A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Project CARS is a professional racing simulation game set on closed circuits, which means there's no risk of crashing into nonracing traffic or hitting pedestrians. But race cars traveling at high speeds frequently crash into each other -- often in spectacular, car-totaling fashion, though without any injuries to drivers. Authentic car tuning means players with a passion for cars could learn more about the mechanics and workings of their favorite vehicles. Keep in mind, though, that the depth of realism extends to car handling -- just keeping vehicles on the track can be a challenge -- along with the promotion of real-world vehicle makers plus billboard advertising. This game can be played online with open-text (PC) and open-voice (console editions) communication.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
PROJECT CARS is an authentic, detailed, European-style professional racing game featuring scores of genuine cars and dozens of real-world racing circuits. A season-based campaign sees players signing contracts and racing with teams in categories ranging from Superkarts to Formula series as they work through a full calendar year, earning trophies, endorsements, and accolades along the way. Players interested in creating their own idea of a perfect racing weekend can design and customize their own full weekend events, complete with practice and qualifying stages. Similar customization is allowed in the online mode, where players can opt either to join an existing custom session or create one that meets all their favorite parameters. A community area, meanwhile, provides more challenges for fans of online play. Players also can head to the garage area to view any of the game's cars, learn more about them, customize colors and tuning, and take pictures using a powerful photography module.
Is it any good?
Project CARS targets a very specific type of racing-game fan: people who prize authenticity over gimmickry. There's no blaring music, no ability to rewind races to recover from crashes, no cash rewards or experience-based leveling systems. Instead, players are simply provided with beautifully modeled cars that handle much like the real McCoys and an almost never-ending series of racing events set on real-world courses. It's an undeniably gorgeous game, with exacting details -- especially inside car cockpits -- and some dazzling weather effects. Familiar courses such as the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca are perhaps more lifelike than they have been in any other racing game, especially if you're playing on a tricked-out gaming PC.
But the key to whether you enjoy it hinges on whether you can get the car handling just right. Avid auto enthusiasts likely will go straight to manual shifting, turn off all driving assists, and relish in the realistic challenge, but even slightly less fanatical car lovers will want to tinker with the driving aids and computer AI settings to see which ones make the game more enjoyable. Just because you played a game such as Forza Motorsport 5 with most assists off doesn't mean you'll be able to do something similar with much success in Project CARS; fishtailing and spinouts are very possible, even with almost all aids turned on. It can be frustrating, especially at first. If you can find your handling sweet spot, however, Project CARS could become your new favorite racer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. Is the ability to communicate with other players in a racing game important enough to turn on text or voice-chat features? Why would you want to override or bypass language filters?
Discuss driving safety. What are some safer ways that older teens can indulge their need for speed? Why should you not race on city streets?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Subjects: Science: momentum, motion, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, deduction, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Namco Bandai
- Release date: May 7, 2015
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptors
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.