Project Cars 2 (Buy, Wait for Sale, or Pass) If your still on the fence let me help you out. Are you a Project Cars 1 lover or hater? PCARS One defiantly had a rocky start that took months to iron out most the bugs except the controller issues, that took a whole new title update. Now Project Cars 2 is out in all its glory fixing all the wrong with the first title and adding lots of new content and improvements boasting features that bigger titles like Forza and Gran Turismo still can’t match.
Project Cars 2 is really at the pinnacle of Sim Racing in 2017!
So the title is really the quick question asked by many and it can be a difficult question to answer. I would have to ask you what is your level of commitment to sim racing? Are you the casual racer or sim enthusiast? Using a PC or console doesn’t really matter as much nowadays although PC play can give you many more options to play with like Track IR, VR, Triple Screens, SimVibe for transducers, Motion rigs etc…
So lets figure out what type of player you are Casual or Enthusiast. If you are a casual player of racing games you are probable a fan of NFS, Forza franchise and Gran Turismo type titles that are easy to pick up with a controller and flog your favorite car around. If your an enthusiast you are more interested if Assetto Corsa, Rfactor 2, Automobilista, IRacing all of which take more time to master, in which you would defiantly be interested in Project Cars 2. Now keep in mind us enthusiast do enjoy our Forza simcad type titles for a break, but if turning more than 3 laps to win a race is not your thing then I would Pass on Project Cars 2 as it will take more commitment on your part.
So that leaves Buy Now or Wait for a sale. I believe Project Cars 2 is defiantly a buy now for those sim racing wheel players, but it doesn’t hurt to save some money so check often at CDKEYs for digital keys to pay even less. Now let’s get into it if you’re in the buy now category as below I break down all the topics for a full but brief review.
My Sim Rig
My sim rig consist of Simetik K2 holding a Fantec Clubsport V2, Fanatec Shifter V1.5, XboxOne Wheel Hub, Fanatec V3 pedals and Fanatec handbrake, Simvibe software running 6 transducer, Track IR and watching it all go down on a Acer Predator X34 GSync monitor. Your experience with Project Cars 2 game may very if you’re using a lesser equipped wheel setup as subtle road details or often missed in lower end wheels. If you want to feel more detail from sim racing games I suggest upgrading to the Fanatec Clu
Topics at hand
When launching the game you will see an intro video showcasing the disciplines you will experience once you play. Next up is the menu system which is laid out well with fast and easy navigation which supports mouse control on PC and recognizes your wheel right off if you already have it on. The background images are of high quality for each screen you go to with nice racing sounds, music and pit talk chatter cycling in the background. When first clicking into components of the menu your are presented with voice overs explaining things which is really nice touch as I hate reading everything. I know right? I’m a blogger. lol
Graphics are looking spectacular on my 3k monitor and would be even better in 4k! From driving in the fog seeing it roll around the cars to snow drifting about to rain and lighting flashing and coming down to the glory god rays shining through the trees, it’s just done to perfection and by far the best looking sim to come out so far although it’s only a week in front of Forza Motorsport 7 which looks to be just as spectacular. Really though I believe Project Cars 2 to have a more natural looking graphical presentation instead of a more colored template like say Forza 7 shows and the previous Project Cars 1. I really like the improved lighting as it really distinguishes particle effects better like in fog and rain. Lots of time someone watching you play will swear you are watching a live race on TV!
The only hiccups I have ran into are the occasional graphic glithes that flash across the screen and if you pay attention to the backgrounds you will find bad shadow effects outlining the trees etc.. It’s not bad enough to make me shelf the game, but the .02 sec graphic glitches do annoy me at times. This can all be fixed with updates that are coming though.
