Lately there has been a lot of discussion on which upcoming racing game, between Evolution Studios’ Driveclub and Slightly MAD Studios’ Project CARS looks better. The truth is that they’re extremely different games.
Having played both (even if the build of Driveclub I played is very old, I seriously doubt they completely overhauled the way it drives) I can easily say that they play nothing alike, but that radical difference reflects even in the way they look, and more specifically in their visual style.
To show that, we picked up a sizable amount of screenshots of Driveclub (the gameplay screenshots are actually cpatures from a high quality version of the latest videos released. They aren’t perfect, but they’ll do, as we aren’t counting pixels, but examining the style of the two games), and reproduced as best as possible similar situations and camera angles in Project CARS, using the same cars. We decided not to gimp its visuals and keep the PC version at ultra settings, since again, our purpose here isn’t counting polygons and pixels.
Of course getting 100% identical shots is impossible, as the games don’t have the same tracks and lighting is extremely different even at the same time of day, but that’s the whole point.
You can click on each screenshot below (Driveclub screenshots are above, Project CARS ones are under them in each pairing) to open a full resolution version, and flip between different tabs in your browser to appreciate the difference between the two titles. Do keep in mind that both games are still in development.
The nature of the two games reflects very well in the gallery you’ve just seen. Which one looks “better” is basically entirely a matter of taste, as their styles are to each other like night and day.
Project Cars is extremely clean and crisp. Its level of detail is amazing, almost coldly reproduced down to every little nut and bolt. Basically all the hardware resources are focused on the cars, while the environments are just something to drive in.
On the other hand Driveclub is rougher around the edges (not in a negative way, it’s a style choice), with subtle filters making everything look a slightly “dirtier” on purpose and artfully merging the cars with the splendid environments, giving the game a more cinematic feel. Even lighting is more dramatic, creating an entirely different visual experience.
Basically, Driveclub and Project CARS are two gorgeous faces of the same racing coin. They depict the same elements, but they do so in opposite ways. If you love watching the Formula 1 Grand Prix (or a similar real-world competition) every other Sunday, then Project CARS is probably better suited for you. If you’d rather watch The Fast and The Furious then you’re more the Driveclub kinda guy (or gal).
If you just love cars and racing, you should probably start saving and consider getting both.