A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about performance race cars in this highly authentic professional-racing simulation game. All the cars in the game are real, as are the tracks they race on. To win -- especially without turning any driving aids on -- players will need to tune their rides, working out the resultant effect of various tire pressures and adjusting brake balance. As they play and analyze their vehicles, they also may deduce how specifications such as wheelbase and torque affect car performance. Other racing-simulation games provide better instructions and explanations of car parts and handling terminology, but Project CARS is still a good way for racing-obsessed teens to learn more about their passion.
Encourages friendly competition. No danger to pedestrians, public traffic. But glamorizes high-speed driving without showing realistic consequences.
Positive Role Models
Drivers have neither faces nor personalities. Team owners (who communicate via email) are generally pretty positive, offer constructive criticism, even when player loses races.
Ease of Play
This racer can be pretty challenging. Inexperienced players can turn on lots of assists to help with handling, braking, steering, but these don't eliminate frustrating spinouts, fishtails.
Violence & Scariness
Cars crash, break apart, but drivers are never injured.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Features scores of real cars, vehicle manufacturers. Billboard ads along the track promote real-world brands, such as Panasonic and GoPro.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the in-game ads promotes the well-known cigarette-lighter brand Zippo.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.