NASCAR Thunder 2004

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a game by EA Tiburon
Platforms: XBox, Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Motocross Games, NASCAR Games
NASCAR Thunder 2004
NASCAR Thunder 2004
NASCAR Thunder 2004
NASCAR Thunder 2004

Stock car racing has been a phenomenon in the world, but especially in the United States of America for decades. If it is a sport, if it is popular and if it can be adapted into a video game you can be sure that Electronic Arts (EA) is most likely responsible for it, and in this case, you would be right. Nascar Thunder 2004 is the second racing simulator title from EA, after receiving producing rights from NASCAR itself.

This game was focused on delivering a more realistic, simulation approach to racing, and it succeeded. Upon release, it was very well-received by critics and fans, especially because it was, at the time, the closest to the real thing that racing fans would be able to play.

Racing Towards a Career

One of the most enjoyable parts of sports games is usually the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your favorite athletes - in this case, pilots. Through the multiple game modes you are able to control over forty-two of the best drivers of the era, and while this might be a blast to go through especially with friends who love the sport as much as you, the best part of the game is probably career mode.

There are multiple modes in Nascar Thunder 2004, such as Career, Season, Speedzone, Challenge, and a tutorial. They are all decent modes, but nothing feels as rewarding, challenging, and strategic as career mode. Building a name for yourself, and grinding yourself through the seasons is a very nice reward for those who love racing. In career mode you get to create a team, and manage it to success, it is nothing new for EA, but why change a formula that has worked so well?

Crossing Lines

For regular players of racing games Nascar Thunder 2004 might not be refreshing, or brand new in many ways, especially with over a decade since its release, yet this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything to offer, in fact, its “Grudges and Alliances” mechanic was - and still is - a very interesting AI development. With this system players could affect the way the other racers treated them inside the track, this meant the more bumpy, aggressive, and reckless you were the more you could expect payback from the AI. On the other hand, being a neutral driver would eventually create alliances that would seldomly allow easier passes for the player. This alone made this game stand out among the competition at the time, and made it as well-received as it was.

Commending the AI is tricky because while the concepts mentioned above worked beautifully, there were still several issues with the AI. Granted none of those issues are game-breaking, but still, the competition seems unpolished at times. Which in turn makes the game feel very easy, or very hard for no apparent reason. Fortunately, the game’s wide array of mechanical details, exploration, voice-overs, narration, and modes make Nascar Thunder Force 2004 a fun game for those who are passionate about cars.


Falling in the same tropes of most games that emulate sports, Nascar Thunder Force 2004 is not an entirely unique, brand new, over-hauled game but it possesses enough features and developments to qualify it as a worthy addition for those who enjoy racing games such as Project Cars, F1 Series, MotoGP, or Gran Turismo.


  • Plenty of New Features
  • Grudge and Alliances Mechanic
  • Career Mode
  • Vastly Detailed Car Customization
  • Big Roster
  • Good Sound Design


  • Similar To Its Predecessor
  • AI Feels Weird At Times

Download NASCAR Thunder 2004


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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XBox Screenshots

Playstation 2 Screenshots

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