Project Cars (Hands-On Preview)

“Try to catch that car in front or just bring it back in one piece.” These are the deflating words of my pit manager when skidding around in last place on the final lap in Project Cars.

Project Cars is tough. With no driving aids turned on for my first play session with the new racing IP, I can’t help but feel the pressure mount as every time I look up in the Bandai Namco offices, I see a Dark Souls II poster – judging, mocking and not helping my blood temperature one bit.

Things improve though and despite the harsh challenge, which comes mainly from the handling rather than the AI (but more on those guys later), I found myself keen to iron out my racing sim wrinkles and lose those pesky kart racer habits. To be fair, it’s not like PS4 is exactly packed with skill-honing racing sims right now.

The initial cause of most of my accidents was trying to find a suitable camera angle. The game will spoil you for choice including low road, bonnet, roof, following, interior middle, interior driver’s side and a helmet cam which puts you directly behind the eyes of the driver, complete with the helmet’s inner cushioning viewable underneath. The new take on the helmet cam is slightly let down by the blurring effect during hard braking and tighter turns, it’s a real strain on the eyes and hopefully something we can toggle in the final build. Surely pro-drivers don’t get this much motion-blur in real life or they’d be filling their helmets with vom all the time.

The more realistic a driving game is, the more I find I prefer the interior viewpoints as the handling seems too removed with my arcade-favourite follow cam. This is very much the case in Project Cars too, although some of the tracks with upwards slopes can be extremely difficult to see what lies ahead over the rise from the interior views, but if anything, that’s better for anyone craving further realism.

Click here to read the rest of my preview at Dealspwn.

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