In less than a week, National Hot Rod Association fans will have their first officially licensed racing game title to play since more than a decade ago with the release of NHRA: Speed For All on 26th August.
With both development and publishing credits, GameMill Entertainment has footed the production of the upcoming officially-licenced title. The upcoming NHRA game is set to include five different racing classifications, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Mod and Super Modified.
On the surface, there might not be too much to the art of drag racing, but if there’s any indication from the promotional material released around the game, it is possible that the premise of NHRA: Speed For All may be more than just having a good reaction time and pressing controller buttons in the correct order.
STREET OUTLAWS 2: WINNER TAKES ALL
Just less than a year ago, GameMill Entertainment had its name written down as the publishing company for Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All. Released in September 2021, the game was based on the American television show of the same name and includes the cast of characters from the reality drama.
Street Outlaws is about underground street racing and both of the video games (including the first Street Outlaws: The List) are based around this too. The virtual releases weren’t developed by GameMill – Team6 Game Studios actually created them.
The basis of Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is to be the best underground street drag racer out there. The campaign takes the player across the United States to drag race all sorts of different opponents, environments, events, and while upgrading and adjusting parts and setups as necessary.
Since Street Outlaws 2 is such a recent game and GameMill has its hands in both that and the upcoming NHRA game, I wondered if there might be anything we could learn about the upcoming game from the existing title.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT NHRA: SPEED FOR ALL
From the NHRA: Speed For All website and accompanying press release, we know that the upcoming game will include Physics Based drag racing. That might sound kind of puzzling if you’re not familiar with how different weather, environments and atmospheric conditions affect the real-world product.
We also know that the venues will be some of the real-world venues, such as Bristol Dragway, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, zMax Dragway in Charlotte, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Looking at Charlotte and Las Vegas specifically, those tracks in the real world have four lanes of drag racing as opposed to the normal two-lane action. However, the trailer never portrays this, so it’s unknown if this will be included.
Speaking of that trailer, it looks like all the basics of drag racing will be included as well. You’ll need to put the right parts in and set up whichever car you’re driving for the best possible result. Burnouts to get the tires to the proper temps and pressures, staging, bumping up to the Christmas tree lights, and of course keeping the car in the lane as you travel hundreds of miles per hour down the strip.
WHAT STREET OUTLAWS 2 COULD TELL US
After getting my hands on a copy of Street Outlaws 2, I can see how some of those features may be incorporated into next week’s NHRA game launch.
Street Outlaws 2 has a great base to work off of, and by looking at both this title and the promotional material, it seems as though this is going to be the case. The basic features of gameplay are already there.
In the previous title, players need to perform the burnout to get their tires to the proper pressure and temperature. If the tires are too hot or too cold, or have incorrect pressure levels, they won’t grip the surface as well.
After the burnout, there is the staging procedure, getting the cars lined up properly on the starting line. Street Outlaws 2 does an okay job with this, allowing players to bump up to the line with the lights illuminating proper. It could, however, bring more of a mental factor, because unfortunately, you don’t experience your opponent’s staging, only your own.
Then, it’s time to drop the hammer, the basic part of drag racing – going when the lights turn green. Hopefully, this part is a little more fleshed out in NHRA, because in Street Outlaws 2, you just grip it and rip it.
Shifting up through the gears is a little better as you head down the track, as perfect shifts keep up the speed and if they’re not done with a little blip of the throttle, it could send you into the opposite lane. Steering will hopefully be a little harder as well with the new game as you’ll be travelling at a much higher rate of speed.
There is a parachute deployment button at the end to slow the cars down, but I don’t think Street Outlaws does this too well.
Each event will give players weather conditions and track conditions so that they can properly set up for a race. Wind speed, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity and air temperature are all provided and will all affect how the car handles down the line and gets up to speed.
Speed Outlaws 2 provides mods to boost parts for better performance. NHRA: Speed For All will have load-outs to boost the car’s statistics. They also have crew members, and that could be incorporated into putting together an NHRA team.
Overall, Speed Outlaws 2 is a decent title, but basic, game for drag racing enthusiasts. It’s not a ‘must-have’, but it does have decent playability. The complete lack of online multiplayer is bitterly disappointing, though. It would be nice to have the ability to race against friends head to head, but instead, we’re stuck with only being able to put a time on a leaderboard.
While the physics and upgrades are good to include, and will likely be expanded upon in NHRA, it doesn’t do it justice in Speed Outlaws. I’d personally like to know more about how those things affect the car but it gets lost in translation.
Players can get away with just saying yes to everything and following a linear path, which I wouldn’t necessarily say makes it an easy game but it does make it monotonous. I do hope NHRA comes with more of a purpose in the main parts of the career mode. Oh, and hopefully better voice acting too.
NHRA: Speed For All launches on 26th August 2022 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. We’ll see how similar the titles are when that happens. Keep it pinned.