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Project CARS Game review

Game review 14 May 2015, 12:56

author: Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.

Project CARS Review: The Most Beautiful Racing Game In History

After four years spent in development under the watchful eye of players and after repeated delays, Project CARS, an old-school racing simulator, is finally out. Will it immediately take the pole position among other car games?

The review is based on the PC version.

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  1. Brilliant graphic design;
  2. Dynamically changing weather and time of day;
  3. A wide variety of options and settings adjusted to one's own expectations;
  4. A virtually complete set of iconic tracks;
  5. A great atmosphere of a race weekend.


  1. The car selection may seem uninteresting;
  2. The career mode is not motivating enough to complete it;
  3. An underdeveloped collision system;
  4. The simulation realism may not satisfy the most demanding players;
  5. The replay system;
  6. An outdated way of painting the car.

Over the past few years, fans of realistic racing simulators had no reason to celebrate. After a "golden era" of sorts, when the market was dominated by productions from the studio Papyrus (NASCAR, Grand Prix Legends), in 2005 – the year when rFactor, Live for Speed and GTR as well as sequels and add-ons to the latter game by SimBin (GTR2, GT Legends Race '07) were released – the world of computer races was dominated by arcade multiplatform racing productions: Grid, Dirt, and Need for Speed. The biggest aficionados of simulators moved to the subscription model of the demanding iRacing; others turned their attention to the flagship console racing productions: Forza and Gran Turismo. Issued under the Need for Speed franchise, the games from the Shift games, especially Shift 2: Unleashed, were a step in the right direction, but still the overly arcade driving model didn't allow to put them on par with games such as GTR 2. It turned out, however, that the creators of Shift – Slightly Mad Studios – had much bigger ambitious: creating a realistic old-school racing simulator called Project CARS. The title saw the light of day thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on an independent platform WMD (World of Mass Development), with an active participation of players and real drivers. Among the people helping out with the production were Lewis Hamilton's brother, Nicolas, and the STIG himself – Ben Collins. After temporary trouble with postponing the game's release, the production, considered to be the competitor of Forza and Gran Turismo, finally hit the market. Can we really compare it with the abovementioned titles? Not quite. It offers a perspective that’s a little different in terms of the focus of gameplay and career mode.

Both the Gran Turismo and the Forza series resemble car temples – the vehicles are the center of attention there. We collect them, save money for our dream models, make improvements, choose colors, and climb up the career ladder to unlock increasingly faster cars. Project CARS is nothing like that. Here, the focus is on the race as such: competing on the track, reducing subsequent lap times by fractions of seconds, overtaking rivals, and tuning the settings. All classes and cars are unlocked from the outset and always available. We don't accumulate any experience points or credits, spectacular driving doesn't count, and there is no prize money, drift, rally, or tuning (!) – Project CARS is simply about the joy of driving in circles on an asphalt track, and a return to the old simulators by SimBin.

It’s up to us whether we want to start our career from 24h Le Mans.

The career mode differs from that featured in other contemporary racing games. We're not treated like rookies who have just entered the racing world and we don’t have to climb up from class to class. Everything is based on seasons; we sign a contract to participate in the league for a period of one year. It’s up to us whether we want to start our career with karts, GT3 cars, or LMP prototypes, known from the 24h Le Mans race. We are given a complete freedom of choice in every aspect of the game. Nothing is imposed – we decide where we want to race. Some may even see it as a disadvantage, because Project CARS gives us virtually no incentive to even begin the career mode – unless someone is bent on completing the built-in tasks (achievements of sorts).

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