Its that time of year when another racer hits the shelves promising to be better than the last, prettier than anything that has been seen before and offering the most realistic experience besides being in a physical car. This time we welcome Project Cars to the racing game genre and this one packs a serious punch. Here’s our review

I’m a terrible gamer when it comes to racing games I don’t do wheels, I avoid that full damage setting and anything that removes that fabled racing line is a no no. So why on earth am I taking the time out of my life to review a game builded as the greatest racing sim to date? Well actually I’ve found it to be rather brilliant and once I embraced the game and it embraced me we got on like a house on fire.

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Time to take a selfie of your favourite car

There’s no other area I can start to tell you about until you understand just how pretty this game is visually. From its beginnings as a kick starter and its high ambitions to cater for the PC racing sim enthusiast and the casual gamer on the WiiU its a miracle its turned out as well as it has on consoles. My time has been spent reviewing it on the PS4 and even here there are a multidude of options available to you in order to tweak some of those visual elements. Don’t want the sun shining in your eyes as you fly round that first corner? Well your in luck just tone it down now your retinas can relax and focus on the drive ahead. This is an unusual thing to see on a console version and demonstrates the PC first approach undertaken by slightly mad studios.

It’s a trade of in essence though as other PC typical elements such as small texts and subtle menus don’t transfer quite so well to its console counterparts. I could spend this whole review focusing purely on the visuals from the pit lanes to the car internals but what you really need to know above all else is the tiny details that Project Cars delivers. Those little touches are all across the game from turning your headlights on when it gets dark to see your dashboard and track ahead light up to seeing leaves leap in the air behind you as you wiz past. It creates a level of immersion not yet seen in console racing.

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If there’s an area of complain to be had with project cars one that will surely standout amongst casual racers is the games controls. The controls have the typical layout you would expect from a racing game but it’s uber twitchy feel may have you spinning of the track more often than not and that’s even in the dry conditions. There are solutions for this and browse of the games forums quickly found me enabling some control settings that put the control pad back in command of the car. You’ll notice this in the career mode if you have a bash at the go karting championships.

There ain’t an in game economy and thats unusual but it actually works for this game. It enables you to pick whatever car or championship you want from the get go and this means the best tracks and cars aren’t hidden behind a 20hour slog through the career ladder. Either way you choose to approach the career mode I can assure you there’s plenty to see and do here. There’s little to no fan fare around the race events the focus is purely on the racing which is great however you can’t have a career of sorts without some elements of real life to try and immerse you further. Unfortunately this is delivered with some weak fake social media sidebars with scripted tweets and mail appearing upon race completions these are your fans allegedly.

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There is a reward mechanic in the form of accolades and special event invitations but nothing involving currency. What I didn’t find clear is how many races are in my championship or what teams can I move to. I’m sure it’s there but for many the lack of laying this out in a easy to understand interface will ultimately damage the career mode have someone stick with it for the long term unless your a proper die hard fan.

When that headlight fails in the pitch black and storming rain puts pressure on  your times you can’t help but smile and enjoy the challenge

The more interesting game modes are naturally linked to community events. This ain’t surprising considering this game was kickstarted so implementing strong community events and modes will be key to the games longevity. There’s a few different events you can pick as a player which task you with getting to the top of a leaderboard within a given event time. I like it and would recommend it as a side note to whatever is taking up your main focus in game. Time trials also also makes an appearance here challenging you to beat a time set on the leaderboard.

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Loads of stats in the Driver Network Profile page to keep you busy

Further online modes include what you would expect lobbies listed allowing to enter however Project cars have done a great job in allowing lobby hosts to tweak a range of settings, pit strategies, weather, practice modes and times on each. Damage options are also tweak able by the host allowing features such a mechanical failures. These failures are race crippling but do add that bit of unpradictability from failures such as engine battery to headlight malfunctions. It’s a great touch and adds to the games realism. When that headlight fails in the pitch black and storming rain puts pressure on your times you can’t help but smile and enjoy the challenge.

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As a bit of a racing noob it surprises me that there is so many features for a user to tweak I couldn’t and certainly wouldn’t begin to explain all of these but expect options across HUD displays from telemetry to RPM gauge, pit strategies and off course tuning setups you can customise until your hearts content. Project cars have also made the addition of utilising the dual shock 4 speaker for relaying engineer updates which is awesome if at times repetitive. Some of these simple additions slightly missed the mark and none more so than the engineer commentary that was confusing and misleading, the request to change to slicks or wets when the weather and track conditions didn’t suit was disappointing. Further to this if you did make a jump in the pits to make a tyre change you may find you leave with the wrong type of tyre you selected so there’s definitely some patch work to be done here.

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Go karting in the sun

Being a visually stunning racer means nothing if the sound doesn’t match. The sound in project cars is stunning engine sounds all sound unique and authentic with environment sounds from weather, crashes and sliding round corners are on point. The weak point is the in game music which is best switched off. If in doubt fire up your Spotify in the background and pick your favourite tunes best for that 24 hour race you’ll embark on!

Overall my time spent was a pleasant surprise from taking myself a noob racer and turning me into a gamer that now can’t wait to get behind the wheel, in fact getting a wheel for this is a wise idea with many supported. Expect everything you would want in this racer but don’t look for a story or career mode to deliver that personality aspect as it’s missing entirely.

This title was reviewed on a retail copy of Project Cars on PS4

Project Cars – Review
9
Gameplay
5.5
Narrative
9.5
Graphics
9
Sound
8
Value
Our Score 8.2
You think (0 votes) 0
Verdict

A truly stunning representation of what a racer should look like on console and this kickstarted gem is worth your time whether you are a die hard racer or not. Appreciate its nature and it will reward you handsomely.

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