The need for speed.
When uttered alone, Project Cars is both a terrible and brilliant name for a racing game. It sums up the concept of Slightly Mad Studio’s recent effort perfectly, while feeling like a cheap knock-off racing title from the PSOne days. Project Cars is everything but that. Built based on player feedback and with a ton of care, this racing game epitomizes the idea behind customization.
When I say customization, I am not referring to cosmetic options like Forza. There is no editor to allow players to craft lewd pictures on the hood of the cars. Instead there are some skins that can be used, but all are predetermined within the game. What I mean is that the game play can be tailored to any situation the player likes.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
From the outset there are three default driving options: one for novice players, one for intermediate, and one for the hardest of the hardcore sim drivers. These can all be tweaked as well. Things such as brake assist, driving lines, and wear and tear on the car are all options. These can be adjusted at any time as well, even before every race in career mode.
Speaking of career mode, it is pretty hefty. The car selection ranges from karts to full-on sports driving machines, and everything in between. Much like everything else, the career mode is also fully customizable. I could start at any tier I wanted to, and even stay there as long as I wanted. Races are completely customizable before each entry, and there is even an option to simulate once the game got my racing style down. This was great for qualifying sections.
As I mentioned, everything can be changed before each race including laps, difficulty, and everything in between. The game really allowed me to tailor each race to my own style. The only gripe is the annoying message of losing my lap times every time I veered off course. I get it, I suck at maintaining a solid racing line.
Everything is unlocked from the outset. There are over 100 tracks with slightly less vehicles, which is probably the biggest knock on the game’s selection. There are more cars coming, but in the form of DLC, and as of now I am not sure how much will be free, and how much will cost more money.
AI is also better than most racing games. No rubberbanding here thankfully. Instead racers seem to have solid situational awareness, and rarely try to run players off the road, unlike Drivatars in the Forza games. I could also race an insane amount of cars at once, which was fine on PC, but once I got to the console versions, things get hectic as I added cars. Throw in weather effects and things drop down below 30fps at times, which is noticeable in a game so smooth and beautiful to look at.
Online is just as customizable, and in my tests on PC and Xbox One, relatively solid. There is an insane amount of things to tweak, and races are fun as long as I didn’t get into matches with aggressive drivers wanting to run everyone off the road. The game also keeps track of my entire career, so I could always see how I was doing against what set of circumstances. The more I dug into the game, the more that kept cropping up. It is one massive package.
It is also impossible to talk about Project Cars without mentioning its visual fidelity. The game is gorgeous on every level. The PC version obviously outshines its console counterparts, but they are certainly no slouches either. The weather effects are amazing, and I thank Slightly Mad Studios for allowing me to turn off rain drops on the camera when using a third-person view; like I said, extremely customizable. The frame rate does take dips on the consoles, but it never kept me from enjoying the race. Overall this is one fine-looking game. Expect screenshots to be filling up Twitter feeds for months.
Project Cars is a massive package that can be tailored to anyone who enjoys racing games. Some may find issue with the lack of unlockables, but there is so much to see and do that I never grew bored of enjoying what was already there. I am excited to see the support they show the game over the next few months, and this easily will hold players over until the next big racer hits the market.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.