Project CARS 2 (Xbox One) Review

By Jamie Mercer 29.10.2017

Review for Project CARS 2 on Xbox One

Gorgeous graphics, over 180 cars and 60 tracks make Project CARS 2 an exciting prospect, but it is sadly let down by questionable AI decisions and infuriating design choices. The first Project CARS was hotly anticipated. It followed delay after delay but eventually saw the light of day in 2015 and arrived to almost universal critical acclaim from racing fans and casual gamers alike. Crowdfunded and created in collaboration with racing game enthusiasts, Project CARS was a franchise offering something different. A real breath of fresh air in an otherwise exhaust fume heavy arena. Can the sequel live up to expectations? Well, yes and no…

Time to start with the good. Project CARS 2 looks amazing. Lingering dark clouds indicate that stormy weather is on the way and, after a while, rays of sparkling sunlight can break through the darkness and catch the reflection in the puddles. Oh, the puddles! Project CARS 2 has - quite possibly - the best puddle physics of any game. Full stop. Put that on the poster. Puddles form exactly where they should, which means that navigating around the track in rain may result in drivers needing to avoid the apex and taking a wider outside line - much like in real races. Whatever dark arts Slightly Mad Studios is dabbling in, it has absolutely mastered dynamic weather.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on Xbox One

The selection of cars is very impressive, too, with over 180 different vehicles from Le Mans, IndyCar, Oval Racing and Rallycross classes to choose from. The 60 different tracks, including British mainstays, such as Cadwell Park and Knockhill, are all very nicely realised and offer a pleasing variety of courses with a range of different surfaces and aforementioned dynamic weather really altering how each track should be approached.

The game is also incredibly customisable. While die-hard racing sim fans are going to be in their element, there are going to be plenty of gamers left feeling daunted by the sheer amount of options in the menus. Finding the perfect set up could take 10 minutes or it could take half a day, depending on who is playing and what they want the car to feel like. Different tracks or weather conditions may necessitate different setups, so before rubber has been burned in fury, an entire morning may have passed.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on Xbox One

Another barrier to getting the most out of this involves your input device. While the developer notes improved controller support compared to its first outing, using anything but a high-quality steering wheel peripheral feels like a second-rate experience. Put simply, the controller experience just doesn't feel right.

There are some potentially game-breaking quirks, too. The AI of opponents can feel very 'last generation.' The slightest drop of rain can knock seconds off the pace for the AI while you remain relatively unscathed. It's almost as if the AI can't cope with the changes in weather condition rather than adjusting to them accordingly, like a human player would.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on Xbox One

There are some other stranger design choices, too, such as having to predict the future with your pit stop strategy. Before the race even starts, gamers need to choose their racing strategy, which includes picking a certain type of tyre and level of fuel, but the problem is that nothing can then be done if you don't quite see the Aston Martin DB11 until too late or if the weather is affecting how the race is approached. This can be race ruining at times.

There are a couple of glitches, as well, including keeping the damage a car suffers when a race is restarted, which leaves a very frustrating and sour aftertaste following so much good work and the attention to detail that has clearly gone into other areas of the game.

Screenshot for Project CARS 2 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

This is a game for enthusiasts and the complexity and scope of tinkering, combined with the need for a racing wheel, only emphasises this point. Project CARS 2 does a lot of things right, and it's easy to fall for the stunning visuals and customisation, but there are some very serious problems to address. Whereas Project CARS felt like a finished and polished product, Project CARS 2 maybe needed another couple of months in development to iron out the wrinkles. There is undoubtedly a good game in there as the handling and visuals are exceptional, but it is capable of so much more.

Developer

Slightly Mad Studios

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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