Title: Project CARS
Platform: PC, PS4 and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Slighty Mad Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release date: May 8th 2015 (UK), May 12th 2015 (North America)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator) is a game that was funded by the gaming community and developers, Slighty Mad Studios, themselves. Through buying Tool Packs, players could contribute to the game’s development through QA or content creation. In order to provide the most accurate and realistic driving experience, Slighty Mad Studios enlisted the help of pro driver and former Top Gear “Stig”, Ben Collins, Nicolas Hamilton and current ELMS driver Oli Webb. Now after a few roadblocks, Project CARS finally raced to the finish line and into gamers’ hands. Question is: How does it stack up?
Let’s get this out of the way first: Project CARS is not for the average gamer. This game is a hardcore and pure racing sim experience. If you don’t have the time/patience to dedicate to this game, you can move onto another fine article from my fellow writers here at GGS Gamer. Otherwise, if you’ve conquered the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport and need something new, read on.
The game does a great job in guiding players through the plethora of menus in order to progress your career. Cars can be fine tuned before each race in order to ensure victory giving players the true racing experience. Whether it be brake assist or stability control, players have full control.
Unlike other racing games in the genre, you’ll start at the bottom of the ladder. That’s right, your first few races will be Go-Kart races. Before being able to participate in the race themselves, qualifiers are required to determine where you start in the official race.
There are some frustrations that will stem from seeing opponents, even at the lowest difficulty setting. Some vehicles are harder to drive; that goes without saying. On one example occasion though, I was slowing down ahead of a curve with the joystick firmly in the direction of the curve, yet the kart wouldn’t cooperate as it would drive straight.
Ramming opponents, whether it be accidently or not, won’t derail your opponents and you’ll end up zig zagging or outside the tracks. Luckily, like other racers, there’s an arrow pattern guiding you on the ground suggesting how to approach the road and as it changes from green to yellow and then to red, it’s the game’s suggestion as to when to slow down in order to avoid crashing and burning.
As with any racing game, Project CARS features a hefty and complete Career mode for racing aficionados to tackle. Career mode asks you to sign contracts with a racing company and wins will get you endorsements, more money and (obviously) more cars. However, you have to start at the bottom of the ladder: by driving Go Karts. It does require patience as these tiny vehicles are a bitch to drive and control; which is quite fitting as it prepares the players to the hardest challenges to come.
For those who might get frustrated with Career mode, there’s also a solo mode which allows players to practice by choosing among the vast amount of tracks and cars; players can also select fine tune the race by choosing A.I. difficulty, weather, quantity of opponents, among other options. Solo mode is definitely more enjoyable and forgiving than Career mode (more on that below); choosing the Beginner A.I. difficulty will at least provide newcomers to the racing sim genre a chance to win and practice. Career mode will punish players as even on Novice difficulty, the other drivers will leave you in the dust if you don’t drive flawlessly.
The A.I. is brutal and unforgiving. Even on the Novice difficulty setting, during Career mode, a tiny mistake during the race will be costly. You will drop at the back of the line and trying to make it back at the lead of the pack will provide an almost insurmountable challenge. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re hitting other cars (voluntarily or not), you will be the one at the receiving end of the damage. Hitting other drivers is almost like hitting a wall.
Therefore, newcomers who will delve into the racing sim genre for the first time, Practice and Solo modes are your best friends as you’ll be able to get a feel of the game and get yourself ready for the big times.
If you prefer, you can instead jump online with friends (or complete strangers) in a few races online. Pretty standard affair as you can get either get the ball rolling with your own game or join one waiting on players. Sadly, there are also a few modes unavailable as of this writing; mostly content to be available at a later date post-launch. It’s unfortunate they couldn’t have everything ready right out of the gate.
Presentation wise, the game is filled with menus to navigate through. There are so many little details to fine tune while perusing Career mode or even starting a race. Cars look shiny and spotless; weather effects are incredible.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Project CARS is for the hardcore racing sim fans. Those who laughed at the Forza Motorsports franchise and/or plowed through the Gran Turismo series will revel in the Slighty Mad Studios developed challenge. Racing fans are sure to be in gaming heaven with Project CARS.
That being said, casual gamers or fans of arcade racers will find themselves frustrated with the intense A.I. and hard as nail controls; which will require them to hone their skills in Single Events in order to get a grasp of the “feel” and controls. Otherwise, those who want to get their hands on a more friendly racing game will have better luck with the GRID or Forza Horizon franchises.
What Rocks! :)
- So many cars
- Huge amount of tracks
- Nails racing simulation to a tee
What Sucks :(
- Very steep learning curve
- Can feel overwhelming for newcomers
- Seemingly invincible A.I. in career mode
Project CARS is rated E for everyone.
GGS was supplied a copy of the game by Xbox UK for the purpose of creating this review