Project Cars 2 review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

Racing simulators have never been my strong suit on any console I’ve tried them on. I usually only stick to arcade racers as sims usually contain way too much that I just don’t understand. Having said that, I can safely say that Project Cars 2 is a sim to “out sim” all others before it, and depending on how you feel about that fact, you can either enjoy it, or stay far away.

When you begin, you are given a nice assortment of cars and tracks. About 180 cars, 9 motorsport disciplines, 29 motorsport series, 60 venues, and over 130 living track layouts, are ready from the beginning. So, there is plenty to experience right out of the box! Dynamic weather and time of day effects affect how the tracks look and feel as well as how your selected car handles. Puddles pool up as it rains down and dry up when the sun comes out. Even driving over larger pools can displace them and make them more of a hazard as the race continues on. It really is a sight to behold as you make your way through the massive Career Mode. You can choose the exact team you want to race for in each series, in the new ?Manufacturer Drive? events, which allows you to serve as a factory driver for many of the included car makers. You?ll be locked into any career series you choose at the start, but Manufacturer Drives and other invitational events break things up quite nicely. You can skip any event you aren’t interested in, but the more you complete, the quicker more events will open up to you.

Everything in Project Cars 2 is presented in an easy to use fashion. From the robust, but easy menu layout, to the voice over from Top Gear staple “Stig Ben” explaining just about everything as it pops up, really makes the experience enjoyable. The A.I. does pretty well with the diverse vehicle types, and most of the time will give you a run for your money. Thankfully you can tweak the AI to your liking to give you an edge, or crank it up for a super hard challenge. In most cases though, the AI is really no joke, and will try to beat you around every corner. Many times, opponents sent me crashing into guardrails without hesitation, and I, being a literal novice at sim racers, was using pretty simple settings.

Which brings us to a glaring problem with Project Cars 2. Well, it’s only a problem from the way you look at it. You see, this is by far one of the best racing sim you can buy for a current gen systems. With that being said, the amount of realism can be extremely overwhelming. This really is a game that a steering wheel is probably a necessity. Trying to drive certain cars with the gamepad can be a chore, and you will have a difficult time. Imagine driving a Lamborghini for the first time, only to find that the steering wheel, gearshift and pedals were all replaced with a gamepad in front of you. You can imagine how many accidents you would probably be involved in. Using a stock controller with Project Cars 2 is really difficult due to its realism, so I highly recommend a racing wheel!

The visuals in PC2 are such a joy to witness that viewing them should come with a warning. Everything from the car models, tracks and even the backgrounds and surroundings of each area are just so crazy good looking. As mentioned before, changing weather and season conditions not only affects the way everything plays, but the visuals as well. Little touches like snow on trees and grass and the diverse color of foliage shows the high amount of detail that went into this. Project Cars 2 sounds just as good (if not better) than everything looks too. You can hear distinct engine and tire sounds for each vehicle, not to mention the horrific scraping sounds when you get into a wreck. This is truly a joy for your audio/video senses.

If you are not a fan of the racing simulation genre, sadly Project Cars 2 will probably not convert you. It’s a very robust and packed game with thousands of options that will intimidate if you aren’t into this type of experience. Couple that with the slight difficulty using the standard game pad, and you’ve got a game that may not appeal to many gamers. If you are a fan of sims though, than you can probably do no better than Project Cars 2.  Even though I am not a fan, I did have fun playing and am looking forward to dive deeper into the title. It?s definitely not for everyone, but I still recommend at least checking it out.

Grade: A-