Published on September 20th, 2020 | by Zorbz

REVIEW: Project Cars 3

REVIEWED BY: Christo Phero

The third instalment of Project Cars has hit the shelves. But the hard-edge sim-racer many of you have come to love (or loathe) has had a bit of change of heart.

Story/Concept: Project Cars 3 offer little in traditional ‘story’ mode. The Career option is the closest thing we might call a story, but it’s all very arcade like (something I’ll come back to later). This isn’t necessarily bad. You begin in the lowest racing tier – Road E – win races, collect points, unlock other tracks, beat those, collect points, customise a car here and there – maybe buy a new one or see how far your GT-86 will take you – unlock the next tier, rinse and repeat until you make your way to the tippy-top. Or you can eschew all that and go straight to Custom Event mode where a whole host of beautiful cars are ready for you to drive on a great selection of equally beautiful tracks, new and old.

Graphics: I said beautiful, but not as beautiful as other sim racers (if this is a sim racer – more on that later). Having recently played F1 2020, I couldn’t help noticing the tracks don’t pop as much. Having a direct comparison in the likes of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Interlagos – the tracks appearing in PC3 and F1 2020 – the PC3 versions looked a little flat, a little bland. Chase View also washed out all the tracks in a sea of blur, which had me thinking at times the car was running on/hovering above a treadmill. In-car/cockpit view made things all a little better and more realistic, but at times the smaller details of the dash would also be lost in blur (a button or parts of a vent); the edges of the steering wheel littered with visible pixels when moving. These are minor quibbles, yet small as they are, they succeeded in taking me of the experience at times.

Gameplay: Virtually no story and some (at times) dodgy graphics aside, PC3’s gameplay is where this game shines. Project Cars (the original) was an all-in simulation racer that made it almost impossible to play on console if you didn’t have a steering wheel. I don’t mind complex driving games (the first thing I do when buying one is turn off all assists), yet Project Cars was a different beast altogether. The fault might lie with me, but I got bored, quick, and soon fell into Gran Turismo again or whatever iteration F1 was out at the time. It was a shame. I had pre-ordered it, picked it up the day of release after months of waiting, only to stop playing two – maybe three – weeks in. I barely gave PC2 a look in.

But an all-in simulation racer PC3 is not. As I have been alluding to, I feel it fits more comfortably in the ‘arcade racer’ basket then ‘sim-racer’. This is because the cars are A LOT easier to drive when compared to past iterations of the game. There were times the back end got away from me and, somehow, beyond belief, I managed to save myself from hitting a wall or leaving the track entirely. Not so with Project Cars where if you merely braked in an awkward fashion your race might be over. Each car – whether it be a lowly road car to LMP1 prototype – feels more planted to the track. You start to feel that crashing isn’t an option – not really – that you’ve got this no matter how fast, how slow, how old, or how new a car might be; you start to have fun. And PC3 is fun, A LOT of fun.

Especially if you love cars. Especially if you love Motorsport. Let’s begin with the cars on offer. There were some I’d heard of, some I’d even seen race – the Formula E, the LMP1 prototypes, and the Indycar – but there were so many more I didn’t know, obscure racers from decades past that had all but past me by up until I played PC3. Cars like the Ferrari 333 SP, the 1961 Lotus Type 56, and the 1963 Agajanian Watson Roadster left me clamoring for my phone to find out more about them. The same goes for the tracks. Reading the chequered history of Rouen Les Essarts after throwing a Lotus Type 49C around the historic version of the track was great fun! Putting aside the re-playability factor relating purely to racing for racing’s sake, if you’re a bit of a Motorsport history nerd like myself, PC3 will keep you clamoring back for more for weeks, maybe months on end.

Sound: Each car sounds unique, impressive, and should be listened to on full sound if possible. PC3 has a soundtrack, but if I’m honest, I turned it off almost immediately. I prefer racing with no in-game music. But if you’re into that, I’m sure PC3’s soundtrack is perfectly adequate.

Awesomeness: PC3 isn’t perfect. But my enjoyment with this game wasn’t born from some hammed-up story of a young driver going from zero to hero or the level of immersion the graphics provided. I enjoyed this game because I enjoy motorsport. If you do too, PC3 is a must buy.

Final Word: After growing tired quickly of Project cars 1 and palming off PC2, I’m really glad I gave PC3 a shot because it exceeded my expectations and as I said earlier, if you’re a fan of racing games, then definitely give this a shot and you won’t be disappointed.

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