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Project CARS Preview

Project CARS Preview

Project CARS is the hotly anticipated sim racing title from British developers Slightly Mad Studios and that anticipation comes with good rights. The studio comprises of developers who have worked on some of the best racing franchises to date, including GTR, Need for Speed: Shift and Test Drive.

It's for that reason then that we've been expecting Project CARS to be more than just a little bit special. Bandai Namco, the games late joining publisher, invited us to their UK headquarters in London to take a look at the game as it currently stands.

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After a brief introduction to the menus and a quick guide on how to get around them, they hand over the controller so we can get stuck in. At this time, the game was set up for amateurs, where all beginner driving aids were turned off, except those relating to features you might find on a car, such as stability management, traction control and leaving the racing guide-line on. We blasted through a race around the Brands Hatch GP circuit against a few middle of the road AI cars without much difficulty. Then we upped the ante.

Setting the game into a mode for more advanced drivers was simple enough and there's a cornucopia of settings that can be adjusted to suit just about any racing fan's desires. While only a small feature, we did take note that you can disable lens flares. This should suit the purist in you who argues over the ideals that we're meant to be seeing through someone's eyes - and as such we wouldn't have any lens flares. After turning most of the aids off, and setting the HUD to completely off too for the most immersive experience, we had a few test laps with the previous car and track to get a feel for the changes. Settled in, we then chose to take a Lotus 98T around the Silverstone circuit in the pouring rain...

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Every corner was a lesson in careful throttle management, where too little was met with being passed by the rest of the pack and just one fraction too much left you pirouetting the track like a ballerina. You could feel the exact point where the car was given too much and there’s a split second in which you can redeem yourself. Any more than that and you’re done for.

There’s plenty of views to choose from, with cockpit, chase and bonnet views aplenty, but the real treat was the ‘helmet cam’. This places your viewpoint from within the helmet of the driver of the car and imitates looking to the apex as you approach a corner, with a slight lean in as you go. The difference that those small details make really sum up what Project CARS is going to be.

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Which brings us back to the summary of this article. Details. It’s what makes any sim worth playing. And the Project CARS developers are going above and beyond to not only make that happen, but to make it happen for racers of all abilities. It’s likely to unsettle some of the bigger names in the racing genre right now, or at the very least make them stand up and take notice of the new kid on the block.

Based on what we’ve seen, Slightly Mad Studios have their work cut out for them for sure. But we have every faith that they’re going to deliver.

Project CARS is set for release on PC, Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 on the 20th March 2015.

Steven John Dawson

Steven John Dawson

Staff Writer

When not getting knee deep in lines of code behind the scenes, you'll find him shaving milliseconds off lap times in Forza.

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Phil - 08:04am, 10th February 2015

Oooh! I really want to try Project Cars, it looks amazing! Nearly release!!