Project Cars 2 Review
Project Cars was a very ambitious title from Bandai Namco a few years ago, and while the aspirations and resources were there, the game fell a bit flat when you compared it to its direct competitors, including the Forza series. Everyone who played Project Cars – myself included – knew there was something there that just needed a bit more work, and thankfully, the developers stuck with it and just recently gave us Project Cars 2. The sequel builds on the original in many ways, making it perhaps the best simulation racing title available on the market.
If you remember playing Project Cars, you’ll remember that the handling wasn’t even close to where it needed to be. When using a controller with the original title, there was a definite jerkiness when moving from side to side; while not like old school racing titles were pushing left or right would automatically change you to the lane over, but it was pretty bad. In Project Cars 2, the handling is much improved.
Going from side to side is very fluid, and the stutter – very noticeable in the first title – is gone. For more precise movements, however, you can dive into the menus and begin tweaking almost every aspect of your controller, including driving assists, sensitivity, and much more, putting all the power of the car into your hands, tailored to how you want to drive. Racing simulation titles have always had a very steep learning curve, but thanks to the numerous control options available in the menu, even new racers can learn the ropes at their own pace!
A story mode is back for Project Cars 2, but it’s more fleshed out, giving you more options than the original. Now you can pick who you race for in each car class, and with the improved car selections, the likelihood of your favorite car being available in the game is more probable!
The developers were sure to cash in on the esports craze, putting lots of race types and modes into the games online. Backed by some great in-racing commentary, playing online with friends, or competitively in championships, has never been as much fun in any other racing game, ever. The development team put a lot of work into making sure this online experience was top notch, and it is probably where most hard core Project Cars players will spend the majority of their time.
On top of great car selections, or course, is an update track roster. This roster blows that of the original out of the water, providing players tons of choice right out of the gate, including brands like Ferrari, Nissan, Porsche, and Lamborghini. While some of the higher tiered championships are blocked behind story-advancement wall, most of the content will be available the second you load up the game. Grab your favorite car and head out to the tracks! You are sure to find a few dozen you really enjoy!
In total, Project Cars 2 includes over 180 vehicles to drive, over 130 tracks to race on, 9 motorsport disciplines – which all feel varied and authentic to their real life counterparts – 29 motorsports series to complete, and over 60 venues!
Weather and Sound
The one thing that all racing games hope to accomplish is to create real life-like weather effects and sounds. Although many have come close to exceeding this goal, you can almost always tell something isn’t quite right. Project Cars 2 is the closest to realistic weather, with outstanding rain, snow, and intense sunlight that is sure to make each racing different in some way. The most impressive element here is how the weather is constant, and accurate. During heavy rainstorms, water will pool on the tracks in low points, causing hazardous road conditions for those not paying attention. Very few others games take the realism to this level, by accurately portraying where water might run, and where it might pool.
The developers put in the work, and it definitely shows. They also give players complete control over the weather in custom races, so if you want to fly through a dessert during a snowstorm, you can totally do that, adding an extra element of surprise for those you are racing!
The developers also put a lot of time into the sounds of the worlds and the cars. Everything feels very alive and realistic. Unlike other titles that reuse the same audio assets over and over again, there is tons of variety in the sounds used in Project Cars 2. Cars sound authentic, and I’ve noticed dozens of different engine noises; most other racing simulation titles rely on just a few sounds, specific to classes of cars. While there is definitely some audio repetition, it is not as evident as if experienced in other titles.
If the original Project Cars disappointed you, don’t look past Project Cars 2. This is the ultimate gaming sequel, what most games should be, but rarely ever. Everything from the car and track selection, to the handling, to the outstanding weather and sound, put Project Cars 2 a few steps ahead of its competitors. If you are looking for a realistic racing simulation title, you probably don’t have to look past Project Cars 2. For the hardcore racing fans, we cannot recommend it enough!