Project Cars has long been a series that I admire, even though I’ve struggled with it constantly. I admitted as much when playing and reviewing Project Cars 2, admitting that while I appreciate the technical brilliance, the lack of accessibility was a huge limiting factor for me. Recently I was able to get hands-on with the upcoming Project cars 3 and I almost think I was too favorable for the previous version as this turns out to be something special in comparison and my hands will get stuck when I finally watch this game.
So before I get into how the game feels, how it races, let’s talk about what’s been in the game so far. I will now tell you that in my hands-on with Project Cars 3, I was able to play, play, or at least see other modes in the game for quite a bit of the campaign. From the new FTUE (First Time User Experience) introduction to the new game modes such as rivals – including the breakout, tempo setter and hot-lap races – as well as online challenges and multiplayer options.
Granted, I haven’t had the opportunity to test multiplayer and there are limitations on what I can say. In terms of career mode, I went to the first four series, which covered different car classes (Road B class). From what I’ve seen, the career will be quite extensive. There are twelve series, which include road, GT and two bonus series: Invitations and Challenges. Each series contains four tours, each tour with four races concludes with a championship.
The way these later events and series are unlocked is by completing challenges in the unlocked races. Sometimes these are as simple as winning an event, other times it can be a bit more complex, like perfecting different turns, making multiple clean passes or even drawing for a set amount of time before you pass the car you drawing. From what I’ve seen, it seems that the game won’t rule you out for later events due to these requirements.
As for the alternative events, there are community events that are said to be specific to different regions. Daily Challenges, Free Modes and all the options available when playing online will all be available at launch and offer a wide range of race potential. Interesting to me is the rival system, an asynchronous multiplayer mode in which a number of different tasks earn points, challenging themselves to progress through a number of rating systems over a monthly cycle.
How good this is boils down to actual racing, which I will cover shortly. For now I’m just going to let you know that there is much more content to discover than in previous outings in the series. Part of this is also because Project Cars 3 now features car ownership, personalization and an upgrade system that can completely change the way they drive, as well as what events they are suitable for. It’s something we’ve seen in other games and a really nice addition to Project Cars 3.
The number of cars in the game has increased to 211, compared to 189 in the previous outing. The number of tracks, on the other hand, has shrunk from 63 to 51, with a total layout from 146 to 121. With the reduction of these layouts and tracks, however, there is an increased level of detail everywhere. Whatever I have played, the track and surroundings look great and above all feel more detailed than ever. Every little bump goes through the car, but feels very different depending on the car you drive, the speed you drive and more.
So what about racing? The big difference here is how the game handles. Project Cars has never felt so smooth when using a gamepad. I no longer have to race with a huge number of assists, although I have turned on a few so I can experience what the game will look like when I play it for fun above
Needless to say, it feels great. The controls are sleek and responsive, your wheels’ responses to different surfaces and weather conditions just feel right. The only issues I’ve noticed so far is that the game is a bit too punitive, with certain race conditions requiring you not to leave the track at all, frustrating in a multi-lap race if you don’t have a chance to make a mistake to compensate. Another problem is with the ‘perfect angle’ system where pictograms with breakpoints, ideal lines and angles are not on the course. Fortunately, this is very rare and probably easy to modify.
Project Cars 3 will be released on August 28 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and looks like it will be one of the other great looking racing games to be released this year. As with the previous outing, this will also have VR support. Nothing concrete has been said in the past, but it will be interesting to see if Project Cars 3 makes its way to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. At this stage, it seems that the game is perfectly suited for the next generation of consoles.