Project Cars 3 gets controversial reviews upon release

Project Cars 3 gets controversial reviews upon release

While Jimmy Broadbent and SuperGT are not convinced, some reviewers also liked the new Project Cars.

Photo credit: Project Cars 3 / Slightly Mad Studios / Steam

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this game. Project Cars 3 is officially out for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X since August 28. The game developed by Slightly Mad Studios got criticized by the community for going too much in an arcade direction. Reviews from various magazines and esports personalities range from favorable to deep disappointment.

A new Project Cars game always triggered discussions. Developer Slightly Mad Studios claimed their first two games to be full racing simulations. However, some fans in both cases criticized the game for having an arcade dimension to it, and for not being a full simulation.

PROJECT CARS 3 AND DIRT 5 NOMINATED FOR GAMESCOM AWARDS

The backlash in the community grew even bigger when first announcement trailers were released in summer 2020. The videos suggested the game would put even more emphasis on arcade features. When Slightly Mad Studios revealed they were going to remove pit stops, tire wear and fuel consumption for Project Cars 3, the community finally split up into two opposing camps.

One side favored the game going into a more ‘arcady’ and fun racer direction. The other side saw this decision as a death sentence for the franchise.

This division is also reflected in the game reviews.

Individual opinions vary greatly

Sim Racing YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent shared his thoughts on the game on his channel. He passes a hard judgement on the game, comparing it to a “mobile game”.

“In my opinion (…) it’s a game that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to stick to its hardcore routes or maybe go down that arcade route. And as a result, doesn’t do either of those things particularly well,” Jimmy tells.

Content creator SuperGT also shared his thoughts on the game in a video. His conclusion about Project Cars 3 still has a positive note: “If you can get over the fact that it’s called Project Cars and forget about Project Cars 1 and 2 for a second, then this game is good fun. I had some fun with it. If you are a fan of arcade games which has an element of sim about it, (…) it’s not going to set the world alight, but it’s not absolutely awful at the same time.”

But there are also some very positive opinions on the game floating around. Martin Robinson of eurogamer.net recommends the game, pointing out the variety of cars and tracks. He does not miss the lack of simulation elements and concludes that “it feels like the series might just have found its true calling.”

OverTake also took a very detailed look at it. How much simulation is left in the game? Does the shift towards an arcade playstyle hurt the franchise? Find all answers in our review of Project Cars 3:

Community more disappointed than critics

But after looking at some individual opinions, let’s look at what the general consensus is. First, we look at a summary of critic reviews. With a metascore of 73/100 the game does not really go through the roof, but the ratings are also not too destructive.

Most reviews point out the fact that while the game is quite fun to play, there are better alternatives on the market. By dropping the simulation aspect, Project Cars has lost its unique characteristic.

“The racing here is robust enough for some casual thrills and spills, but ultimately it cribs from so many other racing games that racing gamers probably already own that it’s simply inessential,” says Luke Reilly of IGN, rating the game 60/100. Our editor Marvin Miller rendered his own verdict on the game and its new identity in his column:

PROJECT CARS 3 – THE GAME NOBODY UNDERSTANDS

However, the reviews of the community are less forgiving. On release day, Project Cars 3 is currently holding a user score of 4.4 at Metacritic. Only 52 percent of Steam user reviews are positive about the game.

These numbers resemble exactly what we described earlier in this piece. Project Cars 3 has split the game’s community into two groups.

But what does developer Slightly Mad Studios themselves think about their own game? We interviewed Joe Barron, Head of Marketing and Esports in our weekly show Nitro Nights.

The ultimate question is: where is the franchise going? Will Slightly Mad Studios stick to the arcade game style? Reviewers saw some good approaches in the game. Maybe the next game will stand out against the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo when Slightly Mad Studios finally forges their own path by designing a full arcade racer.

For now, it seems like Project Cars 3 will not be a game we are going to remember. At least if you believe the reviews.

Maik Jahn
Born and raised close to the Nürburgring.