Project Cars 3 is a fantastic racing game, it plays wonderful, has decent depth in content, it performs great and looks fantastic.  It has just about everything you’d ever want for a racing videogame, however, its changes to appease to the casual racing fans, perhaps won’t please loyal fans of the series, especially for those that are big fans of the first two games in this series.  In-fact, the way in which Project Cars 3 is played and presented, it reminds me very much of a modern Project Gotham Racing from the OG and Xbox 360.

The issue that some purist fans might have with Project Cars 3 is that it now very much caters to causal fans and feels like its leaning more towards an in-between of having hints of both simulation and arcade, at least by default.  However, that’s not to say that Project Cars 3 doesn’t cater for loyal fans that want more of the simulation and somewhat unforgiving nature of the first two games, you just have to adjust your preferences in the deep tweaking options.  Likewise, if you want something resembling more of an arcade, stress-free nature, you can adjust the game just about any way you please.  So while some can argue that Project Cars 3 has lost much of its series identity, with the in-options and tinkering available to you, you can get pretty much get exactly what you want from this game and I think that’s great.

The main mode of Project Cars 3 is the career, here you will have around 12 different disciplined events, varying in classes for each car type and each discipline will have roughly four events in each.  By winning races and events, you will earn XP not only for your career, but your car type, event, track and more.  The better you perform, the more rewards you will be gifted.  Each race event will also come with in-race bonus tasks, such as overtaking a set number of cars within a short time limit or making a certain amount of perfect corners.  We’ve seen plenty of bonus objectives like this in a lot of racing games, but that doesn’t stop them from adding an extra competitive “one more race” feel.  Sure I can win a race and then move on to the next, but I found myself wanting to tick each of those objective boxes, not so much for the bonus XP, but more so for my own personal competitive nature.  As you progress in each event and discipline, you will then unlock more events and cars as you move up the ranks.

Of course Project Cars 3 features its own multiplayer modes, from Quick Play to jump straight into some online action, Custom Lobby to create your own race event, perfect for when playing with friends, and finally Scheduled Events, is pretty much what it says on the tin.  Scheduled Events are a series of set, scheduled races that are available during a set time window.  Once you’ve registered for your chosen race, you’ll then have some time to prep and fine tune your car, as well as partake in a qualifier to hopefully gain an advantage by starting higher up on the starting grid, in the hope of reaping the in-game rewards.

Normally I’m not overly keen on racing online, mainly because I’m not all that great, but it can get a little chaotic and let’s say that not all players will race fairly.  Thankfully, in Project Cars 3, similar to that of Gran Turismo Sport, you will also be rated on your sportsmanship, which should pit you against players of the same level, and if someone starts to race like an idiot, such as slamming on breaks, deliberately crashing into others or attempts to cut over the tract, much like in the singleplayer races, your car will essentially turn into a ghost car for a short period of time, slowing down in the process.  So Project Cars 3 does what it can to help make races as sporting and fair as possible.

Other modes includes Rivals, which is a singleplayer event that has you compete in a variety of timed Daily, Weekly and Monthly events set by the developers at Slightly Mad Studios.  The Rival events might have restrictions on the cars that can be used, as well as tuning or stipulations such as time and more.  By completing any Rivals event, you will not only earn bonus XP or credits, but your records will also be placed on the online leadboards and the more you rank-up and move up divisions, the greater the rewards will be.

In Project Cars 3 will you can also not only customise and tweak what’s under the hood, but also the visual presentation too.  It may not have the depth of cosmetic customisation to that of the Forza series, but there’s a decent amount in Project Cars 3 from its paint jobs, liveries, decals and more to add your own personal touch.  In the Showroom where you buy new cars to add to your garage, there are also timed special offers, so it’s worth checking the Showroom once in a while, just in case that expensive car that you’ve had your eye on, has been discounted.

Visually, Project Cars 3 might not be to the standard of Gran Turismo Sport, but it’s still a very nice looking game, where each car has been crafted with a high degree of love and attention to detail.  From the exterior to the interior, all the cars look and sound great.  Additionally within the settings, you can also prioritise between Framerate and Resolution.  Playing Project Cars 3 on the PS4 Pro, the game already looking great, I chose to prioritise the framerate, which doesn’t seem to make a huge difference, but I could still notice that the game at least performed a little more smoothly on the more detailed tracks, especially when there’s a bunch of cars all clambering around the corner.  So personally, I would recommend prioritising the framerate, especially with a game of this type where speed is of the essence.

All in all, Project Cars 3 is a fantastic racing game, which should be expected when you get the likes of Slightly Mad Studios calibrating with Codemasters.  Veteran fans of the series may be put-off initially by its more casual approach by default, but with a simple tinkering of the settings, you can make this game as gruelling and unforgiving as you please.  Personally I believe catering for all player types is a wise move, especially when it comes to online play, because the more people you accommodate, the stronger the online player base will be.  So please don’t let this put you off from picking up this game if you’re tempted, because whatever your taste may be, Project Cars 3 is one of the best racers out this year.