Published on August 19th, 2015 | by Don Parsons0
Dear Project CARS, Please Try Again
Racing games and shooters are my two favorite genres for video games. I have spent dozens upon dozens of hours with every Gran Turismo, probably well over a hundred hours with the second and fourth installment, each. I like simulation racing and arcade racing, with Need for Speed Underground 2 being a personal favorite right alongside Gran Turismo. And most recently, I have fallen in love with the Forza Motorsports series, as well.
As far as sim-racing goes, there are two kings – Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsports. I’ve tried nearly every other racing game in the sub-genre, and have never been impressed. Up until May, when Project CARS was released, I was pretty excited for the new sim game. There was quite a bit of hype for me and I was very open to a challenger to the two kings.
Then I saw the list of cars. This is an important aspect, maybe not so much for some, but for someone genuinely into cars and someone who was once really deep into car culture, it’s a huge deal. A deal breaker, even. The lack of several key “road” class cars kept me from playing this at launch and reviewing the game. Several cars, off the top of my head, should have been included. Cars like the third-generation Mazda RX-7, the late Nissan GT-R, the Honda NSX, or even the Chevrolet Corvette in any of its iterations. Smaller variants that may not be a threat to any of the aforementioned cars but still a hoot to drive were also missing, like the Mazda Miata, the Honda Civic Type-R, or the Nissan Silvia.
Some people think having hundreds upon hundreds of cars, like the last Gran Turismo, is a waste of time and effort. I know I am not alone when I say I have spent countless time tuning and racing various models of the Honda Civic Type-R. Having all of those off-shoots is for car geeks like me, car geeks that this game seemed to be catering to.
But it wasn’t just the car selection that angered me about Project CARS, that was just the reason I didn’t buy it or even play it at launch. When I finally did sit down to play it recently, I put that all behind me and decided to give it a go with an open mind.
I’ll admit, I love how they handled the career. With my very limited play time, I felt other sim-racing games could learn from this aspect of the game. Each event had a couple of races, you get points counted towards a season, and then a season champion is granted. The seasons in the beginning were pretty short, and I ended up winning the season by 1 point (59 points total) despite not winning one first-place podium. That was a great feeling.
But then more disappointment creeped in. I sampled a few different cars, and the handling did not feel great. I realized at this point I was just not enjoying myself. I had music playing, I was singing along, and if this were Forza, I would be having a ball. I was not however, and when that realization sank in, I turned the game off. I can’t explain what it was about the handling, maybe that it just felt too stiff with a controller and I wasn’t used to it, but it didn’t settle in with me. And I was not going to give it more time due to the serious lack of cars.
There is a good foundation here, with an enticing career, but Project CARS (or a sequel) would need a serious injection of vehicles to make a competitor in its field. Maybe add a few disciplines, like Super GT (formly JGTC) and Formula DRIFT to spice things up, with a massive roster of cars, and Project CARS 2 could be a winning game. In it’s current state, Project CARS feels like a demo, a sampling of what could be good.