Project Cars is so close to perfection, it actually hurts. Slightly Mad Studios has, without a doubt, made an incredibly good looking racing simulator, but in trying to pleaseeveryone, has fallen just short of achieving true greatness.
The game started out as a crowd-funding project back in 2012. At the time it became the ‘most funded project in crowd-funding history’, raising over 500,000 Euros, since dethroned by projects like Star Citizen. Since then, multiple delays have kept the game from its backers and fans, adding a lot of pressure on the developer to produce a first-class title, and for the most part it has.
The amount of variety and depth in Project Cars is incredibly detailed, albeit incredibly frightening at times. I’ve never been a hard-core racerso tweaking the suspension and breaks,amongst other things, quickly overwhelmed me and instead I chose to leave it alone.
Racing fans on the other hand will love the customisation available in Project Cars on every level, as players can access even the finest detail, like customising how you want your pit stops to play out in races and what to do in certain pit-situations, such as if you blow a tire or have to change a certain part.
Before you even get to the racing, the main menu has a ton of things on offer including Career Mode, Online Play, Practice Sessions and Time Trials. Once you have decided what mode you want to play, you are then able to choose from a host of different racing types, which start at Karting and climb all the way up through the ranks to F1 racing.
Unfortunately, despite having a lot of modes to choose from, I found that the car variety was just a bit sparse when compared to other racing games. Notable franchises like Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini, simply aren’t included in the game.
This may be because of the detail that went into mapping each car, but I can’t help but feel that this may also be a way to pack in DLC content after the game’s release, which I hope is not the case.
The visuals are simply breath-taking for a racing game. My PC is by no means the best in the business, while my pretty dated graphics card had no trouble clocking in a smooth 60 frames per second at 1920×1080.
There are however a few noticeable glitches now and then, and I saw some visible tearing on certain maps as well the occasional plastic-looking model or decal. These will no doubt be fixed in time as a patch has already been released to fix some of the bugs, so it is not too much to worry about.
Also, the amount of detail on the map itself is quite impressive. Slightly Mad Studios has visited all the actual in-game locations in an effort to map them out precisely, and that attention to detail is noticeable in the game.
There are also plenty of popular maps to choose from, from Karting tracks in Dubai to famous F1 racing tracks like Imola and the Nürburgring. There are a couple of fantasy tracks as well, but for the most part, almost all the tracks you play on Project Cars serve as exact reflections of their real life counterparts.
In terms of the racing, which is arguably why anyone would by the game, things seem to vary quite a bit between the different modes. Again, this may be because I’m a pretty terrible racer, but I have yet to hit a point where I actually feel comfortable racing in thegame.
I actually think that if you put on a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift and use a steering wheel and pedals that this may be an entirely different experience, and probably where the game shines at its best.
However, having to play on just a normal controller, you often find yourself spinning offerratically for something as simple asedging off the track, or losing control of the vehicle if you make too many sudden movements.
Once you start getting the hang of things and get to grips with its unforgiving nature you should quickly find yourself winning races, and crushing foes in your wake.
The single player for Project Cars is pretty stock standard. You get to choose what genre you want to start in (I started with Karting because I thought it would be the easiest. I was wrong), and from there you take place in races and competitions to work your way up the ranks and open yourself up to bigger and better types of racing.
There really was nothing surprising here and not much to make it stand out from any other racing game, but for those just looking for a stock standard racer where you must beat some AI foes, this will please you to no end.
I was unable to take part in the Online part of the game due to lack of racers and poorlatency, but from what I’ve seen, via Twitch.TV and other places, it does seem to work okay and the net codeis pretty good. I imagine this will get better the more people purchase the game.
Project Cars will please any racing fan out there, but I just don’t think it is better than other popular simulators, like Assetto Corsa for example. I do think though, given a bit of time and with the release of virtual reality headsets that Project Cars could turn into something really special as the developers continue to release added content like cars and maps.
Right now, despite being a fairly polished racing simulator, it just feels like Slightly Mad Studios is trying to please too many people at the same time, and in doing so, ends up falling just short of an absolute “must-buy” title.
Project Cars was reviews on a Windows PC.