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Project CARS and Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 cater to gearheads, but keep it too casual

Hayden Dingman | May 26, 2015
Like cars? Well throw on some classic rock, grab a Miller High Life, and dig into these two simulators.

Dismantle. Assemble. Dismantle. Assemble. This is the core feedback loop of Car Mechanic Simulator 2015. A car rolls into (more like magically appears in) the shop. You check the job listing to see what's wrong. You (most likely) put it on one of those massive car-lifting fork things. You disassemble a ton of parts--occasionally simulating a socket wrench by holding the mouse down over bolts. You remove the broken parts. You buy new versions of those parts on your 1998 Custom Edition PC. You install the new parts. You put everything back together.

Luckily that last step is made easy with a ghost-image of each part you need to assemble. And the game doesn't allow you to assemble parts in the wrong order.

It's really Car Mechanic Simulator Lite because I don't think I could actually reassemble an engine from scratch, but I can certainly do so with the help of a nifty alternate-reality interface showing me where each part goes.

That's not to say Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 isn't a helpful teaching tool. The more jobs you do, the more complicated the jobs that show up. Soon the game has you diagnosing what's wrong on your own, fixing things based on vague descriptions like "It doesn't sound right." The types of descriptions I would give a real mechanic. And when the game switches, you'll realize, "Yeah, I actually do know what the problem is when the car doesn't sound right."

You'll probably tire of the grind long before the game runs out of scenarios to throw at you, and I'd like to see a larger selection of real-world cars to work on, but I enjoyed my time with Car Mechanic Simulator 2015. Throw on some classic rock, break out a PBR, roll up your sleeves, and...

Project CARS

...realize you still know absolutely nothing about cars. What the hell is this?

Project CARS is a stupid name, but at least it tells you what the game's about, provided you know the backronym: Community Assisted Racing Simulator. Well, sort of tells you what the game's about. The "Community Assisted" part actually refers to the crowdfunding campaign, I think. It's not some sort of "It takes a village to raise a racecar" maxim.

Whatever. It's a racing simulator. You drive cars, mostly in circles but occasionally on roads.

NOTE UP FRONT: Project CARS has absolutely abysmal performance issues on AMD hardware, whether because of AMD neglect, some sort of Nvidia manipulation, the Illuminati, whatever. As such, if you're running an AMD GPU I literally cannot in good faith recommend this game to you at the moment, though AMD's working on getting new drivers out. Knock at least two points off the score at the bottom until it's fixed. Maybe more.


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