Project Cars from London-based developer Slightly Mad Studios was unique in its development in that it was created on the World of Mass Development platform. With this new development platform, Slightly Mad Studios actively developed the game with community members that submitted feedback and actually helped fund the game's on-going development. While the concept of the World of Mass Development is interesting in how it incorporates community feedback and such, ultimately Project Cars must be reviewed based upon the final product.
For awhile now PC gamers haven't had many choices in regards to simulation based racing games, while consoles have had access to the Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo series. Project Cars is described as the ultimate driver journey and a next-generation of racing simulation, which in themselves are bold comments with the standards set by the aforementioned console racing series. The core features include a wide collection of licensed vehicles ranging from US muscle and super cars to open wheel and karts. Included tracks are all real life locations that range from Nurburgring to Sonoma Raceway. Each track is split into various circuits that are spread throughout the career mode's championships.
The game's included career mode has players participating in various tiers of racing championships and signing contracts with different teams. The career mode is all about player freedom that enables gamers to begin racing straight away with indy cars or begin more modestly with karts. Career progression is handled through a race calendar that allows players to participate in different championships and racing events. Racing success provides additional endorsements from teams and more trophies to add to one's collection.
Project Cars differs from other racing games in that all cars are unlocked at the game's beginning versus having to unlock them through career progression. Digital trophies and fake social media Twitter feed in-game don't add much to show actual career progression, all of which result in little to no incentive to winning races in the game. It also doesn't help that all of the racing teams are simply generic names with none of them differentiating from each other. Player freedom is always great, but Project Cars simply doesn't provide any incentive for completing various championships in the career mode.
Fortunately, for those players interested only in the actual gameplay experience of racing cars wont be disappointed. There isn't quite anything else like the experience of driving at fast speeds and sliding around corners while being immersed inside the cockpit view. Those that wish to have the best racing experience should invest in either a gamepad or steering wheel as a keyboard and mouse don't do the game justice. Even with a gamepad, the controls take awhile to get accustomed to because of their often overly sensitive nature. Each car in the game has its own unique feel while driving around tracks that constantly provide fresh gameplay moments.
Presentation wise Project Cars delivers in both its visuals and sounds. On the visual side the game continually impresses with highly detailed cars and tracks, not to mention the jaw-dropping weather conditions with the rain effects in particular. While the game's graphics are stunning, unfortunately they come at a high performance price when the weather is in effect or with races that have a lot of cars on the screen. Even with lowered graphics settings, the game maintains being a looker especially at 4K resolution. The game's auditory experience as with the graphics continually amaze as car sound effects are spectacular. Both interior and exterior views of cars during races deliver sound effects that will truly impress on high fidelity sound setups.
Racing enthusiasts are going to find a lot to like in Project Cars while those gamers looking for a similar career experience to the likes of Forza Motorport or Gran Turismo are going to be disappointed with the lackluster progression system. While it might not be the complete racing simulator that PC gamers have been waiting for, Project Cars is a solid entry in the genre with its entertaining gameplay and stunning visuals. The game's major lacking element is that of a unique character in comparison with its console counterparts. In its current state, Project Cars provides a racing sandbox at most requiring players to find their own incentives to play the game.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been writing for Gaming Nexus since 2011 and focus primarily on PC games and hardware. I'm a strong advocate of independent developers and am always seeking the next genre-breaking and unique game release. My favorite game genres are strategy, role-playing, and massively multiplayer online, or any games that feature open worlds and survival elements. View Profile