Project Cars 2 is a racing sim that earns its right to be called the king of racing simulators. Never before have you felt like taking turns at such high speeds was a threat to yourself and surrounding players in a racing game. Project Cars 2 takes what its predecessor did right and amplifies it. Based on the seriousness it takes with car handling alone, its going to be very hard for the likes for Forza and Gran Turismo to even touch the standard that is set here. If you looking the most hard-core and true to life racing experience, then you have no further to look than Slightly Mad Studios’ best creation.
PREPARE TO HIT WALLS
That’s not a metaphor for the team behind Project Cars 2 but rather you, the player. If you haven’t played the first game in the series and you were to pick this up today, the first thing you will notice is that cars behave so realistically that it will make you question how you’ve played racers for the past 17 years. You will feel every turn and you will feel every bump and puddle. Project Cars 2 is not for the faint of heart or those who don’t have oil running through their veins, so to speak. The customization of vehicles is top notch and while if you know what you are doing you will get the best results, there are some pit engineers that can assist you with some helpful tips on what might need to be tuned.
If you’re wondering what sort of content Project Cars 2 is packing, you will be pleased to hear there are just over 140 tracks across 29 different motor-sports with a whomping 180 cars to race on them. Racing from Formula 1 cars, to go-karts, to your usual Lamborghini and McLaren whips, and even heavy duty pickup trucks car fantasies have slipped over from your dreams into simulated reality. As expected, each car handles differently and as apposed to your standard fair arcade-racing game, you have to actually think while taking each turn or straightway (maybe even more so than older racing-sims too). Tire wear and pit-stop timing become important factors through most of the heavy racing, no matter what motor-sport you are involved with. All you can really say is Gran Turismo, eat your heart out.
A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE
One of the more notable features of Project Cars 2 is the “Livetrack 3.0” system which simulates different weather conditions in a dynamic way across all four seasons. Some games like Forza 6 have half-way done this in the past but it was more of a pre-determined condition that is applied to the map each time. With Livetrack 3.0 rain and snow will accumulate differently according to the direction of the storm or the dynamics of that storm. The really couldn’t have picked a better name because in essence it is almost as if the weather has a life/mind of its own. You may race the same track through a thunderstorm multiple times and have the track become affected in several different ways and that in itself could be worth the price of admission.
In-game visual settings are very good for a console game and most of time you don’t find them to be so. You can adjust bloom, lens flare, and a various other sorts to your liking. Project Cars 2 also features a TV adjustment mode that aids in adjusting the screen if you are interested, which was found to be a nice touch for those who may need it. One complaint that can be had is while there are plenty of sound adjustment settings too, you can’t seem to turn off the commentary that will sometimes come out of the PS4 controller speakers. Honestly, the dialogue was cool at first but quickly annoying and even more so when there was no setting to disable it in-game.
Obvious whining aside, the look and display of Project Cars 2 will blow you out of the water, even on base consoles. Included in-game is a theater mode for replaying and capturing some of your best moments and a photo mode for getting some of those glam shots of your tricked out ride. Its absolutely mind-numbing when you load up into photo mode and swear you are right on the show-room floor. The lighting is pin-point and the paint jobs look straight out of the factory. Never-mind when you get into the racing tracks with all different seasons; the scenic beauty of Project Cars 2 just has to be seen to be believed.
YOUR WAY TO PLAY
Aside from the dashingly good looks, Project Cars 2 ships with plenty of in-game modes. If you fancy taking a car for a test drive and seeing how well you can tune it, the Private Testing mode will let you do just that. Want to have a go with strangers of maybe even friend, then you can create or jump into an online session! Want to set the best time for a track? Jump into the Time Trial mode and put your best time up against players form all around the world.
If that wasn’t enough, you an create your own personal racer or racers and pit them in several different Motorsports in the Career mode. If you want to race Rally, Formula, Go-Kart, or standard fair sports cars, you can choose the career path that will lead you through those different leagues. No matter what you do, there is a Motorsport for you!
POSSIBLY NOT FOR EVERYONE
Slight Mad Studios and Bandai Namco know their audience is hardcore and they want only the most authentic experience. If you are prone to “flooring it” in other games then you will be shaken into reality real quick with Project Cars 2. Players can tweak and calibrate the controls and sensitivities of each input, which is a plus and you can even turn on steering or braking assistance if needed. That being said, you are most likely going to have a hard time playing with a standard controller anyways (and steering assistance and brake control is cheating… right?). While you can make game-play easier and even add more visual cues, its safe to say its a more rigorous game at the roots for those who simply want the best simulation and realism game on the market (and own the dedicated steering wheel peripherals).
On A Side Note: If you own an HTC Vive or Occulus Rift and pick up the PC version you will easily get the best experience as we’ve heard VR implementation is at least twice as good as Project Cars.