Saturday, July 27, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 27 - NASCAR Heat 3

On the 27th day of Eric Vs. 365 Eric gave to you'u - NASCAR Heat 3. Eric runs a 52-lap race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and all sorts of shenanigans happen. It makes for a pretty darn exciting race and you'll never believe the ending! Continue reading to find out some more details and watch the thrilling video.

The NASCAR Heat reboot games have steadily gotten better with each release and NASCAR Heat 3 is by far the most competent of the bunch. It has a fully fleshed out feature set with all 3 of the NASCAR national series present and the presentation is fairly solid. The gameplay is also decent as long as you understand that it is an arcade racer and not a NASCAR sim. It took me until this third game to realize that fact and suddenly I was able to be less critical and just have dumb fun driving around in circles. Playing 190-MPH bumper cars definitely has an appeal.

For this video I did a 52-lap race at Charlotte with Hard A.I., strict caution flags, and no damage. I did no damage because it is wildly inconsistent, which isn't fun. Even with strict caution flags the game is also super inconsistent on what actually warrants a caution, but at least they do break up the race now and then. I also set the fuel usage and tire wear to 3x normal, which meant that everyone would have to stop for gas twice, which makes the race interesting.

The thing about NASCAR Heat 3, though, is that nothing ever really goes like it should. The A.I. tends to all pit at the same time regardless of caution timing, so you can get a big advantage by just pitting a couple laps earlier than you really "need" to. I drove from the back to the front and then pitted under caution while everyone else stayed out and then a few laps later they all came in and I took over the lead. My plan was going perfectly.

It was going perfectly until the end of the race, anyway. I was going to run out of gas with a lap or two to go so I came in to pit only to have a caution happen as soon as I was back out on the track. This meant that I was caught a lap down and even though I got the "Lucky Dog" to get my lap back, I still had to line up behind everyone else after they all made their last pit stop during the caution. I got super duper screwed over just due to the inconsistent way cautions are implemented in this game. That anger at the end was genuine. 

Looking back I probably should have just assumed a caution would come out and I'd be able to make it to the end of the race on fuel, but you never know in these games. If it had all played out like it was supposed to - everyone needing to make a stop under green to make it to the end - it would have all cycled around and I would have ended up in first place again. But that didn't happen. That's racing, I guess. And it made for an exciting video. And you probably thought I wouldn't post something if I didn't win, huh?