+One of the most authentic experiences to date
+Extremely beautiful graphics
+Gameplay is spot-on for both players using race wheels and controllers
+Extreme amounts of content for fans to enjoy
-Minor framerate stutters on PC and console
Over the course of the past month, I’ve had a difficult decision in what games to play in my free time as of late. It’s been tough. On one hand I’ve been diligently working my way through the horrors in The Evil Within 2 while taking on my role as an investigator in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. To be quite honest, it’s been difficult to find time for Project Cars 2.
But that’s the problem. It’s the time. Project Cars 2 is a massive game for the world of racing titles. It’s a game that easily puts titles such as Gran Turismo Sport and Forza 7 in their place without ever needing to say a word. That’s not because the game is a console exclusive, but because it’s that strong of a title. Since we received our review code, I’ve been spending a lot of getting used to the controls, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing.
Much like my review for Destiny 2 I’ve decided to take a lot of time with this game, not because the publisher would like a review as soon as possible, but because I REALLY wanted to get a solid feel for this game. It’s one that isn’t shallow by any means. Within my opening minutes on the menu’s, I was already seeing a lot to take in. Performance settings, graphics, video settings, control settings, career, etc. It’s all there, which at first, was a lot to take in with my first experience with the Project Cars titles.
That’s what makes Project Cars 2 so interesting. It’s a game that makes it hard to even want to experience its previous title. On controller or racing wheel, Project Cars 2 is remarkable. Compared to my experience with the first one (as of recent) on Xbox One, I found it hard to play, not because it was a bad game, but because the car handling was that much more difficult. Instead I found this newer one a bit more friendlier, it even features a bigger track selection, and even boasts a unique dynamic time and weather system for every track.
Mix those features in with the sound of your tires sliding, your motor roaring, and the muffled sounds from wearing a helmet (if you use that view), Projects Cars 2 is absolutely astonishing. It’s car selection system is gigantic, and even features some absolutely awesome rides. For me, as a solo player, I found myself drowning in an ocean of content. I found myself spending quite some time during many of its time-based races. Ones where I was obligated to spend 20-30 minutes driving the courses laps, allowing my tires to heat up, watching my gas gauge, and even taking note of my surroundings.
From what I’ve experienced with both titles, Project CARS isn’t small in vision, rather both of them are eSports friendly as well, allowing fans to take on some unique eSports options as well as broadcast-style flourishes to help bring their streams to life. But as stated, this is my first real experience with Project CARS 2. I’m new to the franchise as of recent, and it was an entirely new way to take in the experience of touring and GT cars. But there are a few noticeable things that have been improved since the first title.
First off is this. Touring and GT cars feel quite different, they should have to begin with, they both race differently. While not everyone appreciated this as much as I did, there were some that found this concerning. A lot of this was due to one simple fact: the cars handled differently when you broke traction, and the cars required a lot – and I mean a lot – of finesse to recover if you lost grip. Especially if you used a game pad. With the second one, I’ve not found this to be the case. Well as much anyway. Instead, this has been heavily improved.
The car types feel equally as enjoyable. Some still lose grip easier than others, but the overall finesse needed to recover is about even. This is where Project CARS 2 steps in. It’s new handling model puts the time I’ve spent with Gran Turismo Sport and Forza 7 to shame. With my (rather my pals) racing wheel, it feels authentic, enjoyable, and something I ABSOLUTELY love. But that doesn’t go without saying that another absolute improvement has been made. The game is absolutely spot on. Between gamepad or racing wheel, the game is entirely different.
For those that prefer gamepads, the game feels authentic, and enjoyable. I didn’t even feel the need to alter any of my settings; I am still, even now, using the out-of-the-box Project CARS 2 settings. Their manageable and well planted. Unlike the racing wheel, the game does feel a bit more tire on turn-in. Thankfully, you don’t need a racing wheel to enjoy the game at all.
Regardless, the game is fun, it’s challenging, and its an authentic experience that you should undertake. A lot of that is in part due to the games settings, which all can be massaged in order to make them fit your play style, and even tailor the game to fit your preferences. Even the menus feel customized to fit gamers all-together. The game even feels realistic, whether its the drag on controller or the use of a racing wheel. I have to admit, I loved it, and I didn’t feel that the game itself held back in any form.
But let me make this clear. Even if you do not understand vehicles, Project CARS 2 isn’t going to leave you out to go high and dry while racing. The dynamic time and weather systems are spot on. At one point during my race through Nurburgring, I noticed the rain slowly rolling in. Before long I heard it, the soft pattering of rain against my windshield, the sheer winds pushing down against my wing, and before I knew it, my tires were loose. To loose at times. Fortunately, by this time, I’d grown used to the current systems within the game, and I wasn’t ashamed of what I had experienced.
While I did notice my tires coming loose from time-to-time, I was able to get used to that feeling, and it didn’t change no matter how much I had thought it would happen. What’s even more interesting is the over-the-speaker chatter. I would listen to the feedback coming forth from former Top Gear’s guys Ben “The Stig” Collins as his voice filled my headset.
Project Cars 2 – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Slightly Mad Studio
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: Available Now
The best part? The tips from him and Nicolas Hamilton didn’t hold back offering any tips that they could. But that’s what makes this game so exciting. They even offer tips while working to navigate through the games menus, racing, and the likes. Luckily for us, this also means that any advice you get is invaluable, it is precious, even if it comes down to tweaking the pressure in your tires, how stiff the shocks are, and how loose your turning is, or even tuning the times in which your motor shifts gears.
However, the age-old fight still exists between who the king of racing games is. Luckily for us, Project CARS 2 is here to deliver, and it’s not ashamed to try and do so. While some may find themselves struggling with it, we can only hope that Bandai Namco continues on, and doesn’t stray away from the choices made to put this game at the top of the current generation.
While VR is fully available, I’ve been unable to experience this feature, and will gladly be doing so when the time comes. For now, I’ll sit and happily play the PC version, which is stable, fun, and something I overly enjoy getting my hands on when I have the time.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.