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While NASCAR Heat 2002 isn’t the kind of game that will appeal to everyone (if you absolutely hate oval-track racing, you probably won’t like this game either), its diverse feature set, pleasing graphics and entertaining gameplay should satisfy hard-core NASCAR fans and casual gamers alike. The Championship and Beat the Heat modes alone provide an extraordinary level of replay. Yes, there’s still of room for improvement -- hopefully next year’s version will come complete with a more accurate damage model and a create-a-car option. With the magnificent GT3: A-Spec looking over its shoulders, it could become even easier to pass this game up. But as far as this reviewer is concerned, that would be a huge mistake.
Armchair Empire, The
All in all, NASCAR Heat 2002 is a great racing game that any NASCAR enthusiast will be happy to own.
Game Informer Magazine
NASCAR Heat also includes a Championship, Single Race, and Head to Head mode for you to master. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing NASCAR Heat, as the control is immaculate. I was astounded by the realism that its smooth handling brought to the game. I could fly three-wide into a turn and have complete confidence in my ability to come within inches of my competitors and escape without a scratch. However, I think Monster Games missed some of the fun things that are found in EA’s game – like pit stops in shorter races.
Overall, this was, up until the mighty GT3, my favorite racing title. Make no doubt; I'll be back to work my way up into the stock car rankings soon. This is easily a title no fan of the sport will want to be without. And it may very well make you a fan in the meantime.
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault)
With a touch more spit and polish, NASCAR Heat 2002 could have been an amazing game. Unfortunately, it is held back from greatness by a few graphical shortcomings, a thoroughly uncreative sound track and a bland two-player mode. While not absolutely jaw dropping, this edition of the series makes a massive leap forward from the original PlayStation version in so many ways that it’s hard to believe that this is the same series: more cars, vastly improved graphics and racing physics that actually feel like a NASCAR race, including improved handling and draft physics are just some of the improvements. More courses, new drivers and fascinating challenges for the task-based Beat the Heat mode also conspire to make this package compelling for racing fans across the country. Even if you’re a first timer to NASCAR Heat, you’ll be duly impressed by this title’s variety, gameplay and more.
Game Informer Magazine
Heat is pretty hot, giving you challenges (with videos), good opponent AI, and a season chock-full of stats and stuff. I would have loved a draft meter, but there's still lots to like.
What we have here is a solid racing game that has a lot more good than bad. NASCAR fans should not be without this title. If you are an avid racing fan, this is a great portrayal of the NASCAR circuit and should be looked into. It is unfortunate that the game is going to be overshadowed by the massive Gran Turismo 3. It might be overshadowed, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
NASCAR Heat 2002 boils down to being a good NASCAR game that will appeal to both the hard-core fans of NASCAR and the borderline fans who haven't yet found a NASCAR game that appeals to them quite enough. The extra racing features in the game probably won't win over any gamers outside those groups, but they will add to the fun that NASCAR fans will assuredly get by playing this game.
With five different modes, colorful, detailed cars, a great replay feature (don't forget the Chassis Cam!) and plenty of racing action, NASCAR Heat is the one to beat. Y'all go buy it, you hear?
Nascar Heat is a decent game, but it's still just good ol' Nascar. While it is to some degree better than Nascar 2001, in many ways it is almost the same game (aside from the new foil cover). It features the same oval tracks, same types of cars and the same types of options. Nascar fans - you know who you are - this one's for you, but the more casual racer might want to seek out racing jollies elsewhere.