Oozing with style
Title: Project CARS 3
Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: The series takes a left turn
Price: £55 / $60
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The Project CARS series first released in 2015, is a realistic driving simulation game. It was positively received overall while we thought the game was a bit unforgiving. Two years later, Slightly Mad Studios released the sequel which garnered a similar reception. And fast-forward to 2020 where we have Project CARS 3; a game that features a drastic departure from the previous entries. Does that work in its favour or against it? Let’s find out.
The game’s career mode will take players through 10 unique race series with 4 four races each with each event having their 4 events as well such as a standard race, hot lap, etc…. Once you have completed the events and successfully completed enough objectives, you’ll be able to play the championship race. Throughout all of the events, once you’ve completed the required amount of objectives, you’ll then be able to move onto the next race series. Or if you earned enough in-game cash, you can “buy” your way in.
To reach the championship, you’ll have to go through various events such as race, hot lap, or even sprints. To unlock the championship, you need to score a set amount of objectives meaning if one race if giving you trouble, you’ll need to re-do it until you’re cleared the objectives. While it adds a layer of challenge to the race when required to do certain such as a set amount of perfect corners, it can be frustrating having to re-do the same event over and over.
The progress system is really skill-based meaning if you aren’t familiar or a returning player to the genre, it might take a while before you feel like you’ve made a dent in the Career mode. Each race features objectives to complete, some of which might require some practice to complete. Newcomers could be deterred by the sometimes frustrating objectives.
The game will reward you for using the same vehicle. As you win races, your car will increase in level rewarding you with upgrade discounts allowing players to upgrade their vehicle more efficiently and frequently. When upgrading your vehicle, be sure you keep an eye on the class meter above because if you upgrade it too much, it’ll upgrade to the next class and thus forbidden for the current race class you’re in.
Interestingly enough, each race will have objectives for players to complete for additional XP such as Reach X MPH or master a set amount of corner. Along with the preset objectives, things such as overtaking a position or racing cleanly across a circuit’s section will allow players to gain extra XP for the overall progression and the car.
A new change here is that instead of the traditional ground markers, the game features three traffic signs like icons to indicate the best path to take on the circuit. When you’re about to take a sharp turn, you’ll see ahead a red Yield like sign, when the game suggests you slow down, it’s a yellow circle and once you’re out of the turns, it’s a blue diamond-shaped sign displayed. It feels more cumbersome and less intuitive than the traditional ground markers; takes a while to adjust to it.
The main problem with the game is that it requires players to be near perfect during races even at lower difficulty settings. While occasional bumping into other vehicles is more often than not out of the player’s hands, hitting surrounding obstacles will cause your lap time to be invalid. And the problem is is that it’s not always clear as to why the lap is invalid; especially for those unfamiliar with the sport. While I understand it’s a racing sim, not everyone is accustomed to the genre so lacking certain flexibility can deter newcomers.
Project CARS 3 looks great overall. The vehicles and circuits are all we designed and detailed so don’t worry about it. The overall presentation is fine except when navigating the in-game menus. Menuing feels clunky and cumbersome. Never always clear what you have to select next. Also when completing an event, it brings you back to the option of doing the same event again. Press the button too quickly and you’re back where you just finished. Championship race selection is always heavily cluttered so you never know where to look to progress forward. Also, the game does suffer from occasional visual hiccups. Sometimes the screen would flash for half a second; so people susceptible to epilepsy might want to be careful. I’d also see random blocks of colors cropped at random spots around the screen.
Overall, Project CARS 3 a great addition to the racing genre. The series received a much-needed facelift which gives the game a bit of personality. While does the game feels different from its predecessors, Project CARS 3 remains a racing sim at the core. Not the best of the year, but damn close. A big improvement over the previous two games.
- New and interesting direction for the series.
- Addictive once you grasp the mechanics.
- Driving feels stiff.
- Circuit markers aren’t intuitive.
Project CARS 3 is rated E for everyone and PEGI3 due to the presence of alcohol reference and in-game purchases.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher