First off, the good news. Actually, make that great news – at the third attempt, Slightly Mad Studios has finally got pad handling in Project Cars feeling absolutely brilliant out of the box. It’s now possible to make Project Cars 3’s impressive roster of cars really dance, and do so without ever feeling out of control – they tend towards the lairy, but any insolence is quickly seen to by putting your boot down and applying a turn or two of opposite lock.
It’s good news because it means at last players can enjoy everything that makes Project Cars really shine. There’s the tracklist that takes in esoteric locales such as Cadwell Park and Knockhill, while folding in well-known classics, historic venues such as Rouen and a few fictional ones besides (there have been a few casualties of licensing deals this time out, with Le Mans and Spa seemingly absent – I’m awaiting confirmation on that – but Interlagos steps in alongside the Porsche test track in Leipzig and a handful of new city backdrops).
There’s dynamic weather that has you racing in sunshine one moment before a downpour has you sloshing around in puddles the next – and all the while Project Cars 3 looks beautiful. It’s an immensely impressive audiovisual experience, the cars’ barking that little bit meaner, their bodywork that little bit shinier. It is, on first impression, an absolute blast, and as close to being a Forza-beater as it’s ever been.