When flames shoot out the back, you are either going really fast, or need to find a garage pretty darn quick.

Wrestling With Control in Project Cars


I know this will probably end up being the first article in a long time that will be censored, but I really need to get this out right now. I am writing this at 5am on Wednesday night/Thursday morning after spending nearly all day trying to get one game to run properly.

That game is Project Cars.

When flames shoot out the back, you are either going really fast, or need to find a garage pretty darn quick.
When flames shoot out the back, you are either going really fast, or need to find a garage pretty darn quick.

I wasn’t planning on getting this game at first, but I made my decision earlier this week when I decided to sell my New 3DS. Over the past few weeks I noticed it just sat there on my bedside table, not being played, so I thought now would be a good time to get it traded in, and possibly preorder a few titles. I had The Witcher 3 in mind for a while anyway, so why not?

So I once again take it to my favorite game shop, eStarland, as they claim they have the “best trade in values on the planet,” a claim that I will pretty much agree on after personal experience.

Earlier this week I decided to trade in my New 3DS, as it was just sitting on my nightstand collecting dust. There was nothing I was interested in playing on it, and I figured since it was relatively new I would get a good value on it. Before heading there I checked the trade in page on their website to see how much it would go for. The New 3DS wasn’t listed but the previous model went for $94.50 for a complete trade in. So after reading that I figured I’d get about $110 to $120 for my New 3DS…

They offered me $150, much to my surprise. So with that, a copy of Ultimate NES Remix, an AC Adapter, and some credit still in my account, I ended up with $165. With that credit, I just decided on getting $150 worth of Xbox Live currency to download some games. So when I got home I did my immediate purchase of the Witcher 3 with Expansion Pass (due to a Gold discount) and also purchased the Xbox One version of Shovel Knight (as I wanted to play it with the Battletoads content, please Phil Spencer, announce a new Battletoads at E3!) With all of this, I have about $65 in credit left over (including $5 that was already in my account due to Xbox Live Rewards) and I went over the entire library to see what I wanted to purchase. I could have purchased the Game of the Year edition of Shadow of Mordor, but since I beat it already I passed. Same for the digital version of Saints Row 4 Re-Elected with Gat Out of Hell, but again, I finished it already So with Project Cars being released earlier this week, I decided to take the plunge and purchase it.

So I waited for both Project Cars and Witcher 3 to download and when I finally got time to sit down and play Project Cars, I could tell that I was going to have some issues. I’m used to some of the harder racing simulations I have played before, but nothing like this. When I first started the career mode, I was actually surprised to see how I can start my career from any tier I wanted to. So as I usually do to get the full experience, I started the game from Tier 8 which started with kart racing.

So I get started with my kart racing career, and from the first start I knew the controls were off. The steering was at times too sensitive, and at other times non-responsive at all. I even noticed at times when I sharply moved from turning left to right or vice versa, the controls would lock up and I was stuck turning left. I thought to myself there was no way that Slightly Mad Studios would leave the controls broken like this, even after delays.

Thankfully I came across this Youtube video that explained that the default control scheme is designed for those who are using racing wheels instead of a controller (which wouldn’t make sense because how many X1/PS4 owners use racing wheels,) but it did help provide some guidance with getting the controls to work.

So I give this guy’s advice a shot, and for the first set of races it seemed to work better. Despite feeling very loose I had more control over my vehicle. The turn locking was gone but I still had issue with idle drift. To fix that I increased the deadzone size, and that too was resolved. In time, I was winning many of the Tier 8 kart races.

Then I got an invite to drive the 250cc Superkarts, and that’s when the trouble really began. With this control scheme, these cars are virtually uncontrollable, more so in bad weather. It really started to infuriate me when trying to place qualifying times. Any time you turn the steering, any time you accelerated, any time you BREATHED on the controller, the kart would go out of control. And heaven help you if you even get one wheel touching the shoulder because then you will see this dreaded message come up: OFF TRACK – Lap Time Invalidated

EVERY TIME I did something, this would come up, and I would have no qualifying time of record, meaning I would have to start the race from the back of the field, and if you are running a 30 car grid in a heavy thunderstorm (which I have to admit, looks quite impressive with the game’s weather system,) good luck trying to achieve any progress without crashing or spinning out repeatedly. I tried one race nearly 20 times in an attempt to get any success, but every time: Spun out – “OFF TRACK – Lap Time Invalidated” GRRRRRRRRR

Another car hits me “CONTACT – Current and Next Lap Time Invalidated” #@#$!!

Spun out on the last stretch and then hit by another car – “DISQUALIFIED – WRECKED ANOTHER CAR” **** THIS GAME!!!!!!

That’s how furious I got playing with these karts. I started to get to the point where I thought I threw away $60 in trade in credit for a broken game. However, earlier on I came across another video that compared Project Cars to Forza Motorsport 5 (a game that has the controls done right) and said to really enjoy the game more, that a career should start at the very minimum at GT3 class.

So after dealing with hours of frustration, I erased my profile, and started a new career at GT3. Right away I could tell the controls felt a lot tighter, although I still have a ton of anomalies. There were times when if I just touched the shoulder, my car would snap immediately to one side or another. Again it got worse during storms but there was definitely improvement.

I’m hoping that Slightly Mad will address the control issues of Project Cars and provide twerks to help players get their ideal control. Even better, allow the community to share their control settings. Not only would it improve the game in general, but it will also bring online racers closer. Please get this fixed soon, because if it gets resolved, Project Cars will win me over, at least until Forza Motorsport 6 comes out.

CURRENTLY PLAYING: Wolfenstein: the Old Blood (Xbox One,) Project Cars (Xbox One,) Shovel Knight (Xbox One)

WAITING FOR: The Witcher 3

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