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NASCAR 21: Ignition

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NASCAR 21: Ignition
NASCAR 21 Ignition.jpg
Ignition... failure?
Genre(s): Racing
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X and Series S
Nintendo Switch
Release: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
October 27, 2021

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
June 23, 2022[1]
Nintendo Switch
Fall 2022
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Developer(s): Motorsport Games
Publisher(s): Motorsport Games
Series: NASCAR
Predecessor: NASCAR Heat 5

NASCAR 21: Ignition is a racing video game developed and released by Motorsport Games (the gaming division of Motorsport Network, a company that runs auto racing and automotive news websites) based on the 2021 season of the NASCAR Cup Series. It was released on October 27, 2021.

NASCAR 21: Ignition combines the physics engine of rFactor 2, a simracing platform developed by Studio 397 (purchased by Motorsport Games in 2020) with Unreal Engine 4.

Why It's More Cursed Than Talladega

  1. The game is generally loaded with glitches. Notable ones (most of these are fixed in the Patch 2):
    • If there is an on-track crash, AI opponents may not attempt to avoid or escape them leading to a massive pile-up. The game does not call for caution (yellow flag) either in any case.
    • It is possible to suddenly enter a pit stop cutscene loop even if the player did not enter the pits, which could last for hours before the game crashes
    • The spotter radio is repetitive; it could repeat the same call repeatedly, over and over.
    • Glitchy track limit enforcement: Normally, on oval tracks, track limits only exist on the plate superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega); even then, the inclusion of the so-called "yellow line rule" is a controversial topic in NASCAR. However, in this game, it appears that the yellow line rule extends to even all non-plate superspeedway tracks, as even going below the dashed line at Darlington or into the apron (unbanked road) at the dogleg section of Phoenix International Raceway (a perfectly legal area that NASCAR drivers actually use) will result in a track limit violation. Meanwhile, on road courses, even having one wheel go inside the rumble strip will be considered as a violation of track limits.
    • Steering assists cannot be properly disabled; the player could feel it even when disabled.
  2. The track limit enforcement, as mentioned above, cannot be adjusted independently of cautions (yellow flags) setting.
  3. Even if the steering assist could be disabled (as of Patch 2), the car feels too hard to control with the assist disabled, even by NASCAR standards. This makes road course races even harder to play.
  4. Car settings are way simplified compared to previous games, with just a slider determining how loose or tight the car wants to be set.
  5. Track maps are once again missing, an issue that was also in NASCAR Heat Evolution.
  6. Although there is a paint booth, custom paint schemes cannot be shared online, nor they can be used in online races.
  7. Lap count is only shown only after the race starts; there is no way to know this beforehand.
  8. Stages, a NASCAR rule introduced in 2017 that segments races into three parts (four at Charlotte Motor Speedway's oval race) and gives bonus points for top drivers who leads the final lap of each segment, is not in the game at all, at least until the upcoming 1.4.0.0 patch. (However, it is worth noting that stage racing is also a divisive matter within the sport's fan community; this feature, while featured in the Heat series, could be disabled at player's whim.)
  9. There is no display indicating the state of your fuel and/or tires. Rear view mirrors are also missing.
  10. Lower series (the second-tier Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series) are absent yet again.
  11. It being based on the rFactor/gMotor engine is actually a bad thing considering the history of stock car games based on the engine (such as the PC versions of NASCAR Thunder 2003 and NASCAR Thunder 2004, as well as NASCAR SimRacing) did not fare well in the market and were plagued with AI and physics issues that exposed that the engine was designed for road racing in mind.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The Cup Series roster and tracks is complete and mostly up-to-date.
  2. The all-new paint booth feature allows for a greater creativity for creating custom paint schemes/liveries, compared to what Heat series had.
  3. Bill Elliott, NASCAR's perennial Most Popular Driver award winner, is featured as the game's legend driver. There are also new legend drivers added to the game such as Darrell Waltrip and Matt Kenseth.
  4. Graphics matches the standard of the system generation it comes out, with the help of the Unreal Engine 4.
  5. The spotter feature features subtitles.

Reception

Critical reviews ranged from average to negative, with GamingBolt giving the game a 6 and Operation Sports openly comparing it to Cyberpunk 2077. Justin Melillo, a Traxion.gg contributor (a Motorsport Network/Games owned website; the article carried a disclosure about the relationship) described the game as "shows promise, but feels unfinished".

Many in the NASCAR community were also generally not happy with how the game turned out.

Videos

References

Comments

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