Autosport (UK)

What’s on this week

- JUSTIN MELILLO

Prior to the launch of the Superstar Racing Experience Series last week, an officially licensed video game was released to coincide with the new category’s inaugural season.

SRX is based in the US and is headed by long-time NASCAR team owner and championsh­ipwinning crew chief Ray Evernham, alongside three-time NASCAR

Cup champion Tony Stewart.

SRX: The Game, created by Monster Games and available on Playstatio­n 4, Xbox One and

PC, shares many aspects with Stewart’s All-american Racing released last year, while also bringing a brand-new series and race car into the homes of gamers.

In an effort to hype up the new series, SRX: The Game puts the player into a career mode where they can progress through the dirt ranks, utilising a 305

Wingless Midget to start, before moving up to stadium trucks, a dirt late model and finally graduating into the SRX Series.

Drivers such as Stewart, fourtime Indianapol­is 500 winner

Helio Castroneve­s and two-time Daytona 500 winner Bill Elliott are a part of the season, and therefore the game. Players can choose to pilot one of the Superstars’ cars or create their own. While a fully customised paint scheme is out of the question, the ability to pinpoint colours, textures and logo/number size, rotation and placement, mean uniquely styled vehicles are achievable.

As far as race car optimisati­on goes, it’s akin to EA Sports’ NASCAR Thunder 2004 in many ways. The car has a rating that’s based on the different custom parts being used. They each have a performanc­e and durability level, so cheaper parts that perform well will tend to cost more to maintain. There are multiple part levels based on the shop status, and damaged parts will slow down the race car. This delivers an added level of immersion.

While this is an officially licensed game, surprising­ly a lot of the content is fictional.

In fact, most of the included tracks don’t actually exist, but they are fun to drive. However the real content, mainly the six tracks on the SRX schedule, could have been executed better. In testing at Lucas Oil, it felt like the track was oversized. Nashville Fairground­s looked acceptable visually, but the

SRX car seemed to have way too much grip even with all driving aids removed.

The 305 Wingless Midget felt manageable and fun to drive. The stadium trucks felt like tanks ready for war. And the dirt late model was very twitchy. Overall, this writer doesn’t think any real-life drivers will be plugging in to get any real feeling. Realistic this is not, but it can still be enjoyable.

If anything, an SRX DLC pack would have sufficed as an add-on

to the existing Tony Stewart’s All-american Racing, but it’s understand­able that SRX and Monster Games will likely profit more and promote the series more effectivel­y with a new release. People who own both games might be cursing, however.

American broadcaste­r Allen Bestwick’s voiceovers plus accurate sounds from the cars are both fantastic. Having a full replay to rewind is refreshing, unlike other efforts by Monster Games where you are forced to watch highlights that the game thought worthwhile, such as the initial start in five different camera angles. The replay now allows for some decent in-game photograph­y, too.

SRX: The Game is a great introducti­on for gamers and fans to learn about the real-life Superstar Racing Experience.

For those who are unlikely to care about SRX, though, you can get a very similar experience from any previous NASCAR

Heat or Tony Stewart game.

 ??  ?? Career mode takes players up through the dirt ranks before graduating to the SRX Series
Career mode takes players up through the dirt ranks before graduating to the SRX Series
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 ??  ?? Stewart has fingers in real-life SRX and virtual-racing pies
Stewart has fingers in real-life SRX and virtual-racing pies

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