A little while back the team at 24-7gamer had the opportunity to play Bandai Namco’s upcoming racing simulator ‘Project Cars’ at their headquarters in London. While I waited for my turn to play the game and watched the person in front of me playing, I could not believe my eyes, it looked incredible. The car modelling is as beautiful as ever, the tracks are gorgeous and the engine sounds are just perfect.
Project Cars is trying to be the best-in-class racing simulator. By taking small snippets of content found in games like Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport and Need for Speed, with the accuracy and details provided to cater for the more serious racing sim fans. Developer Slightly Mad Studios from the outset wanted to create a racing sim game that appealed to all racing fans, from what we have seen and played so far they have nailed it to perfection.
The action is focused heavily on the racing experience, with events taking place over several days and incorporating shakedown, qualifying laps and the races themselves.
As racing sim fans would expect he game is filled with lots of little switches and settings you can fiddle around with. Whether it’s the wipers or headlights, or the height of the bench inside the cockpit, it’s all there. Back in the garage you can check tyre pressures in bars and tilt angles in degrees. HUD elements can be moved and turned on or off. The race can be set up virtually any time of the day (or night), in any weather, with time progressing in real time as you race around. Practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions, you choose how you want to race.
Project Cars features almost 70 marques, which isn’t many when compared to the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza, but then again, they’re almost all racing vehicles. The game also features 52 different circuits, and two point-to-point road courses, which are all very impressive.
Race – the choice is your’s – If you want to, you can jump straight into a Le Mans car and try to win the famed 24 hour race. Alternatively, you can follow Lewis Hamilton’s footsteps and compete in a karting championship. You might decide to switch frequently between these (and other) disciplines, or stick to one in an attempt to truly master it before taking your skills online and beating other real players.
For my first session, I chose a Ford Focus RS, I had one of these a while back so thought it would be a great comparison to see how it felt, the track I chose was Brands Hatch, why? because I have raced around this track many times and know each corner fairly well. Brands Hatch truly looks stunning, and the game captures its changes in elevation exceptionally realistically. Trackside graphics and the overall lighting are both very lifelike, and the end result is a game that can easily take pole position.
I played using a steering wheel setup, and for the first time with any racing sim found the game accurately simulated the characteristics of the car, with heavy understeer if driving too quickly into a corner, but with minor lift-off oversteer when I aggressively backed off the throttle. It was great to drive, and after a few laps I felt very comfortable with the way the car was set up.
I finished my session feeling very impressed. From the graphics to the sim-like handling of the vehicles, Project Cars is looking absolutely amazing. I love the way this game is different from any other racer I have played, Why? well it works so well, the car feels right, the graphics are the best I have seen and the game just feels tight and compact.
It might seem like I’ve sung a lot of praise for this game today, but if the preview is anything to go off, the final version of this game is not a title that racing enthusiasts are going to want to miss. It really is going to be one of the best racing sim games ever made to date.
Project CARS is set to release on Xbox One, PS4 and Windows PC on March 20.