|EA Sports drives its NASCAR license up to speed with the 2004 launch of this new title. Though created under the direction of the company's acclaimed Tiburon studios, which also steered the design of games in EA's earlier NASCAR Thunder series, Chase for the Cup represents a distinct turn toward customization and realistic NASCAR rivalry. Other new features include RPG-style character development and the chance to race in four additional NASCAR series: Busch, Craftsman Truck, Featherlite Modified, and Nextel Cup.
The game's "Fight to the Top" mode is designed to let players live the life of an up-and-coming NASCAR driver or owner. By mastering basic driving skills, competing in a variety of racing events, and building fan support, custom-created characters earn a place on the NASCAR circuit. The game's "Chase for the Cup" feature comprises ten separate races, and is billed as the first video game representation of the new NASCAR point system. It can be played on its own, or as part of the main "Fight to the Top" campaign.
Role-playing elements are more prominent in Chase for the Cup than in past NASCAR games from the publisher. Drivers will develop rivalries that influence behavior, and the game's "Intimidator Button" lets the player's character try to bully other drivers into making mistakes. More intense grudges may carry over, even when the race is done, but characters can settle scores away from the arenas, with back-street races in muscle cars like the Dodge Viper and Ford GT. To settle any real-life racing rivalries, up to four gamers can compete in the game's multiplayer modes.