In between an anticipated Forza or Gran Turismo game, there has to be some bottom feeders filling the “new car game” void. In this instance, for me, it is Project CARS. I know, I know, I’m over a year behind on playing this title, but it was one of April’s free games on Xbox One Games with Gold. And since pre-orders are already going for the much anticipated sequel Project CARS 2, this review will be semi-relevant. Here we go.

Graphics: Right off the bat I found the graphics a little dull. Sure the accuracy of the cars and all the polygons for smooth edges are there, but it didn’t have the magic other car games seem to have. Maybe because this is a hyper-realistic racer Slightly Mad Studios chose not to jack up the vibrance on all of the textures, but I like my video games to pop.

On the plus side, the added weather effects are awesome. Racing while water pounds on your windshield adds a whole ‘nother level of excitement.

Gameplay: In short, Project CARS is hard… really hard. If you’re used to playing Need For Speed, Forza Horizon, or even driving a Warthog in the Halo series, you’re not going to enjoy this game at first. And if you think you’re a great racing simulation driver, Project cars will humble you. Other than that, all of the typical assisting mechanisms can be added or removed.

Driver Perspective: Project CARS had a couple of new perspectives that were worth noting. There is only one perspective that shows you the entire car and the default is too “zoomed in” for me, however the distance can be changed in the over-complicated menu (more on that later). Another unique one is the option to sit right in the middle of the car – picture sitting between the driver and passenger seats – but I’m not sure what the advantage is there. Finally, my favorite one is the helmet view. In this view you can see the top and bottom of your helmet, edges get blurred, and sounds get muffled as if you were actually there. Cool!

Menu: The menu is insane and the tutorial on how to use it is too long. Why can’t I just click quick race, select my car, and then hit go? I’ll probably get mad just typing out how much I don’t like the menu system so just play it for yourself. I guarantee that at least once you will think, “Hm, this could be easier.”

Car Variety: This could be disappointing or enjoyable depending on who you are. There are a little over 70 cars when you include all of the downloadable content. About half of those 70 are unique ones that you will only see in a professional racing series and not on a real road. If you’re used to selecting and modding from a list of over 300 sports cars, this is not the game for you.

Extras: There are a pot load of extras that I didn’t even get the time to try out. Project CARS works with just about any steering wheel setup on the market, is compatible with Oculus Rift for virtual reality (this would be amazing in helmet view), and supports 12K resolution / 4K surround for those of you with a 3-monitor setup. You can even purchase an exclusive Project Cars racing seat with steering wheel and pedals for a cool $500 ($434 on sale).

Other extras include an extensive “Driver Network” for playing online and, the most intense of all, a Project CARS ESports season. I am not anywhere near good enough to do this but you can register yourself or a team on the Driver Network and literally compete to potentially win prizes. That’s pretty slick!

Summary: Project CARS, although lacking numbers in the latter part of its name, is too intense of a racing game for me. Maybe I’m not even the best person to review this game. It is straight up for competitive racing gamers and doesn’t offer much for the casual player who likes to just put new rims on their car and drive around a track. However, if your a competitive ESports gamer, then I wouldn’t look anywhere else but Project CARS. Not this one though because it’s old.

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I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.