Project Cars Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Project Cars Review



One problem with delaying the game to polish it up, as Slightly Mad Studios will attest, is that the hype keeps building up into the sky. Originally slated to release in December of 2014, SMS decided that they should keep Project Cars under the blanket a while longer, thus delaying it for the first time, pointing towards March as the next release target. Obviously, that checkpoint was missed. In order to fine-tune everything properly and get the game running at its optimum, SMS delayed Project Cars once more, now saying that the game will be out in May. Thankfully, we have it in our paws now, and can say that the devs certainly delivered, for the most part, with only a couple of stains appearing on what is a nigh flawless fabric.


Have you got your wet tyres on? Check!

Firstly, I’d like to say that Project Cars is an absolutely amazing visual experience. Playing it at its highest settings means you’ll have trouble discerning it from reality at times, with the illusion breaking only when the slight glimmer of aliasing rears its toothed head. Reflections, textures, details on vehicles and (to a lesser extent) environments are all incomparable to virtually any other racer on the market, simply outmusclin’ them all in a single flex. The true star of the show, however, is the lighting, especially when combined with the ever-changing weather and time-of-the-day. You’re sure to see some very impressive sights while driving across some of the tracks during the sunrise or sunset, even though the oppressive night and rather ordinary daytime also give in to form some fascinating virtual environments. The game also runs rather nicely for one such effect-abundant piece of 3D software, although you should expect chugging here or there in singleplayer. This has little to do with the graphics themselves and more with CPU’s AI manipulation, whereas controlling 30-or-so opposing vehicles might cause lags on machines with older processor units. Regardless, Project Cars is a mostly well-optimized experience even for those with older computers if you’re willing to crash some of the graphics settings down a couple notches. Now, even a completely photo-realistic game running at a silky-smooth framerate would get crushed under its weight if it had poor sound effects. While not as amazing as the graphics, the audio does hold up pretty well and is at least up to par with the genre standard. Car engines sound very powerful, and tires screech in a rather satisfying fashion. The rest doesn’t matter much anyway.


Rubbin’ is racin’

Gameplay-wise, Project Cars successfully blends its arcade and simulator aspects, and one can easily play the game as your ordinary racer, should he/she wish to do so. ABS, tracking lines rendered on the road, automatic gear shifting, turning off the possibility of engine failures, an abundance of tire options and many more await for you to tweak the game to your liking. Playing it with everything on is an exercise in frustration if you’re not used to playing racing simulators, however. Not only can many things go wrong if you lose your cool, but I also found the AI to be of the highly aggressive kind. Other drivers won’t mind ramming you if you’re driving slower than they are, and happen to be on their path. This brings to light another issue, and that are the somewhat floaty physics that are featured here. Driving the vehicles doesn’t seem quite as tactile as it should be, but the issue itself doesn’t become clearly apparent until you suffer a collision. Even though the damage model is quite awesome, the crashes aren’t realistic in the slightest, thus breaking the illusion the rest of the game so readily displays. It’s not a game-breaking thing, mind you, and you won’t even notice the issue once you’ve gotten used to the gameplay, but it feels off a tad bit in the beginning.

That aside, I don’t have any more real gripes with the game. There’s something around 100 racing tracks for us to plow through while driving eighty-or-so cars ranging from go-karts to Le Mans prototypes. There’s something for each of us, even though the vehicle arsenal might feel lacking when compared to, say, the gargantuan that is Gran Turismo. It should be noted however that all of the content that is available here is of extremely high quality, and you’re unlikely to find a fault with the vehicle models or track layouts. Interestingly, nothing is locked when you kickstart the game. Every car, every track – everything – is at your disposal from the get go. This makes Project Cars a very experimentative game in which you’ll be able to try out whatever car you feel like driving on whatever track you want to experience, so as to perfect your driving skills to the max – which is what this game is all about anyway.

Project Cars is not a game for everybody. It blends two entirely different racing genres in a very, very decent manner and ends up with a specific gameplay that might not be loved by every racing-sim lover out there. There’s plenty of content to enjoy here though, and since this is not a game about collecting but perfecting, you’ll be fighting over millisecond improvements rather than to win that shiny new Suzuki Escudo… erm, yeah, I’m stuck in GT2, gimme a moment…

Bottom line, I can wholeheartedly recommend Project Cars because I found it to be a visually astonishing, extremely satisfying if a tad floaty experience. There’s plenty to do here, and that’s before you take the game online and give it a whirl. I haven’t encountered many issues, strangely enough, since the servers seem to be of the stable kind. The trolls that ruin the game by driving in the opposite direction in an effort to ram somebody are a whole different story, but that was to be expected in a game such as this anyway. Get it, flex your graphics card and enjoy the ride.