It has been a long time coming, but the lights are about to go green for the launch of Project CARS. I had the chance to experience what the game has to offer ahead of its release, and test whether Project CARS is actually leaving other racing titles in the dust.
From an initial view without picking up my controller, Project CARS looks the real deal. With a portion of the racing genre turning down the route of arcade gameplay, Project CARS delivers you back on to the straight and narrow with hard hitting simulation. Every aspect of the game screams serious racing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to watch all 24 hours of the Le Mans race every year to gain enjoyment from Slightly Mad Studios’ creation.
There are a number of fans who will have experienced Project CARS in some form of development already, but this was very much my first time jumping in the driver’s seat. With Silverstone as my designated playground, I set about enjoying every aspect I could drink in, at the wheel of the RWD P30 LMP 1 – a community created car. The beauty of the Project CARS world is definitely the first thing that hit me – Silverstone itself looked immaculately gorgeous and the surrounding atmosphere was breath-taking.
Once you get over the stunning visuals (there is no rush for this, I’d advise taking in every ounce) it is down to the gameplay to see if it stands up to the classic simulation standards. My selected method for determining a racing games level of simulation is to jump straight in and see how I fare, so it suited that I was sent straight to the starting line at Silverstone. Slightly Mad Studios have done such a great job of building an immersive racing experience in Project CARS, and this meant I wasn’t fully focused on gameplay alone for the first few minutes of racing. The visuals that I already touched upon are complimented by fantastic audio contributions, as the cars and the environment mix together to allow you to believe you are in the car. Once you finally do get to focus on the gameplay, you will expect that it will match up with the well-honed aspects I have just described – and you won’t be disappointed.
As a respective amateur in simulation racing I happily admit to tackling the game with automatic gear change and default assists, but that by no stretch meant I was in for an easy time. The RWD P30 LMP1, a community created Le Mans Prototype racing car, immediately proved a challenging beast to tame. One of the true staples of simulation racing is the sheer control and patience you have to maintain during gameplay, and Project CARS displayed this requirement in droves. I found myself turning too sharply, holding the acceleration too often and many other small things that I’ve picked up from being so used to more arcade style racing games. Whereas a game such as Grid will allow you to hold the acceleration as you are coming out of a turn, Project CARS and many serious racing recreations make sure you are punished for this inaccuracy – if you don’t control the throttle you aren’t going to control the car.
It is definitely the sum of the smaller details that add up to highlight the supremacy of Project CARS. Although I didn’t play in using a cockpit camera view, the ability to turn windscreen wipers on and off is a little feature that shows real attention to detail – as with the controllable headlights. The crashes I experienced seemed a tad arcade-y, which was a nice distraction, but I don’t know how intentional they are.
With the release date looming things are looking good for Project CARS, as long as they can deliver content worthy of the beauty of the game. With some tracks announced and more on the way, it is definitely a promising time for simulation racing games. The bonus of a community supported game is that there is bound to be an abundance of community created content.
You can take your place behind the steering wheel as of next month, with Project CARS set for a UK release of November 21st for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows.