[NOTE: This is a review in progress. I am initially disappointed, but I am looking for positives and will be editing this throughout the week as well as adding graphics and video. So please do not take this as a final representation. Also, the scoring will be based on the game itself and not by comparing it to the previous version.] If you’ve never played the NASCAR Heat series and have been wanting to try it, then you should pick up a copy of the new NASCAR Heat 5. If you already have 4, then I would wait until the price drops.
Yeah, they threw in a practice mode and some extra viewpoints and updated the roster, but does that really justify a whole new game rather than an update or some DLC? Especially at $50.The game feels incomplete. The track loading screens have been replaced by a single Fanatec advertisement. Some of the dates shown on some track pages are from earlier this year giving the impression that the game is outdated before it was even released. The simple solution is to delete those dates. You could put in 2021 dates, but we don’t really know how all of that is going to go with the pandemic.
Graphics may be slightly improved, according to some of the reviews I read, but they’re barely noticeable if you’re playing on a plain-jane Xbox One. The only thing I can really notice is some improved lighting effects. They added a second, third-person view of the car which is actually pretty decent. If you wanted to record wrecks, then this is the camera view you want.
It is difficult to review this game without trying to compare it to 4. I just purchased 4 in late March and have completed over 400 online races and about 100 career-mode ones since then. It was not beneficial to me to purchase 5 as I could just keep playing 4. My main motivation for purchasing 5 at release is to be ready to try and qualify for the pro races. However, I believe that’s next year because the current season is already under way.
The Bottom Line: If you don’t own 4, wait for the price to drop to the $30 – $40 range and buy it. If you do own 4, you probably don’t want this until people just stop racing online in that version.