After decades of trying to reach the gasoline-fueled joy of racing from the comfort of our playgrounds, Project CARS has delivered. With impressive graphics and a strong approach to racing simulation –leaving behind the countless arcade-like Need for Speed type of games- the game shifts the experience of racing up a gear. But there is an important question: is this type of game for you?
Unless you are a huge fan of racing games and you have been haunting like a real fan racing simulation games like Forza or Gran Turismo, you will be used –just like I was- to the arcade type of racing titles like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Burnout. This does not mean Project CARS cannot be enjoyed by casual gamers, but it is impossible to fully appreciate the sea of options to tweak our own racing experience. From tire pressure to traction control system, everything will greatly impact how our car behaves under rainy or other type of conditions. The title will go great lengths to automate this stuff for you if you do not have the knowledge or time to tune up everything yourself, but you will be missing half of what the game has to provide.
Project CARS has been built around the joy of driving, and the Career Mode demonstrates just that. In this mode, the progression system is tailored up for you. You can go to whatever tier you want. Do you want to enjoy hypercars? You can do so, right from the beginning. Do you want to experience a fully realistic racer career and start like the biggest stars with a Karting in your childhood? You can do that too. The game gives you the power to have fun with whatever you want because the immersion comes from the realistic aspects of a racing experience. As you get better and better, you will get cheered by fans in a Twitter-like experience, and the press will write about your amazing skills. Contracts and new opportunities will arrive for you to try out new modes and achieve recognition and fame around the world, competing in circuits that are based upon real tracks. This is as real as it gets in a SIM title.
The only disappointment I was able to spot is the lack of middle ground between inexperienced and expert modes. As previously noted, you can pick default options and let the game auto balance your car, or you can tune it yourself. If you are feeling risky and want to try, for example, tuning the tires yourself, you will not be able to learn what option does what inside the game, and tweaking many options at once will result in a car as wild as an animal with unexpected behavior. There is no middle ground either, if you need help you get the whole package: Driving assists, racing lines, and traction control. Disabling only one feature is not an option. This is a real issue for a new franchise trying to grow a fan base. Holding hands is good as long as you provide tools to teach new players to slowly adventure in the online world where other players will be far more competitive.
This leads to another minor issue: the AI is crap. Far from being competitive, the single player experience is as easy as it can be. Other racers are willing to crash themselves against walls to avoid touching your car, and this only increases the difficulty of the transition to the online mode.
Project CARS is a really, really good game, for some people. It is a beautiful driving simulator with impressive graphics and a whole bunch of stuff that will immerse you in the world of motorsports, like the twitter-like experience making you feel like a real star. The main thing to note is that while user friendly, it is clearly developed for simulator fans. If you are a huge fan of Gran Turismo, go ahead, you will love it. If you are in the group of Need for Speed lovers, you may want to wait for the next racing game.
Project CARS: Game of the Year Edition
- The core game + all updates
- An additional 50+ cars (125 total)
- 4 tracks (35 unique locations, 100+ layouts total)
- 60+ community-created liveries
- 500+ features and improvements that have been added since launch
In addition, the Game Of The Year Edition features two distinctive and exclusive items:
- The iconic Nurburgring Combined Nordschieife + GP circuit
- Two Project CARS exclusive vehicles from Pagani – the Zonda Revolucion and Huayra BC unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.