Thursday, 28 May 2015

Project CARS

During my time with CeX I've really enjoyed being forced to play a few racing games. Don't get me wrong, the lads and ladies at CeX don't tie me to a chair, put a gun to my head and make me play these games (*wink* wink* they do, send help please), but there have been a few times in which I've decided to review racings games, a genre I previously never enjoyed that much. So here I am again with another high profile racing game on my desk, fresh after pumping a good few hours into it. So, with the racing game market already being flooded and dominated by various other franchises, where does Project CARS fit it with it all?

Developed by Slightly Mad Studios and out now on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC comes Project CARS, the most accessible hardcore racing game ever, and that's either a compliment or criticism depending on how you like your racing games. Project CARS is the 6th game by the UK based Slightly Mad Studios, a developer that, so far at least, only focuses on the world of motor-sport. I can't really speak for any of their previous efforts, but if Project CARS is anything to judge by, Polyphony Digital might just have a contender for best racing sim developer.

What everyone wants to know before they buy a racing game is “how do the cars handle?” and “does it have good features?”. Thankfully Slightly Mad Studios have nailed both of those aspects of this racing sim. From the outset it's clear that incredible detail has gone to replicating a whole slew of real world cars, including major brands such as Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, McLaren and Lotus. From the absolutely blistering speed of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the sheer unadulterated force and power behind the Ford Mustang Cobra SCCA TransAm, to the lumbering controls of a Renault Clio Cup, Project CARS' realistic cars are truly a thing of beauty. Each one feels incredibly different from each other, and this opens up a vast array of different play-styles, player preferences and gameplay experiences. To achieve the authentic feeling the cars have here, Slightly Mad Studios heavily consulted with former “Stig” Ben Collins of Top Gear fame, Nicolas Hamilton and Oli Webb, and this attention to detail genuinely comes across.

There's a great level of custimozation in Project CARS too, especially in terms of tailoring it to the experience and difficulty right for you. Almost everything can be altered or changed, and these alterations have a huge impact on gameplay. From assigning buttons to your steering wheel/controller/keyboard, actively rearranging and moving the entire on-screen HUD, to dicking around with the A.I of fellow drivers with the help of a very useful slider, it's all here. Whether you're looking to race against other drivers that will fight you tooth and nail till the last stretch, or easier opponents who will allow you to easily lap them twice over for a well needed confidence boost, Project CARS gives you the opportunity for all of that. Hardcore racing sim lovers may hate how changeable the games difficulty is, but I found it to be refreshing not having to jump into the deep end on my first few hours.

Project CARS also looks breathtaking too. The entire selection of real world cars here have been painstakingly recreated. For instance, while I've never seen a Palmer Jaguar JP-LM in person (like dude, I didn't even know that shit existed until now), in Project CARS it, along with every other car on offer, looks astounding. The same goes for the tracks as well, both the real-world and fictional ones. With over 30 tracks to race about in, there's plenty to see and do in Project CARS. In fact, with the excellent and varied weather conditions that you can cycle through in the options, each track will look and play quite differently, depending on what kind of weather you go for.

Overall Project CARS is for everyone. It's for the hardcore racing sim fan who wants authenticity and challenge, but it's also for the newbie who wants cool fast cars and fun. I'm a bit of the latter to be perfectly honest, and I came away from Project CARS looking forward to what Slightly Mad Studios do next.

Project CARS overtakes Gran Turismo with a 5/5.


Denis Murphy

Project CARS at CeX

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