It took a long time and now Project CARS is finally in store. More precisely, from tomorrow it can be downloaded or bought in the store. I was able to do my laps on the various Project CARS tracks for a few days beforehand and have a wide variety of experiences. In a nutshell, the game is bombastic but not perfect.
I tested the PC version, it doesn’t actually differ from the versions for Xbox One or Playstation 4, unless you have a cutting-edge graphics card, then the PC has an advantage. The 17 GB were downloaded in about five hours (via Steam) and then took up 20 GB of hard drive space. A quick click and the game loads directly – my system * is in the good midfield. The intro fills me with goosebumps, the camera work flies over individual stretches that are shrouded in the evening glow. And then finally the first sports cars fly over the track and fight hot duels. It pays to stay tuned until the login menu appears. If you can’t wait that long, you just stop.
The main menu opens, which is explained by a friendly female voice in its comprehensive simplicity. This continues as soon as you open new menu items – but only the first time. Anyone who wants to can get started right away, whether in their career or in a “quick start” to a racing weekend. Or he jumps to the second page and changes the options according to his personal preferences. I also wanted to try the online mode (with a PC up to 64 players), but unfortunately it failed due to the lack of patience of the other players. The lobby just never wanted to fill up with enough players.
In career mode, everything can be driven directly. Regardless of whether you prefer to start with a kart or start directly in the LMP1. Here you really are spoiled for choice. I decided on the GT3 championship, where you sit directly in an SLS AMG GT3. If you want to drive a race weekend without obligation, you can combine it exactly as you want. There are various controls for the weather alone, if you want you can pick out a storm here. Training, qualifying and warm-up can also be set as desired.
Although the intro is so fantastic and the menus are played with suitable music, the sound is the shortcoming of Project CARS in some places. The GT3 vehicles, for example, are extremely well hit in terms of their acoustics. The more “mainstream” vehicles like the A45 AMG don’t have much in common with their brother in the real world. In this particular case, that’s a pro for the game, because it doesn’t sound really good in the real world. Various other models also sound very similar, although they are not. It’s just a small flaw, because on the other hand, most of the vehicles were hit really well. Such as the Focus RS with the robust five-cylinder or Ariel Atom 300 Supercharged or the M3 E30 from Group A. All turbocharged cars use a bit of the same sound file. I suspect behind it a snare drum stroked with a brush. But only by the way.
Every now and then in a career, qualifying also makes the difference between victory and defeat, but the winners are made in the race. This is exactly where Project CARS clearly scores over other racing games in my opinion. The rules are tough and whoever doesn’t follow them gets kicked out. Failure to observe the mandatory pit stop does not result in a time penalty, but in disqualification. It is the same with those who abbreviate too often. The man in the ear, or rather your personal race engineer, is a great help here. He gives tips on the course of the race, gives times and gets you in for the pit stop (the strategy for this can be edited, by the way). I found the announcements very helpful and not annoying, because they rarely come. As in real life, something can go wrong or take longer during a pit stop. I don’t know which algorithm this is subject to in the game, but it does happen.
Every car is different! Every car behaves differently and every car drives differently. I have not tried all but many vehicles and each one needs a different driving style. The developers have transferred the vehicles into the game almost one-to-one, which means that a ride in the “Red Pig” (300 SEL AMG) does not only make you sweat virtually on your forehead. Here, early braking and precise steering interventions, as well as gentle throttle thrusts, are required. Unlike the A45 AMG, which can be traded as a novice driver in Project CARS. And when you drive into the pouring rain in the GT3 Renner in the wild turmoil with no view at more than 250 km / h into the Eau Rouge in Spa Franchorchamps, then you know exactly, you are right here. If you shit and switch to the view “behind the car”, you may be able to look further, but the rain is just as “in your face”. The helmet view is more of a view for advanced users, because the driver moves according to the direction of view. If a car then attacks from the outside, this can visually disappear.
Anyone who drives races knows that the pit strategy can often make the difference. This applies to both positive and negative outputs. As a test, I defied my race engineer and stayed outside on rain tires (with the road now dry). I was able to save a little time, but my opponent in second place (during my pit stop) with its dry tires was no problem. For the first time in a video racing game, I feel like tactics matter. Only those who start the career mode with their heads can emerge victorious in the end.
The cars ** are not just different from the outside. Even in the classes there are advantages and disadvantages. For example the old DTM racers of Group A, his sign MB E190 2.5 Evolution against M3 E30. In summary, the Stuttgart-based car is the better car, the BMW has no chance and can only make up some ground in a direct duel in the corners.
Is it the best racing simulation the money can buy? Maybe, because I don’t have the experience with Forza (Xbox) to make a final decision. The graphics for their part are at least awesome! Especially when the rain falls, the game becomes a completely different experience, not only visually but also dynamically. I could well imagine that something will be done to the acoustics of individual cars over the next patches, because various fans will certainly rebel against it. At least in terms of the essentials, this is arguably one of the best video games of our time.
Are there any bugs? Small graphic errors, which were only and exclusively displayed during the repetition, have already been fixed with a patch on the weekend. Otherwise the game never stopped or stuttered. Only within a qualifying lap did the game suddenly jump straight to the race and I had to start from the last row. I couldn’t find any more problems with the playing time of just over 25 hours.
Be sure to buy a steering wheel! Project CARS is easy to play with the controller, but it was developed for use with steering wheels. Countless steering wheels are supported, so there is one for you too. There are simply a good (or two) handful of vehicles in Project CARS that simply cannot be controlled with the controller. As a simple example, the formula vehicles or the McLaren P1, which require a precisely adjustable accelerator and precise steering interventions.
* My PC system:
CPU: Intel i5-3550 3.3 GHz (clock: 3.60 GHz) RAM: 12 GB Graphics card: NVidia GeForce GTX 560 (1GB) Operating system: Windows 7 64-bit PS3 controller
Alpine A450, Ariel Atom 300 Supercharged, Ariel Atom 500 V8, Aston Martin Rapide S Hydrogen Hybrid, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Audi R18 TDI LMP1, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Audi R8 V10 Plus, BAC Mono, BMW 1 M Coupé (E82), BMW 320 Turbo Gr.5 (E21), BMW M3 Gr.A (E30), BMW M3 GT (E92), BMW M3 GT4 (E92), BMW Z4 GT3
Lotus 78 Cosworth, Lotus 98T Renault, Marek RP219D LMP2, Marek RP339h (PM 06a) LMP1, McLaren 12C, McLaren 12C GT3, McLaren P1
Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo2 DTM, Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.8 AMG, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ400, Oreca 03 Nissan, Pagani Huayra
Caper Monterey Stockcar, Caterham Seven Classic, Caterham Superlight R500, Caterham SP / 300R, Ford Capri Zakspeed Gr.5, Ford Escort RS1600, Ford Focus RS, Ford Mustang Boss 302R1, Ford Mustang Cobra SCCA Trans-Am, Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Gr .A, Formula Gulf 1000, Ginetta G40 Junior, Ginetta G55 GT3, Ginetta G55 GT4, Gumpert Apollo S, Lotus 49 Cosworth, Lotus 72D Cosworth
PROJECT CARS LIMITED EDITION CAR-PACK Sauber C9 Mercedes, McLaren F1, BMW M1 Procar (E26 / 1)
PROJECT CARS MODIFIED CAR-PACK Ariel Atom Mugen, Ruf CTR3 SMS-R, Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster
FREE CAR W Motors Lykan HyperSport – Free Car # 1
Photos: Screenshots from Project CARS