. It’s just a shame that beyond that, there’s little else to shout about. In fact, anyone coming to NASCAR 21: Ignition from any NASCAR Heat game from the last few years is likely to be very disappointed.

NASCAR 21: Ignition looks a bit better that NASCAR Heat 5, which is to say that it doesn’t look bad but it’s not all that impressive, either. The physics feel genuinely improved, though – at least once you’ve fiddled with the settings and turned things off like the meddlesome steering assist. The problem is, while the core experience of NASCAR 21: Ignition is solid, it feels like a game that’s been gutted in terms of content.

Jump into career mode and you’ll find that you simply select a real world driver and begin racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. There’s no working your way from the bottom, progressing through Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series. You can’t even create your own team, and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that other management features aren’t present either. You simply move from one race to the next, each one prefaced with practice sessions and qualifying. Making sure you meet the requirements of your contract is about as deep as it gets.

Some players might like this more focused experience; some of the managerial aspects of the Heat series were a little bothersome at times. But on the whole, you’d have to be blinkered to view it as anything other than a step-down. As it is, it’s very barebones. Hopefully it will be more developed in next year’s inevitable instalment.

NASCAR 21 Ignition 2 (1)

Outside of career, there’s a quick race mode allowing you to jump into specific races with ease, and an online mode, where numerous playlists allow you to match up with others for some real competition. Aside from that though, there’s very little else to do unless you like creating your own liveries. The new Paint Booth gives you more control than ever over what your car looks like. It’s just a shame that the same attention hasn’t been given to NASCAR 21:Ignition‘s tuning options, which are woefully limited.

It’s hard to recommend NASCAR 21: Ignition, even if you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan. There’s just not enough content here to warrant the price tag, especially considering that the experience at the core of it can be described as decent and nothing more. This is perhaps a good base for Motorsport Games to work from, but until then, you’re better off sticking with the better, and now a lot cheaper, NASCAR Heat 5.

NASCAR 21: Ignition – GameSpew’s Score

This review of NASCAR 21: Ignition is based on the PS4 version (played on PS5), with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!