This game is extremely fun. There is alot that you can do in this game, from going from a nobody to a top driver, and owner of any racing circuit. I would recommend buying a nextel team, cause then you are stuck driving for that team forever. I would just keep waiting, I got Stewart's old ride when he retired. I bought a car in every circuit, and just payed a driver to do those races, and just raced in the Nextel Cup and watched my money go up and up. I like this game I bought if from Eb Games for only 14 bucks. Check it out you will have fun.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of settings you are allowed to choose in this game, like the various control assists and difficulty settings. You can choose to make the game excruciatingly hard, and impractical with a controller (particularly the PS2 controller), to having the game practically drive for you. You can even choose to shorten the race length from 100 percent length to various settings as low as under 10 percent, making the races last a few minutes instead of over an hour.
Rather than focusing on deciding on a challenge level and giving the game polished graphics and good gameplay, they added irrelevant gimmicks in the game like the Hero/Villain system, which is dependant on how sporting you are in dealing with opponents during a race.
Whether you are a Hero or Villain supposedly affects the opponents' treatment of you during the races. ("Do unto others..") But in addition, your status would cue the occasional cutscenes after certain races, for example: an opponent driver trying to start a fight with you. There is no dialogue, the entire scene is played out in menacing poses and gestures, sometimes with teammates pulling both of you away from each other. Also, there is an autograph signing mini-game. It's all just pretty lame to me.
The game has a big emphasis on street racing and cart racing. The street racing is lame and irrelevant, and although I understand how cart racing is justified, quite frankly I just don't care about them, I'd rather be driving stock cars and maybe trucks, that's it.
On the Playstation 2 version, the graphics were quite blurry with frequent framerate drops. I would recommend only playing this game on the Xbox.