When I had the opportunity to check out Project CARS 2 during a closed door demo at E3 2017 back in June, the first thing I noticed was the extreme attention to detail. Slightly Mad Studios had taken what it created from the first Project CARS, and placed it on steroids, enhancing every detail of the game to make it even more life-like the second time around. The result? A simulation racing game that is right on the cusp of the leaders of the industry. Many people will consider Project CARS 2 the best racing simulation game on the market. And you know what? It’s pretty hard to argue with them.
First off, we need to talk about something that is pretty obvious the first time you play the game: the graphics. We are talking about a game that has first rate graphics people! The visuals are second to none in this game. Playing on the PlayStation 4 console, it pushed the limits of my system as I heard my fans kick on multiple times during play sessions. The textures are smooth, and as I mentioned previously, the attention to detail unparalleled. The cockpit of each vehicle is laid out beautifully as if you are in the driver’s seat of a Nissan Skyline GT-R. Fast & Furious style.
The racing options in Project CARS 2 are exactly what you’d expect, and a whole lot more. Sure, there’s your arcade mode along with career mode which I will touch on later in this review, but there’s also online events which you can hold and invite your friends to join in. Additionally, the game hosts events and challenges as well in regards to time trials held with specific makes and models. When it comes to Project CARS 2, interaction is the name of the game and you’ll have plenty of it whether you are playing solo, with a bunch of friends, or online with strangers from around the globe.
The controls are about as authentic as you can get with a racing game. Very easy and predictable to use as with any racing game this generation, your brake and throttle are all controlled by the L2 and R2 buttons respectively. Changing view points is done with a tap of the square button and steering is easily achieved by the left analog stick. While we did not get a chance to play the game with a top industry racing wheel there were plenty of options to choose from each loaded with its set of calibration efforts to further authenticate the experience.
Notated as a simulation racing game, Project CARS 2 is adaptable to whatever kind of racing environment you choose thanks to the well defined options menu. If you are the type of person who wants a complete and authentic racing experience, you can make sure every setting as such is represented in your racing experience. Not into simulation racing as much but still love the way the game looks? No problem! Turn on steering assist and brake assist to help you out if you are more into playing a racing game that has more of an arcade feel. Or you can create a hybrid of the two. The game has damage control on vehicles as well which range from cosmetic damage to full damage which will affect the driving and steering of your car. This is something that is a small detail but goes a long way. If I am driving 150 MPH and I slam into a wall, I expect to see damage to my car. I’ve played other games that do not practice or include this in their games and I am happy to see that it is being welcomed by the likes of Project CARS and Forza Motorsport. It adds to the realism, and it is something that should be included, industry wide for racing sims.
And speaking of realism, when it comes to realism, it doesn’t get much better than this. In this version of Project CARS it doesn’t get anymore real than this. From real life courses, to dynamic weather that can be added in a quick race, the authenticity of this game is top notch. There were instances where I would set it up to rain in the middle of my race, and by the end clear up with abundant sunshine. That happened, but what I did immediately notice was the track was still wet and had ponding in areas of the track. This is the type of realism you should come to expect while playing Project CARS 2. And if you want complete authenticity, then feel free to play the game with live localized weather, and live track conditions. Ladies and gentlemen, this is truly authenticity at its greatest, without question.
Playing through your career mode will give you the opportunity to start wherever you’d like. Want to start off as a kart racer and make your way up the ladder? Go for it. Is IndyCar more your cup of tea? Have at it. Want to get directly into the GT series from the get go? The choice is yours. Project CARS doesn’t restrict the player from having to choose which cars they can drive right from the start, and that helps make this game unique from some of the competition. No restrictions, no levees, no impediments. Just select a class, pick your car, sign your contract and drive. It’s that simple.
Now while Project CARS 2 is undoubtedly one of the best racing sims in the industry, it does come with a few short comings. For example, I did experience an issue while watching a replay of a race I had that did not include my car or any of my opponents. I could clearly hear the engines grinding through their gears downshifting, and accelerating but I did not see any cars. It only happened once so I considered it just a minor glitch, so it wasn’t something that stood out or anything that hindered my experience with the game.
While I did mention that the game has plenty of options to adjust your play style, it may be something that isn’t quite noticeable from the start. As I struggled from the beginning of my career, I knew that some settings needed to be changed to suit my play style. It seemed as though I wasn’t able to change the settings in my career mode once I started, so I had to change them up from the main menu, then start a new career. This wasn’t a big deal to me as I wasn’t very far into my career but was something that was easily missed for myself and had a hard time identifying how to play the game to my play style.
Racing is a joy in Project CARS 2 but racing a variety of makes would go a long way as well. If you choose say, an Acura R8 in a quick race you should be expect to race as many Acura R8 vehicles as you set up in your settings. You won’t be going up against a Ford GT, a Chevy Corvette, or a Mitsubishi EVO. You will be racing strictly against Acura R8’s. While this is cool to see who indeed is the best driver, sometimes I would wonder how the game would handle a variety of makes and models against each other instead of the same make and model for everyone in a quick race.
Despite these small shortcomings, there is no doubt that Project CARS 2 gets the green flag in my eyes. This is one of the best looking racing games in the industry right now and it should be commended for how beautiful that it looks. Slightly Mad Studios clearly focused on detail with this iteration of the game and they absolutely achieved just that as the game’s attention to detail is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a simulation racing game. There are plenty of modes to choose from and if you are a simulation racing game fan, you won’t be bored as you’ll have plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied. And not only that, the game can be adjusted to however you want to play it which gives the user even more flexibility while playing. So if you are looking for a racing sim that is comparable to the likes of Forza Motorsport, or Gran Turismo, look no further than Project CARS 2. The new kid on the block is back and it is locked and loaded to the teeth with detail, graphics, and options. Project CARS 2 is available now for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more on Project CARS 2, make sure you keep it locked to Mammoth Gamers. And stay tuned for our video review which will be coming very soon.
A review copy for this game was provided by the publisher, Bandai Namco Entertainment.