NASCAR Unleashed – video game review

I want to introduce you to  ANOTHER featured writer for Tech4Moms… my husband Hubby!  He’s the gamer in this house, so it’s only right that he say what he really thinks about these games….

Have you ever wondered why there are video games that have certain franchise name slapped all over it, and then you pop in the game and instantly realize it’s about as far from the well-known franchise that is on the cover of the game?

Well, NASCAR Unleashed is that game.

Before the South rises again, allow me to explain.

If you are interested in them dang ol’ circle racin’ games NASCAR fans have grown to love, then this isn’t the game for you. However, if you are a fan of straight-up simulation racing, mixed with a little crashin’ n bashin’, then I might have a winner for you!
When it comes to the NASCAR brand, about 3 states east of Texas will tell you that the authenticity of this game is only included in the official tracks and drivers.

Drivers like Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon.

NASCAR Unleashed does a great job of bringing the arcade racer into your home. Even though they are clearly targeting younger gamers, I really had fun playing it. It puts you right into the action, with minimal setting up or instructions. The game is quite simple. The first level puts you right on the standard circle track that anybody would recognize. At first glance, one would think that this game is going to live up to the NASCAR licensing. The controls are very fluid, and I found it easy to steer my car. And by steering, I mean keeping my car steady while slightly turning left. I placed 1st, and continued to the next course.

While finishing the race, I noticed that I had earned 3 trophies on my PlayStation 3. Now, to the general population, this means nothing.  To the seasoned gamer, PS3 Trophies or Achievements on the Xbox 360 mean you have done something that required a bit more skill or meant you did something in a unique way that you wouldn’t normally do during your gameplay. After about an hour of gameplay, I have 20 trophies unlocked. While this can seem awesome to most people, it seemed that NASCAR Unleashed needed to give away some stock-piled trophies.

You can unlock different achievements or trophies by accomplishing certain bonuses during the race. Your “announcer” will tell you what do when one pops up on the right side of your screen. For example, a standard bonus is to make a Rival during the race. The easiest way to accomplish that is to pick out any driver in front of you and give him a good rubbin’. Yep. “Rubbin’ is racin’” as you are told time and time again. Rubbing is the fancy way of saying its ok to beat the crap outta that car in front of you with your car. If you accomplish the bonus, you are praised with encouraging words from the announcer and you earn bonus driver points. However, if you fail a task, the announcer quickly turns on you. It gets really annoying, and if I didn’t think so highly of myself, I might get frustrated at the things he says to me.

Anyway, after the first race, the game takes off into an entirely new direction from the standard circle track. From here on out, you have tracks that cut through neighborhoods, streams, bridges, forests, beaches, and on occasion, has large ramps for you to fly off of. As the game progresses, your rivals get more and more aggressive towards you and the tracks include more twists and curves. Even for the seasoned gamer that is looking for a fun challenge, this can be frustrating. I’m thinking of the inexperienced young gamer who will most certainly want to give up playing this game if the opponents are being jerks and smashing up his ride. Luckily, NASCAR Unleashed offers you the choice of difficulty.

NASCAR Unleashed does a great job of mixing up the standard simulation racer with the over-the-top style of action racers. Even though I think that NASCAR Unleashed will cater to gamers of all ages, I would highly recommend it to younger gamers that aren’t familiar with racing games or if parents want a good E-rated game for their kids.

If you live in the Miami Beach area Activision is holding an event called Battle of the NASCAR Kids, this weekend (November 19th) Find out more information at

Disclosure: we were sent one copy of NASCAR Unleashed for the PS3 to facilitate the review, but all thoughts are my husband’s.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website


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