I have the feeling that I’ve been talking about racing games a lot this september but bear with me. I love the genre. Usually I’m more into the arcade type than the simulators but I honestly like them all. Well, the good ones.
My history with Project cars is a little bumpy. If I’m honest, I didn’t have very high expectations for it being this game made by the same people that made the borderline broken NFS Shift 2 (which I may review in the future). In any case, I bought the game simply because there wasn’t any game to scratch my pro driving itch on ps4 back then. And recently, I bought the season pass on a sale which now turns me into the owner of the goty edition. And that’s what I’ll be reviewing today.
Project cars is then a racing game that leans into the simulation category. The cars in it are all representation of real life counterparts (except a couple exceptions) and they behave, or at least try to, just like they would in real life. The focus of the game clearly went into proffessional driving. You won’t partake in any illegal street racing in a subaru imprezza with neons below. There are some events that will have you driving cars that are mostly stock and the game has some “urban” circuits but most times you’ll be driving a racing car on a racing track.
The game’s campaign has three final goals you can aim to achieve. You can start from the bottom racing karts and climb up the ladder participating in your favourite categories season after season until winning the lmp 1 world championship which is the most fun in my opinion. But you can also aim to be an all rounder winner by participating and winning on three of the biggest categories. And the third, and least interesting goal, would be to win in one of the big categories and then keep the trophy for three more consecutive years. It’s good that the makers gave us players different goals we can aim to accomplish but this latter goal is pretty boring. Who wants to be stuck in the same category for four seasons in a row? Anyway, I digress.
Apart from the main championships you’ll be driving in each season. You’ll be invited to several secondary trials and championships that feature the rest of the racing categories available in the game. Like races with all kinds of old-school cars, track days and such. The chance to participate in them unlocks as your driving career progresses. If you happen to own all of the dlc for the game as you will with the goty edition. The variety of these invitational events will be much higher and something you’ll truly be expecting to play between the regular championship races. If you don’t though, you’ll have seen them all by your third season. Fortunately, the game offers you the chance to skip them if you get tired of them.
Apart from the career mode, you can also race in custom “weekend races”, time trials and the game also features a robust online mode. I honestly haven’t touched those portions of the game very much as the career mode is truly what hooks me but the races I’ve shared with other fellow humans turned out to be a pretty good experience. The netcode is stable enough and luckily the fanbase of this game seems to be pretty civil which means that the races don’t become a display of cars pushing each other from the track on every single corner.
The graphical department from Project Cars doesn’t dissapoint. The game aims for a 60fps that lowers slightly under extreme conditions but it runs smooth most of the time. The model of the cars isn’t the best you can see on ps4, that award would still be on Driveclub but the cars look pretty amazing nonetheless. They are detailed inside and out and they all handle in their own unique way. Another praiseworthy mention deserve the tracks you’ll be racing in. Unlike in slightlymad’s previous effort shift 2, they sticked to how the tracks look in real life and they are spot on.
The music of the game is toned down as it has been reduced to a minimal apperance during the menus. What it’s there it’s good though. Now, the sound department, as in the noises the engines do and the sound of the screetching tyres that’s another high point in the game. Cars that should sound powerful really do and it all adds to the immersion of the game.
Things I liked
- Driving: Unlike in the previous Shift 2, the handling of the cars in this game is responsive and fluid. The game runs at a high framerate and there’s no input lag this time around. The physics make the cars in the game behave in a very natural manner and that makes the driving experience very satisfactory.
- Variety: I haven’t counted how many driving categories there are in project cars but there are a ton. From different kinds of open wheel vehicles, touring cars, supercars and prototypes and then you have to take into account all of the retro cars you can race with as well.
- Slick: Simply put, the game looks nice and sounds nice as well. The vehicle models and the tracks they’ll be racing in are very detailed but always sticking to how they are in real life. The presentation is minimalistic but in a good way. It gives the game a very proffessional look I think.
- Adjustable: The game is highly customizable and I’m not even talking about tuning up the cars (which you can also do by the way). What I’m talking is about the way you can customize your experience with the game. By tweaking the HUD, the amount of cameras you can choose from to play, and more importantly, the ability to able and disable all kinds of driving aids and difficulty settings so the game can adapt to any degree of player skill.
Things I didn’t
- Bugs: Honestly, this was more of a problem back when the game launched than today. Fortunately, the developers have been patching the game pretty often and they have solved many of the bugs you could encounter back in the day but there are still a few ones. Like encountering a car that unrealistically manages to set up a lap time a whole minute faster than any other car and that obviously will win the pole position by default.
Who’d like this?
I had two main problems with Project Cars back when I first purchased it. One was the amount of bugs it had back then and that has been solved for the most part. The second was that the vanilla game was lacking on content for a game that tried to encompass so many driving categories and, thanks to the amount of dlc released, that has been solved to.
The complete edition of Project Cars as it is today is a great title that I think that could be enjoyed by any racing fans.