My knowledge of motorsport is limited to being aware that there’s a bloke called David Coulthard and he had a somewhat substantial chin, so one might say I’m not the natural choice to be reviewing a car game. Still, I’m always open to trying out new things so I embarked upon a career in Project C.A.R.S. to see if there’s finally a driving game that revs my engine.
Project C.A.R.S. career mode gives you a wide array of classes to compete in, you can take your pick from 125c Shifter Karts, 250cc Superkart, Formula Rookie, Formula Gulf 1000, Formula C through to A, Renault Clio Cup, GT5 through to GT3, Endurance Series, Prototype 1 and 2, LMP2 and finally, the pinnacle being LMP1.
I started my career at the very lowest rung available; 125cc Shifter Karts. I also very quickly became aware of a complaint I’d seen many mention on social media, that the controls were quite horrible. I quick Google search revealed a set of tweaks I could make and soon enough I was throwing my kart around tight-cornered tracks with reckless abandon. I was also helped by a very useful assist system which places an overplay on the track to show the correct lines to take and is also colour-coded to show if you’re at an acceptable speed. Green suggests you should have no problems on the corner, yellow that you’re maybe a touch too fast, and red basically means you’ve got no chance of making it.
Each race starts off with a practice lap so you can get the hang of the course, followed by a timed qualifying session in which you can attempt as many laps as you can fit in. It is possible to skip the remainder of the session once you believe you have a sufficient lap time, although there is a bug here which we’ll come back to later. The main race is then split into two portions, one being a normal race and the other being a Sprint from a moving start.
Your success in races and championships leads to offers from other teams and opportunities to make place in special one off events. The end of a season gives you the opportunity to either continue in the current class you’re competing in or take the jump up to the next level.
All considered, the career mode is a significantly sizable bit of content. Starting from the bottom and working through to the top will take a considerable length of time, plus the invitational races in between your contracted races adds a nice bit of variation.
An online multiplayer mode is present and correct, featuring a wide range of options to partake in. The lobby picker is handily informative too, letting you know whether you’re coming in for a quick two lap race or instead landed yourself into a lengthy slog around a course.
Graphically, Project C.A.R.S. is a very attractive game, although I’d say less so than Driveclub. That being said, a race through a rainy track is still a beautiful sight, especially if you’re brave enough to pay in the in-car view. I’m less positive about the sound though. The score widely flips between epic sounding electronica with choral voices to heavy metal thrash guitars at a moment’s notice, plus the volume mix seems all over the place. You can load up the game at a comfortable volume, only to start a race and find the car engines at OH MY GOD WHERE’S THE REMOTE CONTROL type levels.
Throughout the game I experienced several bugs, two of which I wish to focus on here. Firstly, Project C.A.R.S. has some of the worst and most inconsistant collision detection I’ve come across in a driving game. On some occasions you can gently nudge a car next to you with little to no effect, but on others your car with be flung off in some random direction, normally ending up with you backwards and with the camera spinning around and, on one particularly occasion, on top of an opponent’s car who seemingly obliviously continued to speed along the track.
The other very annoying bug I came across was when attempting to skip to the end of a session. I tried this on a couple of occasions when I’d set a lap time in qualifying I was happy with, only to find that currently this option is entirely broken. Rather than simulating the remainder of the session, instead the game simply does not progress any further and needs you to completely shut the game down and restarting.
If you’re the sort of person who understands the difference between tires, is interested in torques and cc’s and has more interest in cars than just “Does the stereo have Bluetooth?”, then there’s probably a lot to love in Project C.A.R.S, if you’re able to overlook the bugs. The deep and lengthy career mode will keep you involved for a substantial amount of time, plus the wide array of tracks and cars will give you added longevity and incentive to continue playing. For the more casual fan though, this probably isn’t going to hold your attention, and for those with just a passing interest in motorsports, the sheer depth and variety may be seen as daunting. Overall though, a strong title despite the flaws.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Format: PS4/XboxOne/PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Project: Cars by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.