Project CARS 3, the review

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin
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There was a lot of curiosity about the return of Project CARS after the acquisition of the developer Slightly Mad Studios by Codemasters, which took place in November for a figure of about 30 million dollars. In our Project CARS 3 review we will demonstrate how the game has veered decisively towards a more arcade and less simulative direction, seeking a new balance and competing in many ways with another brand of the British publisher, GRID (although, it should be remembered, the title is distributed by Bandai Namco). Did this change of setting pay off?



A career Strength

From the initial screen it is evident that the Project CARS 3 offer was made taking Forza Motorsport 7 as a benchmark. The lion's share is entrusted to a renewed career mode which follows in all respects that of Microsoft racing: we therefore find numerous championships, each reserved for a particular category of vehicles, which must be completed in order to then unlock the following ones and have access to more performing cars.

The challenges are mainly represented by sprint races of two or three laps (depending on the length of the track), with the player always starting from the center of the grid. There are no qualifications and even the number of participants, which is generous in itself, is wasted on such fast grands prix. There are also some variations on the theme, such as the completion of one or more fast laps without smudging, but overall we do not find anything really original. The machines are divided by power, and the possibility of modifying them both aesthetically and mechanically has been introduced. The exterior customizations are limited to the color of the livery and the design of the rims, without adding aerodynamic details such as ailerons or side skirts.



From the point of view ofprocessing we find exactly the same items to which Forza has accustomed us: you can improve the brake calipers, the air filters, the injection and the camshaft, up to a "total conversion" of the vehicle to transform it into a top class racing car. Conceptually, therefore, apart from some events intended for particular categories of cars, the entire career can be completed with the same car, which not surprisingly increases in level with use, receiving discounts on updates and exclusive upgrades.

Change in order not to change

As stimulating as it may seem, in reality the tuning proves to be a double-edged sword since, being the upgrades common to (almost) all cars, it ends up standardizing the driving models in an even more marked way than that of the Turn 10 game, reducing, on more than a few occasions, the choice of the car to simple aesthetic tastes. During the career the difficulty curve rises progressively with the increasing of the categories, also maintaining the level of difficulty unchanged. However, it sometimes seemed that certain challenges were over-biased in favor of the CPU. The progression is rapid, rewarding and stimulates the continuation until complete completion; moreover the number of races and situations is decidedly abundant and able to entertain the user for many hours.


The main course is flanked by daily, weekly and monthly events (all aimed at increasing the level and expanding the garage) and personalized challenges in which to set the track, the number of laps and the participants. The sector could not be missing multiplayer which we could only try for a very short session before the publication of the review. A few minutes spent in the company of higher-level players (including two of the programmers) who confirmed the immediacy and accessibility of the driving system, very permissive with collisions, which allowed us to placements on the left side of the ranking despite its relative inexperience. Interesting, even if we have not had the opportunity to deepen it sufficiently, the system that assigns an evaluation to the driver both on the basis of driving cleanliness and respect for the opponents. In our tests, there were only eleven players, but there is a bet that the level of fun will rise when all 32 slots are occupied (the limit is reduced to 20 for consoles).


Four-wheel drive or two ice cubes?

In the triad of "simcade", the Project CARS series had always been characterized by a more marked simulation value, so much so that it could be appreciated, with due precision, only with a steering wheel. The password of Project CARS 3 is accessibility, even if the driving aids there aren't that many. Along the lines of what was seen in F1 2020, assisted trajectories and braking can be activated, transforming the game into a sort of train; then there is the possibility of activating ABS, traction control and stability control; the latter in particular makes the driving model decidedly artificial and you will soon feel the need to disable it. Without electronics, things improve, but there physics of the cars, entrusted to the NVIDIA Physx engine, returns unnatural sensations: we refer in particular to the mass of the cars, which all seem too light, as evidenced by both the sudden changes of direction obtainable even at high speeds and the exaggerated sensitivity to any type of curb and to the roughness of the asphalt, with behaviors that are difficult to predict. The sore point concerns the high mileage curves: if you miss the rope point even for just a few centimeters the car is literally made to translate outwards, regardless of the surface and speed, and there is no way to recover it. if not leaning, unrealistically, against the guard rails.


Hammer gas ... go!

In this way, you end up with very little partialization on the analog sticks, opening the throttle or pressing the brake pedal all the way, with the result of a driving model very similar to that of Shift 2 or GRID, to remain in the Codemasters portfolio. Not that this is necessarily a negative aspect: the car can be mastered in a few minutes, but good concentration is always required to avoid treacherous off the track.


