Project Cars On PS4

What we have here is a true anomaly on PlayStation: an uncompromising PC racing simulation, delivered in undiluted form to your PS4. It’s the kind of proposition that, theoretically, hardcore driving game fans dream about. But as OPM’s latest hands-on with the sim reveals, there’s a reason few developers have offered this type of experience on consoles before.

To give the game its dues, we must acknowledge another platform: PC. Development began as early as 2011 with the mighty beige box the game's only intended platform, and consequently it looks tremendous on home turf. Really incredible stuff. The console centric versions of the game simply weren't part of the original plan, and it really shows.

Not just in the disappointing and washed-out visuals on PS4 which are admittedly capable of taking some phenomenal screens under the right lighting conditions and external camera views, but do little to set the pulse racing when the game’s actually in motion. No, it’s also the ethos of the game that jars with the PS4 experience.

Because Project CARS is designed for hardcore racers, and hardcore racers use steering wheels, not gamepads. Connecting a DualShock 4 to control your vehicular experience is tantamount to asking for a knife and fork in Wagamama, so a considerable amount of Project CARS hugely detailed physics simulation is simply lost in digital translation from wheel to controller.

That’s important, because the handling itself is absolutely central to this game’s appeal. And sure there’s a chance you actually have a steering wheel for PS4. But with the market much smaller and less abundant with quality force feedback devices, it’s a slim possibility at that.

Pad control itself works fine, but it doesn't feel wildly different to previous Slightly Mad games such as Shift 2 Unleashed and Test Drive Ferrari Racing Legends whereas it feels transformatively better when using a steering wheel.

All this boils down to a game that’s destined for greatness elsewhere, but is currently floundering for a sense of purpose or personality on PS4. We can but hope Slightly Mad’s keeping a massive Gran Turismo esque career mode under wraps, and is capable of turning up the sexy a bit in visual terms before release. It’d be a shame for the enormous collection of over 70 cars and 80+ track layouts, and indeed Slightly Mad’s obvious talents in creating realistic driving models, to go to waste. Cross everything.

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