Name: Project Cars 2
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Released: 22nd of September, 2017 (Worldwide)
Platforms: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
As a fan of the first Project Cars, I was more than excited when I got my hands on the follow-up, could it live up to the expectations? Would it be adding enough new features? How would the driving feel be? With all this in mind, I sat down with my trusty PS4 and started my engine.
First things first; this is the prettiest racing game I’ve ever played. The lighting is amazing, the cars look stunning, as does the environment. One thing that annoys me though is the (very) small edge over the windscreen (in some cars) that isn’t filled in with the shading from the sponsor logo. I also want to mention the “helmet camera” that lets you see from inside the helmet, it’s very cool, but the helmet has a bit of a rough edge. I know it’s very difficult to get round shapes completely smooth, but it would make the camera angle even more impressive especially if you have a VR headset. PSVR has yet to be confirmed other than a “We are seeing if we could make it work” from the developers. However, Project Cars 1 had support for Oculus Rift, so it seems likely that Project Cars 2 will have a VR-mode, at least on PC. With an improved outline inside the helmet, this camera angle plus VR will be a match made in heaven!
The gameplay is very good, but it’s not perfect. Some of the cars has a really weird feeling under braking, and some of them feels just a little bit too sensitive when you’re accelerating out of a corner, no matter how gentle I try to be.
The major complaint I have about the game is the career mode. I’m honestly not entirely sure what the exact problem I have with it is, because it feels both too open, and too restricted. I don’t feel the urge to win every single event, which I did in the first game, and that makes it a bit boring. On the plus side the career mode is much more complete than in the first game, with the dirt events (and cars) being a great addition, there’s more events happening through the career, as well as many more tracks and the fact that the invitational events are stuffed in a seperate folder, so you don’t have to play them again unless you really want to makes the game less nagging than its predecessor. I still feel like the career mode is a bit too focused on moving up the tiers each season, which meant I never got to feel like a car was really mine, and not just a step on the ladder, until I moved into the final tier.
Outside of the career the 180 cars you can drive lets you try out each circuit more times than you’ll probably ever need. And this is where I had the most fun with the game, be it in a (licensed) IndyCar or a “slow” Ford F-150, the feeling when you set a new personal best is amazing, and with all the tweaking allowed I kept feeling the need to try out what a tiny tweak could do with my lap times. In my mind the time trials is the game’s best side, I’ve been playing the time trials way more than I’d like to admit, but it just feels so damn rewarding when you put together the perfect lap.
As this is a simulator the possibilities to adjust all the controls to your liking is immense, even on PS4. And although it feels a bit overwhelming at first, it is an excellent feature that you can tweak pretty much everything. I played with a Dualshock 4 controller, which is less accurate than a wheel and pedals would have been. It will obviously be much more life-like controls if you have a wheel to play with, but during my time with the game I didn’t mind not having that at my disposal. Playing with a Dualshock feels very good, it would just have been even better controls with a wheel.
If you’re looking for a racing sim, and are prepared to out several hours into all the small details, this game is probably the best you can buy. However if you’re not that into simulation and are just looking forward to have a quick race with a more arcade-y feel to it this game probably takes itself way to serious for you. With all that in mind, I had lots of fun shaving down the laptimes, and the career mode is good enough for a while. I would advise you to get a wheel and pedals for the best experience, but it works more than good enough with a controller, as long as you go through the settings to make the game adapt to your style.
Replay Value: 9/10
Story (Career Mode): 7/10
+ The graphics are the best out there
+ Loads and loads of cars and tracks
+ The feeling you get when you string together a perfect lap
– The career mode gets boring too soon
– What’s up with the brakes on some of these cars?