Il gameplay manages to give some good satisfaction, but, as mentioned, it is a reversal that could hardly be digested by fans of the first minute. Here everyone must therefore make a reflection based on their needs. To complicate things comes anartificial intelligence anything but innovative. At an aggressive level, CPU-controlled drivers often ram the player or brake in corners to suppress any type of attack, avoiding adopting the same competitive fury between them; when you manage to take the lead, a rather difficult operation without using the hard way, you usually create a groove that is quickly filled with the first smudge. What is most perplexing is the attitude of some drivers who, at certain points on the track, seem to almost stop and then, once overtaken, tackle the following curves with a precision worthy of the best Lewis Hamilton. In such a framework, it should not be surprising that both pit stops, fuel consumption and tire consumption have been eliminated and that collision management does not lead to any danno (not even visual, except to the player's car who is not penalized anyway except when cutting corners).

Doors open

If there is one thing that is not lacking in Project CARS 3 is the variety: of course, we are light years away from the pharaonic Forza Motorsport 7 and its 829 cars (Including DLC), but the 211 models of the base game are still more than those of the previous title. We find the most famous brands, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, McLaren, Porsche; inevitably some exotic rarities are missing, but in such a generous park you will surely find your favorite racing car. In addition to the classic covered wheels, the Formula E Dallara also stamps the tag; the Bentley Speed ​​8 winner at Le Mans; even the Lotus 98T driven in 1986 by a certain Ayrton Senna.

Unfortunately, the problem of visuals: the one from inside the passenger compartment is difficult to use, while in those that shoot the car from behind we would have preferred a slightly higher camera to better dominate the asphalt. Also notable is the number of traced, which wind through 51 locations (twelve less than the predecessor), but whose total calculation, considering the various layouts, goes up to 121. There are real circuits such as Monza, Brno and Interlagos, but there are also no fictitious tracks and often very inspired, like the revived Mojave or the new entry Toscana. The same variety also recurs in weather conditions: not only can you run at any time of day or night, with rain, fog, mist or clear skies: there is even the possibility to choose the preferred season (unfortunately, however, the temperatures asphalt do not affect the grip of the tires).

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Sistema operativo: Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950x
  • Memory: 32GB RAM
  • Video card: NVIDIA RTX 2080

Minimum requirements

  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7 / Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3,5 GHz
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
  • Disk space: 50GB
  • Sound card: DirectX compatible
  • Broadband internet connection

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700k
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070

Graphics engine

The new arcade setting of Project CARS may or may not like; the judgment on the technical realization is much less subjective than that of the previous episodes. From the game menus (which seemed too inspired by the mobile world) one gets the impression that the title stopped a few years ago. This feeling is confirmed once the helmet is worn: we are not referring so much to the detail of the slopes, hardly noticeable in motion, but above all to the yield of the cockpits and cars. A direct comparison with Project CARS 2 shows how in this new edition the texture are flatter, almost impermeable to the lighting sources that made the 2017 racing action more vivid. Not only that: even the environmental effects, such as rain or dust raised by a track exit, are decidedly coarser and, to sharpen the hearing, it seems that even the sampling of the engines is a little less defined. This downgrade can be explained by the desire of Slightly Mad Studios to maintain a high frame rate even on consoles, where it is set to keep the ceiling of the 60 frames per second; certainly it is a dish that is difficult to digest by the PC user who, on average, has much more computational power. As can be guessed, the joypad (the Xbox 360 one was used for the test) is more than enough to have total control of the situation, so much so that a steering wheel is almost excessive.

Comment

Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 59,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

7.0

Readers (39)

6.9

Your vote

Those who expected from Project CARS 3 a chapter capable of making the classic leap in quality to the series created by Slightly Mad Studios, will probably be disappointed by a clear change of setting in the driving model, which is still pleasant and immediate, even if decidedly shallow. Difficult to digest for anyone (especially for PC users), the visible downgrade of the graphics, made necessary to maintain a good speed of execution, historical Achilles heel, even on consoles. A good variety of the car fleet, well-constructed tracks on average and a rich content offer, although not original, make it an alternative to be taken into consideration for those who have worn out their tires by dint of running on the Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo tracks.

PRO

  • Well done circuits
  • Lots of content
  • Immediate
AGAINST
  • Driving model that for some may be overly arcade
  • Fair graphics only
  • Unoriginal challenges
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