Game Review: 'Project CARS'

'Project CARS', the crowdfunded racer, is a must-have for any serious motorhead.

There are two kinds of racing game fans out there: the ones who grew up on Rad Racer or Cruisin’ USA and the ones who grew up in an actual garage. If you’re of the latter persuasion, Project CARS is meant for you. The first true racing simulator for the PS4 (and the second for Xbox One after launch-day Forza 5), Project CARS began its journey to your console as a crowdfunded endeavor. Now that Namco-Bandai picked up the publication rights, Project CARS is bringing painstakingly recreated cars and tracks to the next-gen consoles with a heavy emphasis on fine-tuning those vehicles the same way you could in real life.

While you won’t be finding the staggering amount of cars or tracks in Project CARS that you would in Sony’s long-standing racing simulator franchise, Gran Turismo, the dozens of vehicles available in Project CARS are thoughtfully chosen to give the game a terrific variety. From F1 supercars to exotic dream cars to beefy little go-karts, the studio behind the game seemed to know that 1,000 plus cars wasn’t necessary to make things interesting and fun. To counterbalance the only-somewhat limited collection is the fact that all the vehicles in Project CARS are available to drive from the word go. Hours aren’t wasted driving a Mazda Miata before you can work your way up to something interesting. Instead, you can dig immediately into that Pagani Zonda you’ve always wanted and, by the time you’re two hours in, can have it fine-tuned for tight corners and wicked acceleration, just the way you like it.

Similarly, all the tracks are available from the get-go. As much as we like the Nurburgring, getting into the complex corners of Le Mans and really learning the angles you have to take to master the track was an infinitely better use of our time. It doesn’t hurt that Project CARS has very accurate, realistic physics either. This is a game that’s going to punish you if you decide to play fast and loose in corners or try to cut across grass...just as a racing simulator should.

If you’re a motor-starved PS4 owner sick of waiting for Sony to throw you a GT7 bone, Project CARS will definitely put a smile on your face. If you’re an Xbox One owner just looking for some extra variety after playing Forza 5 until the disc started smoking, you’re in luck too. From humble roots to your living room, Project CARS has made a meaningful game out of a crowdfunded idea. And with more cars being added each month, we expect to see more excitement from the game down the road.

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