Project Cars and its direct sequel were runaway successes building up quite a large following over the years. Project Cars 3, however, has seemingly launched out of nowhere with very little fanfare or marketing hype surrounding it.
Does the third game in the series deliver more of the same quality we’ve come to expect? Unfortunately the answer to this question is a mixed bag and one that depends on your tastes more than anything else.
Diving straight into the rather massive gameplay changes Project Cars 3 brings to the table, developer Slightly Mad Studios have opted to make the game far less simulation focused and far more arcade-esque.
The game kicks off with players being given a car and a race to get through. Once that’s done, you’ll use your winnings to purchase your first car. This will be your pride and joy for quite a while as you’ll need to win races to earn more currency to purchase new vehicles. This is quite similar to the approach Forza Horizon 4 took.
However, while this sounds good on paper, Project Cars 3 has introduced objectives to races. Meet specific conditions and you’ll unlock more rewards. So instead of focusing just on the racing, players will have to try to check off a range of tasks in order to officially “complete” a race. It’s not good enough to just come out first here and it’s a bit of an annoyance more than anything else to be quite honest.
This is especially for those who are completionists since you’ll see unchecked objectives next to races in the main menu. Some of these objectives are quite hard to achieve as well and will require a significant amount of practice. Arguably this does add to the game’s longevity though.
Racing in Project Cars 3 doesn’t feel as enjoyable as it should be. When you load up the game the first time there’s a range of driving assists available which can help you get to grips with it. However, these assists feel terrible in action and turning them off immediately made a massive difference to the gameplay.
Driving feels on the heavier side of things. This may be a side effect of the game’s arcade style approach and one that might take some getting used to. If you’re playing on PC, you’d best want to break out a controller because attempting to drive with a mouse and keyboard is not going to be a fun experience.
On the actual race tracks, the game displays markers which assist with taking corners. These visual queues aren’t necessary but they do help with getting to grips with the game’s mechanics. The A.I is quite aggressive by default but not unbeatable.
After a couple of races, you’ll be pretty used to the controls and shouldn’t have much trouble beating the competition. Upping the difficulty enables a score modifier which leads to more rewards at the end of a race. It’s quite a shame that the actual racing doesn’t feel as great as it should be especially since there’s so many tracks available to race on.
Graphically, Project Cars 3 looks great with all settings maxed out on PC. Cars are quite shiny in the showroom but are slightly less so on the actual track when racing. The environment’s aren’t exactly mind blowing and the weather effects in the game have been toned down immensely.
With that said though, the game’s photo mode still delivers some great visuals and players will definitely be spending quite a lot of time taking screenshots using this feature. Unfortunately the damage effects have been decreased and coupled with the fact that the game heavily penalises you for hitting barriers or walls, you probably won’t get to see much of the actual damage on the car you’re driving. Ultimately, Project Cars 3 isn’t as pretty as it should be for a 2020 videogame.
Project Cars 3 is a game that’s trying too hard to be something it’s not. Project Cars and Project Cars 2 nailed the simulation racer aspects down and Project Cars 3 taking a drastic turn into the arcade-esque racer genre just makes the entire thing feel like a watered down product. If you’re a fan of racing games, it’s hard to recommend Project Cars 3 when competing titles such as Forza Horizon 4 deliver a better package overall.