When I think of playing a simulation racing game on a console, especially if I’m playing on the Xbox One platform, my default choice would be the latest installment in the Forza Motorsport franchise. Slightly Mad Studios released Project CARS, their first attempt at giving the Forza franchise a run for its money almost a year ago. While I won’t be giving you a full review of Project CARS: Game of the Year Edition, I will be reviewing what’s makes this not-so-new but definitely bigger version a possible addition to your gaming library.
It’s becoming more and more commonplace for a variety of games, across all genres to get the GOTY treatment. Project CARS has also now joined that not-so-exclusive club. If you’ve played the original, you’ll probably remember a game with solid visuals, a decent variety of cars to choose from, lots of real-world race tracks, and an abundance of customization options to melt your brain. A plethora of DLC car packs were made available for the next few months following the game's release representing additional brands and manufacturers.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the Game of the Year Edition has compiled all of the original DLC released since the game's launch almost a year ago, but there’s also a tad bit more of new content added just for this release: an additional 50 new cars, 4 new race tracks, and more than 500 overall improvements to the game. Those who played the original version of the game will also be pleased to know that there’s two exclusive cars from Pagani Automobili, the Hydra BC, and Zomda Revolucion. Also, what’s considered one of the world’s most demanding race tracks, the iconic Nürburgring Combined Nordschieife + GP is exclusive to this version of the game.
It’s very apparent that the team at Slightly Mad Studios have listened to fan feedback as the GOTY Edition has a better feel to it. There are still some AI bugs and some odd glitches that’ll make you want to pull your hair out as you’re repeatedly hitting the restart race option. Overall, the core gameplay is nowhere near the bug-riddled mess it was when the original Project CARS launched last year. It makes me wonder why the team didn’t just postpone the initial launch until these glitches could be worked out and release a more stable-running game.
Project CARS is a without a doubt one of the most technically challenging racing simulations I’ve ever played. There is a high level of technical realism that might be overwhelming to players. Unlike most games, you don’t unlock anything through progression, all modes and options are available to you as soon as you press play. There are almost too many options if you’re looking for something to just pick up and play. If you are a Gearhead and love have the ability to tweak everything from your tire pressure to the frequency of when your car should return for a pit stop to make repairs, this might just be the game for you. It’s a shame that there’s nothing built into the interface to explain how each option can possibly benefit or complement the style of racing you’d like to play. I imagine most players will leave much of the settings in their default state.
Project CARS Game of the Year Edition has tons going for it. It still looks impressive, has an ample amount of cars and tracks to choose from, and a wealth of customization options that will make your head spin. Despite any real guidance for players new to the game, once you get accustomed to how the cars and AI treat you, there’s a tremendous amount of depth for those with enough time and patience to discover it. If you’re new to the game, you might check it out and keep an eye out for patches and updates that improve stability. If you’ve played the original I’d say skip this one and wait for Project CARS 2.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on Xbox One version. Also available for PS4 and PC.