Project CARS 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 18.09.2017 4

Review for Project CARS 2 on PlayStation 4

There's a fine line that needs to be walked when it comes to realism in video games. If the realistic aspects take away from the fun, then it's easy for otherwise good mechanics to be overshadowed by tedium and monotony. If those same aspects aren't fleshed out or fully integrated, the developers run the risk of delivering a final product sorely lacking in a discernible identity. In the case of Project CARS 2, Slightly Mad Studios is once again trying to redefine the racing genre with a title that's more in line with a racing simulator than a racing game. Does the sim accurately capture the life of a career driver, or is it another poor attempt at trying to fuse realism with the world of gaming?

If being a professional race car driver is filled with stiff controls and long load times, then Project CARS 2 does a near perfect job simulating the average driver's day-to-day. The controls, while stiff, can be adjusted to, and understanding them can be seen as part of the fun, but being forced to sit through long loading screens for the chance to race for a few minutes is exhausting.

The cars, the tracks, and the distracting advertisements look fine enough, but not to the point where such long load times aren't intrusive. That said, it would be a lie to say Slightly Mad Studios hasn't created an immersive simulator though the graphical fidelity.

Driving looks the part, and getting into the flow of a race is, admittedly, satisfying. The controls are incredibly awkward and alienating, but adjusting to them is all a part of the simulation. Crashing or veering off course sports higher consequences than other racing titles, which is a welcome change of pace. Project CARS 2 doesn't hold hands, expecting a level of commitment to refining the controls and learning each track.

In theory, this is a pretty good idea. Encouraging mechanical mastery is one of the best ways to increase overall length without padding. The problem is when those mechanics aren't welcoming or lack a proper learning curve.

Adjusting to the controls is going to be difficult for just about anyone. It's all a part of the simulation experience, but it falls more on the "realism as tedium" than "realism as fun" side. The great thing about franchises like Forza or Gran Turismo is that anyone can start either up and start playing. Both series have a dedication to offering a realistic experience, but not without compromising their identity as a video game.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on PlayStation 4

Career mode is where the bulk of playtime will be sunk into in Project CARS 2. It's tiered into several categories, and certain cups need to be completed before progressing onto the next tier. As simply a concept, the idea is fantastic, as it allows a great amount of leeway in personal advancement and presents itself as immersive off the bat. Again, though, even the lowest tiers will prove to be fairly challenging without patient driving and at least some amount of knowledge in regards to how the controls work.

Cars can be tuned via the race engineer to modify braking, downforce, suspension, and gearing, but the act of fine tuning each category is a bit convoluted. In the push for realism, every category requires a short conversation between the driver and the race engineer where the engineer explains what exactly is going on with the car before modifying it by a miniscule percentage. If a driver wants to tune their stats significantly, however, then they do have the option to do so in a separate menu.

A loss of fun, of potential, is really what looms over Project CARS 2. It's ambitious and it does manage to present itself as an incredibly realistic title, but it just isn't very enjoyable to sit down and play. It's a dedicated time sink and not one that feels rewarding.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Thanks to a high learning curve and alienating controls, Project CARS 2 is very much not for everyone. As a racing simulator, it does the job and brings the progression of a career driver to life, but it's bogged down by long load times and an awkward control scheme. Figuring out how to drive properly is all a part of the simulation, but it ends up feeling more tedious than anything. It might satisfy someone looking for a deeper challenge and added realism within the genre, but newcomers and less hardcore fans are better off sticking with Gran Turismo or Forza.

Developer

Slightly Mad Studios

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Driving

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

YourGod (guest) 19.09.2017#1

" If a driver wants to tune their stats significantly, then they have to keep selecting the conversation so they can select the option to decrease their break pressure by 1% or whatever they feel needs tuning."

Or they could click the "Edit Setup" button (which is literally right next to the "Race Engineer" button) and do it that way.

Oh, and the loading times aren't long once the day one patch is installed. Y'know...the day one patch that Namco told you would be available to download and which they asked you to download before you published your final opinion.

YourGod (guest) said:
" If a driver wants to tune their stats significantly, then they have to keep selecting the conversation so they can select the option to decrease their break pressure by 1% or whatever they feel needs tuning."

Or they could click the "Edit Setup" button (which is literally right next to the "Race Engineer" button) and do it that way.

Oh, and the loading times aren't long once the day one patch is installed. Y'know...the day one patch that Namco told you would be available to download and which they asked you to download before you published your final opinion.


Hey there, thanks for commenting and pointing out "Edit Setup." I've edited the review to reflect that. 

In regards to loading times and the day one patch, I have to say that, unfortunately, the patch didn't make the loading times that much better. The patch, which fittingly took quite a long time to download, simply unlocked the rest of the game's content. If there was a significant change in loading speed, then it wasn't significant enough. 

I've read from others that loading times aren't the best on this too.

YourGod (guest) said:
"Y'know...the day one patch that Namco told you would be available to download and which they asked you to download before you published your final opinion.

Extremely antagonistic comment, and rather inappropriate, I'd say. The reviewer of both versions did indeed apply the patch, at the request of the publisher, and in this case it didn't improve things significantly enough. Ask first, rather than jumping to conclusions just because you're not happy with a particular score. And do remember, different people have different opinions...hence the PC version scored 7 from one reviewer, and yet the PS4 version got 5 from another. C'est la vie, mon ami.

( Edited 19.09.2017 23:16 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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