Over the years, the line separating arcade and simulation has become blurred. We are rather sure it’s due to developers figuring out that plain sim racers just are not that fun, even with realistic suspension-tuning abilities. It could also be audience appeal, that threat of being just like the others that the developer Slightly Mad studios used as inspiration to find a method of making simulation fun again.
Project Cars has to be the most polished racer we have experienced in a long time. The contemporaries, such as Codemasters, have spent time struggling to provide a game that has the latest graphics with the F1 series, but Project Cars really stands out. It is impressive how wellbuilt all of the 60 plus cars are, from the interior details to the environmental designs.
It offers a line-up that is familiar, including the legends like Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps, and of course, Monte-Carlo. In addition to these, they have some courses that are created out of fiction, such as the Californian Highlands and Côte d’Azur. There is also a day-and-night system, dynamic weather, and it’s all realistic.
From the start, Project Cars offers a challenge, as it is a racer that takes patience and skill, and it is tough and unforgiving. You won’t find yourself simply slinging the car into the apex with the intention of drifting out the other side without a ding. The purpose behind Project Cars is to learn the discipline of each element, study and master it.
With the unique approach that Slightly Mad took for career mode, you are able to gain access to any of the various disciplines right away. The events are on a calendar with each event divided into several days of practice sessions, the qualifier, and the actual race. It is recommended that new players start out slow, although it is tempting to jump straight into the McLaren the first time out. However, this will likely end up with simply spinning out of control until you get the hang of it.
Each discipline provides a unique set of races and championships that you will progress in, earning contract options for a more advanced team. It also gives you a diversified racing experience. Each new type of car is different from the other.
The karts are sporadic, sketchy, and unpredictable. The touring type is more deliberate and heftier, but has lower steering sensitivity. The McLaren P1 and hyper cars almost repel the road. If using a gamepad, racing these are nearly impossible. We strongly believe that racing games should be playable and enjoyable for everyone, not just the elite with the force feedback wheels and race seats, and this is where Project Cars is lacking.
You are provided with many options for fine-tuning your ride as well, from steering assistance and braking to traction control, AI and difficulty tweaks. This helps to a degree, but does not eliminate all the issues.
However, the visible improvement on track time is unparalleled, with the F1000 series being one of our favorites – an open-wheeled low-power discipline exclusive to the UAE region. When you find what works best for you, then you will experience the great feeling that you get from coming in dead last to stringing together the quick outside-overtakes and podium finishes.
It is obvious that Slightly Mad understand what hardcore audiences want, and it’s rather rare that the developers understand what an audience wants and stick to providing it to them when there are larger audience appeals out there. Project Cars has us excited to see how it will evolve over the following weeks and months.