Project Cars – High speed virtual world

Project Cars went live across consoles and PC last week. I am a big fan of racing games. Of all the genres they are my favourite. Forza on the Xbox has been my go to game for driving fun so I decided on the PS4 version of Project Cars in the hope I would have a good racing game on either console. I was not let down at all!
Project Cars looks, sounds and more importantly feels like a proper racing game. Where it differs to some of the other recent games is the inclusion of some very low end racing with Karts and Super Karts. The mid range road cars and GT cars in general feel good and solid, the Karts are twitchy and manic and amazing fun too.
There is a lot of customisation of how you play that can be done in Project Cars. I just put it on the medium setting for everything and got re-aquainted with the PS4 controller. What you need to do in Project Cars is be very very subtle with power and the steering with some of the car models. Tank slappers and oversteer can be very unforgiving in some of the classes. Project Cars, like all good racing games rewards practice. The feeling of getting to grips, just, with a class of car and putting in some fast laps, knowing you can shave even more time off is at its core.
So we have a very good physics model and huge array of classic racetracks. So that’s all good so far. A good physics model and a feel for driving has been in every game I have enjoyed from back in the Night Driver day to pole position, the mighty Sega Rally, Colin Mcrae Rally, Gran Turismo and finally Forza. What they all have gradually added and improved on top of the physics and feel is the look.
I always prefer an in car view. (These will be even better with the VR headsets). Project Cars adds a really interesting view from inside your crash helmet (it has lots of views to choose, including a centre of the cockpit view even for cars that are not central drive). The crash helmet view also muffles the sound just a little. It does some interesting fx with focus blur and forcing your head to bobble back and forth with acceleration. As you can see in this photo elements of the view are blurred on purpose. It is a sort of tilt shift effect that is very pleasing live.
Project Cars
There are also some very effective weather dynamics, rain is quite terrifying as you hurtle along having turned on your windscreen wipers. (Oddly my first wet race nothing told me I had wipers but I mashed a few buttons and found the down dpad turned them on). The haze and the rain drops, including the sounds of them is very clever.
Other games have realtime weather and lighting but Project Cars just has more and better.
The solo career lets you pick a class to start in, like Karts, and work your way up. It is not long before you get to invitational races in all sorts of classes so it does not force too much monotony like a real career might 🙂
You can always hit single race and pick any car, any track any time with 30+ other cars on the track with you too.
An unusual feature on the PS4 is the pit radio messages, as they come out of the controller speaker, which is a nice touch.
On the 360 I had a very good force feedback wheel and pedals for Forza, but it doesn’t work on Xbox One. It made a great deal of difference to times, and to be abel to make sensible gear changes. Pads just don’t suit gears IMHO. Project Cars works with the pad but I am sure would be greatly enhanced with a wheel and pedals.
I tend to leave the driving line on when i don’t have a real wheel and force feedback as it fills in for the lack of sense of speed you can suffer from in any game with only rumblers. I would prefer to be driving without out but I think at the moment I will stick with it 🙂
The tracks are very notable too in Project Cars, all there straight away, as are the cars. No pretend economy to have to buy your way up. Donnington, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Brands Hatch, Imola, Monza, Nordshleife are all there.
Like all good car games there are a stack of tuning options, damage models, tyre wear, pit strategies and aero set ups. Pit stops, if the race is long enough or the rules dictate, let you pick a strategy from a set you have made for that stop.
Probably the maddest option though is the real time actual 24 hour race. There is an achievement for that ! It suggests you get some mates over and take turns driving. So when you enter pits there is an option to swap driver. As only I was signed in I tried the sea driver and an AI driver took part for me. I am not sure it it counts leaving him to do 24 hours, but I am sure the inter web will provide the answer to that.
The launch trailer is below. It does look like this and does not disappoint. I am sure the high end PC version is even more glorious and may make this the standard to beat.

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