Project CARS Preview: The Ultimate Race Sim?

Spin, Spin, Spin

My time spent with Slightly Mad Studios’ Project CARS was mainly eating the dirt of my opponents as they sped past me, but that wasn’t because they were insanely difficult or gifted racers, it was because I was god awful.

Now I’m no expert at racing games, but I’m no amateur either, having my recent fixation on Forza Motorsport 5 and playing most of the Need for Speed, Gran Turismo and Motorstorm titles. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started my first race in a go kart, but what became apparently clear very early on was that Project CARS is all about the small things. The game is realistic to the bone, and when I had the idea of trying an old Forza trick and make my way through a bend and cut corners to pass the opposition, I was roughly backhanded with a couple of spins and ceasing to an ultimate halt. As I sat there motionless, wondering what just happened to me, I was told that as my tires hit the grass and I accelerated with a feverish aggression, one of the tires picked up a bit of grass and caused my whole vehicle to spin out. Yeah, Project CARS is pretty realistic.

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What’s most apparent in Project CARS is how beautiful the game is. Even playing on a PC with only the medium settings turned on the game looked beautiful. From the gorgeous vistas of the various licensed tracks in the game to the actual vehicles themselves, everything had a great ‘pop’ to it and in my opinion it’s one of the more vital parts of a racing game. Mixing in with the great visuals is the wonderful amount of customization that is apparent, from the nitty gritty of the cars specs to the appearance options – Project CARS makes sure that every desire you might have within a racing game is fulfilled.

“from the gorgeous vistas of the various licensed tracks in the game to the actual vehicles themselves, everything had a great ‘pop’ to it.”

One of the more impressive parts about the game is the fact its budget was raised through a kickstarter project as well as the developers (Slightly Mad Studios) putting in their own money for development of the game. One of the neat parts about backing a project like this was the perks that came with it. Throughout one of the races I was told that the pledgers would all have their names placed into the game and they’d be your racing opponents. As I made my way through one of the tracks I actually started to notice that that was the case, even this early on in development, and it was a great nod to those who have been so invested in this game from early on.

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The best way to describe Project CARS is to accompany it with Dark Souls, because whether you like it or not, this game is very much the Dark Souls of racing games. From the realism mentioned above to the ridiculous amount of cars and tracks you can choose from, Project CARS is all about customization, fun and taking on a challenge. And I really enjoyed my time with it, even though it was spent mostly hanging about in a ditch or spinning around in the Maclaren P1.

Project CARS arrives on Xbox One, PS4 and PC this November 2014.

 

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