Thanks to a convenient digital event, we were able to preview Project CARS 3, the new racing game of Slightly Mad Studios. Will it be the culmination of the series?
Racing games may no longer be at the top of the mountain of sales as they once did, but the decline in popularity of the genre has led to the consolidation of some historical series, which have now divided the main slices of the market. If we talk about “mixed” racing – that is, with such a complexity that even lovers of simulation can be passionate, but built on basic mechanics that are accessible enough to bend to anyone’s will – there are obviously two dominant brands: Forza and Gran Turismo ; many have tried to slip into this clash, but never really managed to unhinge these very heavy names from their position. Project Cars of Slightly Mad, however, he managed to navigate the same stormy sea of these giants, and to float well enough to arrive today at a third chapter, which we were able to observe a few days ago thanks to a comfortable streaming event.
Of course, not being able to test the gameplay by hand is a big lack when it comes to titles where the feeling of the car and the feedback of the controls are everything, but this does not mean that important information was missing during the presentation. So let’s start, why Project Cars 3 it could be the chapter of the consecration, designed to correct the flaws of the two however valid predecessors.
One of the most important elements of the new Project Cars 3 is undoubtedly the career, structured around a gradual progression, with ten upgradeable car classes and numerous achievements in between. The structure is reminiscent of Polyphony games, but in the mix there will be special races and new modes, more in line with Forza Horizon (although we don’t believe there will be competitions against planes and other similar events). Everything will be managed around an experience system with different rewards based on the difficulty selected (even the elimination of driving assists counts), and there shouldn’t be the strange peaks of the challenge level seen in the second chapter, thanks to management better than the basic structures of the vehicles in the various categories. No uncontrollable catherams in races for beginners or brutally aggressive drivers in very slow categories therefore: Project Cars 3 is a title developed to be a completely customizable experience, complete with a division between aggressiveness and artificial intelligence ability in a convenient editable menu before the races.
Getting there first, however, will not be essential to progress. The achievement of which we spoke previously are objectives during competitions, which if completed often offer significant experience points and credits even to those who do not dominate the top positions. The credits can then be used to unlock events of any kind, which allow the player to avoid categories that are perhaps not suited to their style of play to concentrate on their favorite ones. In short, you do not want to force the player to follow a predefined path, but to give him the possibility to customize his path from start to finish.
However, we were talking about “upgradeable” cars. It was not a random release: Project Cars 3 has a remarkable focus on tuning, with the possibility not only to buy new cars with the credits obtained, but also parts to significantly improve their performance, which also significantly change their appearance in the race. According to what we learned during the interview, the tuning is so massive as to allow the game’s four-wheelers to rise in category, if a certain specific score is exceeded which indicates the power of the car.
This type of tuning, for obvious reasons, makes the balancing, but the developers seem to have found a good reading key to solve this problem, reworking the data of the previous titles around the new performance changes. Slighlty Mad, in a nutshell, promise a significantly more balanced experience than in the past, and seem convinced of their words.
Not only have the singleplayer modes been improved in every way: the multiplayer it will boast scheduled events (an improved and more constant version of weekly competitions), with variable starting during the day according to the region, and rules set by the software house. Each event will have commendable rewards, plus a new (and sacrosanct) matchmaking calculated around the skill of those who sign up. The team also did a great job on server stability to avoid unpleasant incidents.
THE Community Eventfor their part, will be eliminated in favor of the new mode Rivals: a series of challenges with dedicated points and periodic seasons. It is, of course, time-based competitions, with Ghost opponents constantly updated while driving, to improve more and more in performance and dominate the rankings. A type of gimmick used in various games lately to keep interest high throughout the year, which is nice to see also here.
And the gameplay? As said it is not easy to give an initial evaluation without being able to try the game directly, but according to the words of the developers the control with the pad has been completely renewed, and they are really very proud of the result (infinitely higher than that of the predecessor, if you believe to their claims). Various improvements, of course, have also come for those who use the steering wheel, and the system seems to have become more intuitive than in the past, but much more scalable and perfected in each element. Perhaps the least retouched thing in the title is the technical sector, in truth, given that the engine is the same, the system linked to atmospheric conditions remains that of the 2 (in truth remarkable, therefore it would have made no sense to change it), and the steps forward there they seemed rather marginal. Not bad, however, the Slightly Mad title remains valid in this aspect.
Project Cars 3 is thought to be a larger and more refined version of the predecessor, whose most extreme distortion concerns the greater focus on tuning. All rather obvious, but still absolutely excellent, for a game that wants to establish itself as the number one cross-platform contender in this field. It is difficult to validate everything that has been said without direct evidence, unfortunately, but that will come in due course … for now, what has been shown has tickled us, and it seems to us that the game has all the credentials to eliminate the defects of the predecessors.
- Every element of the previous chapters has been perfected
- Online improved, and more care for gameplay with the pad
- Until the direct test it is difficult to quantify the improvements to the gameplay