When the first Project Cars were launched, it was considered the missing link between the real simulations and between the more “casual” games of Forza Motorsport and Grand Turismo. A placement next to the simulation that made it a less accessible game, more complex and imperatively updated at the wheel to get all the quintessence.
After a second work in line with the first, Slightly Mad Studios decided to change course and fill another gap in the proposals. If it hasn’t become as arcade as Need for Speed, Project Cars 3 is clearly positioned on that side compared to Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo.
A censored choice that, however, is not exempt from offering its share of good surprises, even in terms of driving, which requires acclimatization to every vehicle, whether road or sports.
Formula E as a spearhead
Before returning to gameplay, one of the first good surprises when navigating the game is the number of vehicles available, as well as the new features that are introduced.
Among these, we highlight the possibility of playing with Formula E Gen2 cars, which have been used since last year in the electric championship. The car developed by Spark is available with the colors of the teams of season 5. Please note that it is fun to finally be able to race them on Formula 1 circuits, something that had never been done before.
We also highlight the presence of IndyCar among the sports disciplines of the game. If the sensations with the American cars are not ideal, we have clung a lot to the modeling and driving of Formula E, which were especially successful.
The game obviously does not go into the details of each of the disciplines, and therefore we do not manage the autonomy of Formula E, in the same way that we do not have access to Push-to-pass in IndyCar.
In addition to these two disciplines, Project Cars no longer offers as many cars as before, where Formulas A, B and C were to represent F1, F2 and F3. Also in race cars, we find instead the new Corvette C8.R, which is the icon of the game and succeeds the McLaren 720S in this role.
A methodical and integral career modality
The race mode of this Project Cars 3 is classic, with a system of progression by categories, as you win challenges. The game offers us to buy a first car with which we will compete in a first series of races.
Wins and good results earn career points with which you unlock other disciplines, and credits that allow you to buy other vehicles.
As a Forza Motorsport, the game takes you through the ranks, category by category, and the early stages of your career can sometimes seem a bit long, driving cars that aren’t necessarily a lot of fun to drive.
But fortunately, the power increases rapidly and the front-wheel drive quickly gives way to rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, which provide more pleasure.
Road cars and more sporty race cars are clearly the most fun, and eating black bread at the start of your career is rewarded after a while when it comes to competing in sports cars.
Whether it’s hypercars like Lamborghinis, like the McLaren P1 hybrid or the electric Rimac C-Two, or racing cars like the Le Mans prototypes or Formula E, the fastest vehicles do well with radically changing gameplay. of that of the previous games.
Goodbye simulation, hello arcade
Project Cars 3 takes a radical turn from its predecessors and in this, we understand the criticism in this regard. For lovers of the rather sharp simulation that PC1 and PC2 knew how to be, this iteration will be clearly disappointing.
But does that make it a bad game? Absolutely not. Once you get used to the idea that Slightly Mad Studios has chosen to change its tune and that simulation is now the prerogative of Assetto Corsa or iRacing, you can fully enjoy Project Cars 3.
The only problem is low-power road cars, which suddenly seem too light for their low performance. In fact, in a game like Forza Motorsport, less powerful cars seem heavy to drive, and this reinforces and justifies the player’s sense of underperformance.
In Project Cars 3, the very look of arcade driving makes these cars nervous, without their restless nature being due to great maneuverability, which is not without creating a change in the player’s feeling.
This strange feeling is much less noticeable as you go up in the categories, and it is also what makes the interest in the race mode grow as it progresses.
The IndyCars still seem a little too nervous, but the feeling is very good on the side of Formula E, which offer a certain braking inertia and a nervousness that actually seems to be its own.
Price to pay for the change of direction in the gameplay, the steering wheel is no longer an essential tool to understand Project Cars 3 and get the most out of it. On the contrary: the game has almost no interest in better hardware, the controller does a great job of tackling his nervous driving.
If we add to this a slight disappointment in terms of graphics, the engine shows an age that was not when Project Cars 2 was launched, we can understand the disappointment of many observers against.
However, the sheer number of vehicles, as well as the fast-paced racing mode, make this Project Cars 3 a fun title for long hours … as long as you accept the twist given by Slightly Mad Studios in its development.