Project Cars PS4 Review

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The anticipation of playing the definitive racing game of this generation has been threatening to set off my engine management light for some time. Numerous delays and sold as seen releases had me concerned that wait may last for at least another season.

3 years in the making and slightly mad Studios have released Project CARS, which although that title sounds oversimplified, when you’re told it stands for Community Assisted Racing Simulator it gives you some idea to the depth and complexity on offer.

There are wide range of cars available from the start, the basic 125cc karts with their twitchy handling through to the Pagani Zonda R and then further to open wheel Formula 1 cars with their face tearing G forces. Whilst most, if not all, forms of racing are covered we have become accustomed to nearly an all-inclusive list of marque’s in competitive titles and in comparison Project CARS does feel light in this regard.

The standard range of game modes are available from participating in a racing weekend, online multiplayer to a full and unrestricted career mode.

Starting with a race weekend there is almost an endless array of options for you to toy with, race length, difficulty, time of day, weather and so on. You can just jump straight onto the starting grid or have a practice and qualifying session first, it’s all fully customisable.

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The career mode gives you the opportunity to start at any motorsport level you wish, you can begin your journey by following the same path as some household names such as Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton by working your way up from the Karting scene or jump straight ahead into a Formula 1 racing car.

At the start you sign a contract for the season, which from what I’ve seen has no impact on anything, there is no emotional or financial attachment to who you are racing for, you just race for them and they tell you how well/bad you are doing by email. Also looking to review your progress is your Twitter fan base, who will give you encouraging tweets as your season progresses

Of the countless options available to you, it’s the tweaking of the AI difficulty I found to be the most notable, if you feel you’re taking advantage of your opponents you can knock it up a number of notches until you hit your sweet spot, the game can be as demanding as you want it to be and its all the better for it.

The cars handling, for the most part, is impressively replicated, with each type of vehicle requiring you to adapt your driving style accordingly, concentration needs to be remain high and it may take a good while tinkering with the set-ups before you’re happy with your drive. From tyre pressure to ride height, suspension to gear ratios, it’s a tuners paradise.

The controller feedback feels as well as it can, however to get the full effect and experience for this game you’ll likely want to invest in a steering wheel, a Thrustmaster T80 or T100 will see you good.

Out on the track is where the game excels. The detail of the car’s interior is probably the best I’ve seen in a driving game, the vehicles themselves are also beautifully represented and at the very least on par with other driving competitors. There is also a varied range of camera angles to choose from, a few from inside the car and even one from inside the helmet. Driving in varying weather conditions as day passes to night with the shadows from the headlights off the chasing pack, it is a visual masterpiece.

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Project CARS is also host to some of the most famous racing circuits, Silverstone, Donnington Monza and Spa as well as the Le Mans track, and each of them are recreated beautifully. Playing and appreciating this game on PS4, I can barely comprehend how good this would look on a high end PC.

Online racing is fit for purpose and does work from the off, but currently I can’t see any official rankings for player matching and I think that this would improve the experience dramatically, if not just to make the racing competitive but to match up those who are looking to race and those who want to line up on the grid against the clones of Pastor Maldonado. There has also been mention online of some racers joining midway through a weekend session with a far superior car and that really needs cutting out if a fair race is to be had.

Ultimately Project Cars is a game that will require a lot of patience and time, and if you want to be the very best you’ll probably spend half of your time in the garage adjusting your setup and the other half justifying your racing wheel purchase to your wife/husband/parent/support worker. On most parts it’s as good as any of the competition, it’s just not yet, the definitive racer I’ve been looking for.

Dragonball Xenoverse Review

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Do you know your Kakarot from your Vegeta? Radditz from Piccolo? Well Dragonball Xenoverse wants to teach you all about the grandiose Dragonball saga, as you fight your way from the very beginning through to the end, joining Goku and friends to battle the forces of evil.

There have been a lot of Dragonball games over the years and they all cover the same material, in ever such slightly different ways, over and over again. DragonBall Xenoverse attempts to capture the same story but frame it in a completely different light and challenge you, as a created character, to ensure the correct outcome from the TV show. Creating your own character adds a lot of investment into the story. You’re deciding your race, shades of your clothes and even the glow of your energy around you – my pink haired Saiyan dominated in all competitions he faced. Trunks will be your guide through the story as you join the Time Patrol, an organization built to right the mistakes that are occurring through history and join the fight to provide an edge to defeat the evil faced through all of Dragonball Z’s history.

Battle_carrying_DragonballThe fighting is where the game excelled for me and also where I think most of its troubles lie. I’m by no means a fighting game expert, I dabble each year in some new release and get wiped the floor with until I quit. That wasn’t the case with Dragonball Xenoverse however, as the simple combos and special moves came easy to master and felt extremely powerful at my control. I was soon knocking down foes throughout the world with ease and enjoying my own performance. The combat feels a little stunted and dumbed down to appeal to a larger audience and really make the game hold relevance in the future, and while this is an excellent selling point for beginners or kids picking up their first Dragonball game. The fighting game enthusiasts aren’t going to find the depth here that keeps them hammering away to learn everything. In a single, fighter versus fighter battle the combat is empowering and easy to comprehend, but unfortunately this isn’t as common as a skirmish against multiple enemies and this is where the combat really starts to show its weakness. Too often you’re in a 2v2 (or 3v3) battle and are left fending for yourself as your ally bumps helplessly against one of the opponents. The necessary fast pace of the combat can often lead you to pulling off your best combo in mid-air and not quite being close enough to catch your opponent, or you’ll suddenly get attacked from behind because your ally has retreated to let you take on the three tough enemies.

Parallel Quests are little side quests that change things around and let you have some fun. My favourite being searching Namek for the Dragonballs, but you could also go toe to toe with Gohan and Piccolo or a whole host of different scenarios for you to enjoy. These quests are fun and offer some excellent rewards for your character while breaking up the momentum of the story nicely. Dozens of these smaller quests appear throughout the story and offer some things completely different to the story that you know and love.

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Levelling up your character adds a driving force behind everything and makes the Parallel Quests something you want to do to boost your power levels. The addition of armour and special abilities as you go make the systems extremely interesting. Although levelling does add to your base statistics it’s not as effective or as fun as messing with the different armour choices you can attach to your character to give them the edge against the Frieza’s or Cell’s of the world.

The multiplayer component to Dragonball Xenoverse can be fun to pit your character against friends but unfortunately the combat just doesn’t have the same level of efficiency as other fighters that are currently on the market. While I found this entertaining to play with friends but against strangers it just didn’t feel like it held up as well and the stress over missing combos or special moves overwhelmed any fun that could be had.

Conversation_with_TrunksOverall this is a fantastic platform for people to experience the Dragonball saga either for the first time or as an aged veteran of the series. You’re going to meet and train with your favourite characters on the hub world, while seeing all the highlights of the Dragonball series by interacting and having the ability to feel like you’re changing things. While the fighting doesn’t hold up through the length of the game, it does hold a lot of fun and makes it very easy for newcomers to pick up and play and actually feel like they’re achieving something. This was most useful for having friends around and wanting to beat them and not spending too much time teaching them the basics.

If you’re looking to experience the highs and lows of Dragonball in stunning HD then this is the product for you. I doubt it’s got the staying power or the true competitive nature of other fighters but overall this presents a great package to keep you challenged and coming back time and again to see everything they have to offer.