Another Lap Around The Track

HIGH Bristol. Always Bristol.

LOW Still not a huge selection of legacy racers.

WTF That pit crew is not social distancing.


Last year, I reviewed NASCAR Heat 4 and was pleasantly surprised. It provided an all-around solid racing experience, even for non-fans like me, so, I was happy to get a chance to take another lap around the track with NASCAR Heat 5. This year’s installment may not be that much different, but it still provides a worthy experience.

Gameplay remains the same. Races begin with practice laps before moving to qualifying laps, and finally to an actual race. Once again, races can be modified to accommodate short sessions or realistic races with full lap counts. If desired, players can also skip the practice and qualifying rounds and jump right to racing.

The same racing series are back this year – the fictional Xtreme Dirt and the real-life Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and the best known NASCAR Cup Series. Seasons and careers can be started at any level, so players can experience all four Cups or jump right to the big time and race through a NASCAR Cup Series career.

There are 34 highly detailed real-life racetracks, plus 5 fictional dirt tracks to race around. Each track is accessible from the beginning, so players with a favorite course won’t need to worry about unlocking it. Controls are still precise and even without a racing wheel, I always felt in control speeding around the curves.

There are some new aspects to with this year’s outing — improved stats, new paint options, an enhanced AI, and even more camera options for zooming around the track. Also new this year, a Testing Mode that allows players to practice on various tracks to perfect their skill without any in-game racing ramifications. These are all decent additions, but most of the finer details will only appeal to the most ardent racing fans.

While they are all well and good, these additions can’t mask the familiarity within NH5 – it’s an excellent racing experience held together with numerous player-friendly gameplay options and superb controls, but anyone who played NASCAR Heat 4 will likely get a feeling of déjà vu.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by 704 Games and published by Motorsport Games. It is currently available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completedA little over 1 hour of play was spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and contains Mild Lyrics. The description from the ESRB is as follows: This is a racing simulation game in which players drive NASCAR vehicles on a variety of real-world tracks. Players can select drivers and compete in game modes that include Career, Championship, and Grand Prix. Some song lyrics contain the word “damn.” 

Colorblind Modes: There no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Most of the game’s information and story mode are delivered via text, but text size cannot be changed. However, commands from the pit crew, giving suggestions and informing the player of other cars during races do not have subtitles. Unfortunately, this game is not fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. The game does support standard controllers as well as racing wheel options.  

Brian Theisen

Brian Theisen

For his tenth birthday, Brian was given the option of receiving a GameBoy or a Game Gear. He chose the GameBoy. No longer were videogames confined to the home PC, he could now squeeze in a quick game on the trip to the store or right before bed. Over twenty-five years later and with two young kids, Brian still needs to squeeze in time for videogames, but now gets to do so on slightly better hardware.


When he does find time to play, Brian’s preferred games of choice are platformers, beat-‘em-ups, or a good adventure game.He still enjoys the retro gaming scene, could talk about the Nintendo 64 more than he might like to admit, and misses playing in actual arcades. Brian also gets to pass on his love of gaming, as his oldest son is just now starting to join the fun.

As for that GameBoy - it’s sitting in Brian’s nightstand, waiting patiently for four AA batteries.
Brian Theisen

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