Game Review: Project Cars 2

Slighty Mad Studios has, recently, released Project Cars 2 and it was a fairly anticipated new title in the sim racing market.

The first release of Project Cars came in 2015 and stood up well over time. While it has its quirks and frustrations it’s a testament to the developers that the title hasn’t dipped in popularity. Project Cars 2 feels very much like it will follow the same vein.

There is much to live about the second title in this franchise. The graphics are a definite improvement over its predecessor and we can happily report that the sound of the various engine are dramatically improved from the first installment. There’s been no skimping on the content of the game either. In fact, it boasts a whopping 182 cars from 38 different manufacturers including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and many more. If you can’t find anything worth driving, you’re on your own! Similarly, it encompasses a roster of 121 track layouts including classics such as Long Beach, Spa-Francorchamps, and dozens of other iconic circuit around the world.

Developers have also included a brand new weather engine, called LiveTrack 3.0, which delivers realistic and changing track conditions throughout a race. You’d better have your wits about you if you’re driving on a drying track, or vice versa, in Project Cars 2. The experience of trying to judge the amount of grip from lap to lap or even corner to corner, given that conditions are consistently changing, is a great addition to the game and does wonders for the sense of immersion.

There were a good few critics of the handling model and physics of Project Cars 1 and it was, arguably, the one big factor that kept it from being considered a true sim racer. The handling model in Project Cars 2 feels significantly more realistic than before but still has its moments where it’s more simcade than sim racer.

Is Project Cars 2 is fully-fledged sim racing title? No, it’s not iRacing and you probably wont get as frustrated with this as you do with hardcore sim racers. That being said, Project Cars 2 is by no means an easy tour around the track. Instead, be prepared to spin out, lose control, and fly off into the barriers. Frequently. You’re not going to jump into a car and slam the throttle. Time spent understanding the behaviour and characteristics of your chosen car will be time well spent. What’s more, if you’re not particularly well versed in the set-up of your car Slightly Mad Studios has introduced a race engineer to aid with the tuning of your car.

It’s evident that the developers of Project Cars 2 attempted to tackle an incredibly challenging project. Heck, even if rallying is your choice of motorsport they’ve even catered for that! However, while Project Cars 2 includes both IndyCar and NASCAR series cars these two American racing series feels a bit of an afterthought. What’s more, if you select to go the open-wheel route in your career IndyCar has been placed as the tier 1 racing series. Instead, they would’ve been better served to have a Formula 1 styled series as the pinnacle of the open-wheel career.

Arguably, the only major downfall of Project Cars 2 is its AI, which tends to be fairly bonkers every now and then. Don’t be surprised if they suddenly weave across the circuit in an obscenely aggressive manner or pile into each other into Turn 1. It’s a downer, but not a deal-breaker by any means.

If you’re looking for a sim racing title that will challenge your driving skills and deliver an authentic racing experience then look no further than Project Cars 2.

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