Marcelo Jabulas | @mjabulas – What drives any industry is consumer interest in what is manufactured. From pig iron to iPhone, only what is in demand is made. In the gaming industry, the logic is no different. And on the board of Slightly Mad Studios, now owned by fellow Codemasters, it was written in bold that Project CARS needs to change focus to sell more.
And it’s a fact that a lot of people frown because Project CARS 3 has ceased to be a simulator to become a SimCade (intermediate between simulator and arcade), like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. Indeed, the franchise has been undergoing a metamorphosis since its first title. When it was released in 2015, the first draft drew attention for its high difficulty level, exquisite physics and graphics.
It was too difficult a game to play. Anyone who wanted to prosper would have to dedicate themselves to exhaustion. It wasn’t impossible, but those who didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm and just wanted to jog didn’t take any chances. Despite this, it sold around 2 million copies in its first year on the market, which is no small number. Rather, a number relevant to a simulator. His rival Assetto Corsa sold 1.4 million, which is not nothing either.
In 2017, when he released Project CARS 2, the British producer saw that it was necessary to speak to two worlds at the same time: simulation players and those who wanted a game that was challenging, but not tortuous. The solution was to apply an assist system that balanced the level of realism and difficulty of the game.
For the franchise player, the big news was the dynamic climate and the passage of time. This required a strategy in the pit, as you had to be aware of abrupt tire changes, which increased the realism of the race and the difficulty of the game.
And while it was a beautiful game, with a terrific car roster and high marks, PC2 was ultimately not the intended goal, for two reasons. The PC1 player and Assetto were wary of betting on a game that could lose its big differential that was simulation. The second point is that it has practically merged with Gran Turismo Sport and Forza Motorsport 7, the great exclusives of Sony and Microsoft.
CARS Project 3
Now Project CARS 3 debuts with an even more SimCade-oriented proposition, following a path that has also been adopted in Codemasters productions. Grid shifted its focus from Dirt 5, which debuts in October, and adopted more casual gameplay as well. Anyone who has played Dirt Rally 2.0 knows how difficult it is to keep their car on track. Completing the stage is already a victory.
Codemasters had great success with Dirt 3 and saw their numbers drop in subsequent titles. In addition, SimCades is selling well. GT Sport has sold 8 million copies. And look, this is the second worst result for the franchise, which has racked up 85 million units in almost 25 years in the market.
And PC3 is looking for this new format. Immediately brings elements that seek a more immersive relationship with the player. It is possible to choose your pilot, with his gender, race and type of uniform.
Then in the tutorial, the player has the choice between four difficulty levels. That is, it simplifies the countless adjustments of its predecessor to the predefined profiles. Thus, the most layman of gamers knows exactly which option he falls into.
In the first test of the game, there are simple instructions for driving on the track, such as tangent points, braking moment, holding speed, and acceleration. But in a very didactic way, but it basically does the same as GT Sport cones.
It should be noted that instead of a real circuit, it is an urban layout, with few curves, aboard a Chevrolet Corvette C8, which does not surprise the player at first glance. Anyone who has played PC2 will remember that the first content available was a test of the cityscape of Long Beach with walls throughout and an unruly McLaren 650 that didn’t hesitate to end the game.
The game offers the player the opportunity to buy and modify their cars. It is possible to change components and modify the aesthetics of the car, as Gran Turismo has been doing since the 1990s and that was the formula for Need For Speed to be the most popular racing franchise in the world. the planet, with 150 million games sold since 1994.
In the initial list it is possible to win a Toyota 86, as well as a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI TME (Tommi Mäkinen Edition) or a Honda Civic Type-R (ninth generation). After that, start to “comb” your powerful. But rest assured, there are at least 200 cars, of different categories and almost 150 circuits, including circuits like Interlagos.
Compared to the first game, Project CARS 3 is a walk in the park. In our test, we went with the more purist mode, with all assistance turned off. And even so, taming the car didn’t take a lot of effort. If in the first two games every curve had to be calculated with maximum precision, now everything is easier.
It allows to force the car to the extreme. If it is too hot, let the tail come off and secure it in the counter steel. If it hits, no problem, the damage is only cosmetic. Try this on PC1 or PC2. The best scenario is to run without touching anything and have at least one chance to finish the race.
And speaking of proof. The races also follow the SimCade model. No stages with dozens of laps (although the predecessors allowed to reduce the percentage of races). Each race has two laps. But beware, an error can cost positions and the friend will not have time to recover from it.
If in the first game, the immersion was done through the emails of the team and the sponsors, as well as in the headlines of the news and the publications on the social networks and in the offers of contracts, as well as the infinite adjustments for each competition. Now it all comes down to escalating the player and his garage.
To move from one competition to another, you need credits, as well as resources to run the garage. A game logic very similar to the first Grid, from 2007.
Project CARS 3 is a beautiful game, as its predecessors remain too. But the best automotive polish is clear, along with more colorful backgrounds, a vibe from Forza Horizon, Need For Speed, and The Crew, plus the latest edition of Grid and the upcoming Dirt 5.
Project CARS 3 is a whole different game than anything the franchise has ever produced. For anyone who is a fan of simulation, the game can be a big disappointment. However, it is a user-friendly game for those who love racing games, but it will never be a priority to put together a kit with a seat, pedals, steering wheel, a bunch of monitors and spend Saturday adjusting the car. This is a game for those who love video games, cool cars, but without a commitment to realism. It’s plug and play.
With versions for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, with prices between R $ 250 and R $ 395.