Released on 7 May 2015 in Europe, in the UK on 8 May (and with a scheduled release date in America of 12 May 2015), Project Cars is the latest video game to come from British developers Slightly Mad Studios. With the ability to create your own driver and to choose your own motorsport, you will practically be able to smell the diesel fumes from the comfort of your couch as you settle down to attempt to earn your place in the Project Cars Hall of Fame.
Players can thus participate in a wide range of motorsports driving a multitude of vehicles in the process. The more sedate amongst you may choose to start your Project Cars career in a common or garden sedan, or you may prefer to test your skills in a Le Mans prototype or rev the engine of a GT racer. It would appear there really is something for everyone in this game (although I’m not sure if there’s a Robin Reliant…). There is a fine level of detail here – drivers can, if they wish, set individual tyre pressures for each tyre on their vehicle for example.
There are multiple game modes, consisting of Career, Solo, Online and Community. Once you have created your driver and chosen your motorsport (and trolley racing in Tesco doesn’t count, I don’t think), you might decide to chase Champion status in Career mode, or take part in fully loaded race weekends and participate in leader board based time trials in the Community area.
Having seen the wide range of options available to players with regards the design of their driver, and the game mode options, what about where you’ll actually be driving and racing? Well, there are over 100 tracks to choose from across 30 locations; locations include Nurburgring, Chesterfield, California Highway, Brands Hatch, Sonoma Raceway, Zhuhai International and Mount Panorama.
The graphics are sumptuous in this game, and the attention to detail is clear. If you clipped a wall whilst completing a circuit then, well first of all, that was careless and you should be more careful the next time. More pertinently, though, the marks will be there for all to see on your next lap. This also applies to the weather and how it affects your race; rain will see puddles accumulate on the track and make driving more hazardous.
The release of Project Cars has arguably come at a fortuitous time for Slightly Mad Studios as the latest release in the ‘Gran’dad of the genre, Gran Turismo 7, is not scheduled for release on PS4 until 2017. There are drawbacks to Project Cars, certainly – the choice of cars, for example, is predominantly European and so Dodge, Nissan, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche are nowhere to be seen. Furthermore there are limits to the modification options, there being no aero kits or wheel options, for example. However, there is much to commend with this game, and it is perhaps not fair or even right to compare Project Cars with a stalwart such as Gran Turismo. The team behind Project Cars used crowdfunding to source their project and therefore this game has real heart, tenacity, and most importantly for all you motorsport gaming fans, a huge amount of gameplay and features, not to mention a fantastic baseline for future developments.
Every fan of this genre should give Project Cars a go, as I’m confident they won’t be disappointed. Buckle up, find the right gear (probably not reverse), and drive off into the sunset, hopefully with the Project Cars Championship safely secured in your name.