Project Cars 2 review: Hardcore car porn

Reviews
9

Amazing

Reviewed on PS4, copy supplied by publisher. 

I wouldn’t call myself a racing aficionado – in gaming or in real life – but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sport. As a gamer, I’ve played countless motorsport titles, and although I make no excuses for preferring the more arcade and less realistic side of things, I’ve also dabbled in the simulation genre, specifically big hitters Gran Turismo and Forza. With these, I found myself getting absorbed into the deep campaign, earning more and more impressive cars, and taking more prestigious prizes. This kind of advancement just doesn’t exist in most arcade racers that are all about that instant, more accessible hit of action. Sims are slow-burning, and more about the intricacies of the sport.

Enter Project Cars 2, the sequel to a game that’s already won over a whole army of hardcore driving sim fans, and a game that will undoubtedly redefine how complex driving sims can be, whilst improving upon every aspect of the original.

Got to go fast.

I mentioned GT and Forza for good reason, as many consider these to be the de facto racing sims, especially on console. I’m here to confirm, however, this is not necessary the case, as Project Cars 2 is here to give both Sony and Micorosft’s titles a very tough run for their money. A race, if you will.

Without a doubt on of the most daunting racers I’ve ever seen, Project Cars 2 is absolutely packed to the rafters with content, features, and more settings and detail than you could imagine. This is one seriously hardcore racer, and it’s also one that has little time for causal players, and those who aren’t willing to put in the time to delve into this ocean of driving bliss. Make no mistake, Project Cars 2 isn’t for the arcade-only racer, so if you’re not prepared to master a nigh-on identical control system to real life (well, as close as a game has come, anyway), and expect to effortlessly thunder around corners and pull of handbrake turns, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. 

The racing engine of Project Cars 2 has been refined and tweaked to near perfection, and is one of the most realistic-feeling efforts you’re likely to come across, especially if you play with a racing wheel where the control is 1:1. Even with a gamepad, the feel of the cars, the grip of the wheels, and the overall weight of the vehicles you’re powering around in is superb. Spin outs feel heavy and uncontrollable until you master the basics, and you even get a definite feel of change in the level of grip and control as you gradually heat up your types during the early laps of a race.

Not a red shell in sight.

This attention to detail isn’t only found in the gorgeous visuals (which are just impeccable, be it in standard view or if you’re playing in VR), but in the technical details of the car handling, the brain-hurting number of engineering options for tuning your cars, and the realism found in the tracks and environments you’ve be careening around.

There’s dynamic weather that changes as you compete, especially in longer races, and this detail incorporates large, easily noticeable details like day and night transitions or changes in weather, right down to individual puddles of water forming in real time on the track as you go. It’s impressive, and I’ve rarely seen a racing game with this much minute detail. That also extends to the game audio, which is amongst the best I’ve heard in the genre thus far.

Off the track and in terms of features, the game is just as impressive, with a vast solo campaign that incorporates almost 30 racing series, over 180 cars, 60 venues, and nine racing disciplines. There are single custom races, and, of course, plenty of online options. The amount of content is excellent, and there’s a definite improvement over the first game in terms of available career progression paths and racing tiers.

Icy conditions are snow good.

It’s all truly great stuff, but it does come without its downsides. These issues really aren’t to do with the game itself (aside from some minor frame rates issues), but more its appeal. As I mentioned earlier, Project Cars 2  is not for the casual racer, and this is no exaggeration. Even if you’ve played plenty of Forza or GT, you may still find Project Cars 2  to be a whole new level of difficulty. Yes, you can fine tune the controls and sensitivity to suit your needs, and there’s even an automated race advisor that can help here, but regardless, this game is for the serious sim fan, and if that’s not you, you’ll get nothing but frustration out of it. The game simply does not cater to this audience.

Still, if you’re in the game’s target demographic, this is state of the art car porn for aficionados who are after an ultra-realistic and challenging sim with a rewarding campaign.

Good

  • Excellent handling and highly technical driving engine
  • Looks fantastic, with dynamic weather and evolving races
  • Ridiculous amount of content out of the box

Bad

  • A pointless purchase for the casual racer
  • Some frame rate drops encountered on PS4

Summary

If you're an ultra-hardcore petrol head looking for a challenge and level of realism that other sims just don't offer, Project Cars 2 is the racer for you. It's immense, both in terms of challenge and content, and it's possibly the best depiction of the sport to date. For the best experience, I'd highly recommend a racing wheel controller, but even with a standard gamepad, this is one sublime racer that deserves your attention.


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9

Amazing

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