Project Cars 3 Review: More Is More

Project Cars 3 Review of the new racing game
Project Cars 3 Review: Identity Crisis? (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Project Cars 3 is no longer a sim racing game and maybe that’s the best thing that could have happened to the praised racing game series from developer Slightly Mad Studios as our Project Cars 3 review shows.

Project Cars stands for ultra-realistic sim racing games, but the third installment is different. Less realism, more fun – just like Forza Motorsport. And maybe that’s the best decision that could have happened to the game as our Project Cars 3 Review proofs.

Project Cars 3: Ready, Set, Go!

Project Cars 2 has quickly become one of the most influential sim racing games of the decade. But part three has not just become more colorful and beginner-friendly, it is also more varied and fun.

It’s a Simcade racing game just like Forza Motorsport 7 and feels more like a third Need for Speed: Shift than a successor to PC2. A change in direction that the game’s fan base didn’t like. But after dozens of hours with Project Cars 3, we can say: The game does a whole lot right and is more fun on the track than its two predecessors. Tastes differ, but we like Project Cars 3. A lot.

Project Cars 3 Gameplay PC
Project Cars 3 is packed with more colors and more fun. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Project Cars 3 Gameplay: Pedal to the Metal

The first look isn’t too good though: The main menu is brightly colored and there are tutorials all over the place. What the hell is going on here?

But, as always, the first impression deceives. After hitting the first track in the game’s career mode there’s nothing but fun to be had with the brand-new racing game. Project Cars 3 is walking the fine line between casual-friendly gameplay and demanding realism – and it’s great.

Beginners are offered a whole lot of driving assists while pros have to fight hard to keep the powerful race cars on the tracks. The handling model works great. Not as realistic as iRacing but more challenging than GRID or Forza 7 – even with a controller.

Project Cars 3 Hypercar Gameplay Nürburgring
Hitting the best race tracks with the best race cars is just so much fun. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Variety Reigns

Handling is great, but Project Cars 3 excels in variety. Over 200 cars and 121 tracks layouts are in the game, so there’s a whole lot of content here. From classic muscle cars to Formula race cars and Hyper Cars – Project Cars 3 has them all. But variety doesn’t end here.

There are many of the world’s most iconic racetracks in the game like Nürburgring or Silverstone, but also some lesser-known locations like Oschersleben or the official Ferrari test track in Fiorano. But there’s even more: How about cruising down scenic Côte d’Azur in France or marvel at Monument Canyon in the USA?

Project Cars 3 isn’t only about finishing first in a race, too. There’s time attack, special events, challenges, and even unique Breakout-events where you aim for smashing colorful road signs to earn points. Enough content to get you going. For hours and hours.

Project Cars 3 car tuning feature
You can upgrade your cars with a new tuning teature. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

A Lot of Grind

But unfortunately, career mode comes with a whole lot of grind. Yes, there are ten classes with four race series each and many special events, but to reach a higher class, we have to fulfill specific requirements during the races.

While most of the time this is fun, it can get pretty frustrating at times, as you have to start some events over and over again to earn enough price money for affording a new ride. And Project Cars 3 can be very punishing and frustrating because there’s no rewind feature in the game. A crash in the final corner means we have to start all over again. Pretty frustrating, right?

What’s cool about Project Cars 3 is the brand-new tuning feature. We install new breaks or a better engine to pimp our ride and transform a standard car into a race card and that’s fun. Nothing new, but fun.

Project Cars 3 cockpit hypercar
It can get pretty realistic. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Technically Inconvincible

Project Cars 3 graphics is the game’s biggest problems. In one moment, the game just looks gorgeous with beautiful reflections on the wet streets and impressive lighting. But in the next moment, there’s ugly grass, exaggerated lighting und (strangely only sometimes) washed-out car models.

Dynamic weather is there, too. While realistically forming puddles are great and change how the car behaves on the track, the rain effects look pretty outdated.

Oh, and the damage model is still far from what we’ve seen in other games. Crashing our rides leads to bumps and optical damages, but without any effects on the car’s handling. Underwhelming.

Conclusion: Project Cars 3

Identity crisis? Nope! Project Cars 3 is a hell of a ride and a lot of fun. It’s more colorful and easier to get used to but so much more fun on the tracks. Career modes offers enough variety, to motivate you for hours and hours. But it’s the racing experience on the tracks, where the game really shines.

Graphics and damage model could be better, but everything else is really convincing. While die-hard sim racing fans still cry about lacking realism, everyone who’s into racing games will enjoy Project Cars 3. It’s just one of the best and varied racing games of the year. IF you are willing to give it a chance.

As always, you can read more about racing and esports on EarlyGame.