I played Project CARS back in August of this year at a Bandai Namco event held in Manhattan. To be quite honest, I wasn’t impressed with what I got to try out. I saw this game on the show floor at the most recent New York City Comic-Con but dismissed it for a few days because of my previous experience with it. Since there was a lack of games to play at the show, I decided to just go for it and give Project CARS another shot. I’m glad I did because the demo I played was significantly improved since I last played it.
As far as controls go, my biggest issue with the game was how much oversteer it had. This is a problem that a few of the other people who played the game back in August had as well. As soon as I began to play this I could feel a difference in this area. The car was very easy to control and I was able to keep it on the track for most of the time. Whenever I drove too fast and went off-track the car would become uncontrollable, this is something that hasn’t been changed, but when I was on the track the car handled beautifully. The game has a great sense of speed which is actually a rare thing for racing simulators. Having that combined with the improved controls helped to make me enjoy the game much more.
The car A.I. has been improved as well. Before, the game had, for the lack of a better term, very cheap A.I. that would do all it could to knock you off the track. Worse still, if you were hit by another car you’d lose control yet the car that hit you would be perfectly fine. For this demo, the A.I. was much better behaved. It would try to go around you without trying to hit you off-road and wouldn’t get super aggressive if you tried to gain the lead. The game still felt challenging without being unfair.
What initially impressed me about the game were its life-like graphics. The actual game itself looks very nice with solid visuals but it doesn’t look nearly as good as all of the videos and screenshots that I had seen. The cars are very detailed and I especially liked the interior shots which really made you feel like you were behind the wheel of an awesome race car. The environment that I raced on looked good too but since it was just a simple racetrack with the usual curves, it wasn’t too visually appealing. The game is no graphical powerhouse but it gets the job done.
The PR person who talked to me as I played said that the game would support both the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. With the VR headsets on, gamers will be able to see the world as a racer would. Moving their head from side to side will give them a more realistic view of what is happening around them and thus make them feel immersed in the game. Oculus Rift support will be ready for launch but Morpheus support will be added sometime next year.
Project CARS has a lot of competition to go against. From the outside, it doesn’t have a whole lot that makes it stand out from games like Forza, Driveclub or Gran Turismo. However, the fact that it’s a crowd funded game means that its fanbase are completely dedicated to it and will therefore do their best to tell others about it and help it succeed. The game will be updated based on their feedback so you can expect it to be constantly improving throughout its lifetime.
We’ll see if Project CARS manages to race past its competitors when it’s released on the PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One on November 18th.