All aspects of the game are laid out and categorized well in the menu system There is not a lot you need to adjust in the menu system. The game recognizes your wheel if you already had it turned on and recognizes your pc and monitor specs and auto sets up. You of course can adjust to your liking in the Performance menu. What you will want to go into the controller setting and assign additional buttons and if you are like me running a separate pedal, shifter and handbrake you want to set that up now to. You will also want to setup buttons for Tone and Volume which will be important to you while on track. Later on this subject. The menu system is all very straight forward to set up only takes a minute. Hardest part is deciding what buttons you want to assign features to.
Just to note you also have extensive menu system from the pause screen when out on track to change things to your liking. This is especially important when setting up car physics to your liking with volume and tone settings. Another great addition this go around is their is lots of explanation for everything so it becomes clear what you are adjusting before you make the decision. You will notice at the menu system in the top right of the screen is some stats about you like your rank. Everyone starts will U1500. Your online racing will raise or lower this ranking.
There is a ton of info being calculated in a sim racing title and I can only imagine how difficult this task can be to get right with all the different cars and tracks, not to mention throwing in dynamic weather like rain or snow to muddy it up. To be honest no sim racing title has got it perfected yet. Project Cars 2 has hundreds of thousands of track sensors to create racing surfaces that affect grip inch by inch in all 4 seasons of weather and with that said this is how it all plays out.
The default FFB is a little weak in my opinion even with using a Fantec Clubsport V2 wheel base and keep in mind PCARS 1 suffered from this to which is why I used to run the Jake Spade FFB Tweak. Luckily there is some setting dials to get it dialed in stronger and more immersive plus Fanatec wheel owners have the FOR selection on the wheel. Remember when I mentioned the Volume, Tone and FX settings? Now is the time to mess with those. The Gain setting should always be on 100 BTW and you will just mess with the 3 others. For starters the FX control only effects dealing with grass and curbs. The Tone adjust the feedback felt through the road and tires and Volume is the overall strength of everything, but be careful as to high of a volume will quickly mask road textures. Remember less is more when driving fast out on track. Typically higher tone gives more tire roll and slip feedback at the cost of losing some road texture feedback and visa versa. IMO the tire feedback is more important as they already react to the pavement bumps etc when you lose traction. Like I mentioned I would map Tone and Volume to a button so you can adjust out on track per car and driving situation. Here are my suggest settings for Fanatec Clubsport V2 and V2.5
Volume: 70-90 (Adjust per car)
Tone: 100 (if you want to feel the tire slip more pronounced then road textures which is more important at being fast.)
FX: 100 to feel more road surfaces
Once you get the volume, tone and FX setup quickly you will notice the cars come alive more particular with the tire model. The tire model is absolutely fantastic this go around. It is honed almost to perfection and gives a realistic feedback you expect from a sim racing title. I believe it’s better than Iracing with the manner it relays tire slip to you in mid corner and exit under load allowing you to drive on the ragged edge of grip. If your a fan of say Assetto Corsa you will enjoy Project Cars 2 as it’s close in nature for tire grip and slip. Both sims do it a little different from each other, but the result is better tire feeling giving you more confidence to push. Only sims topping Project Cars 2 is the elite kings of tire slip, grip and FFB or Rfactor 2 and Automobilista, but neither of the later sims have the shear volume of content or graphical power that Project Cars 2 has.
Good but not perfect as with any sim title. There is always room for improvement and with any sim title the creators are always releasing updates to improve AI. Even Assetto Corsa sees this and it’s been out for years. Expect a pile up at times for turn 1 depending on the track when having a standing start race. With a rolling start race it’s less likely to happen, but what does happen is the racers in front of you brake check you all the time before the green and also crash into each other a lot before the race go’s green. It’s really retarded at times. The positives is once you get going the AI gives you a good race to the finish line. They will move out your way or drive around you making passes when they are faster in corners or straights. It’s a lot of fun!
There is a ton of gameplay to be experience and is really where Project Cars 2 shines the most. Want to take a snow drive at COTA with a Indy car? You can do it and it doesn’t ever snow there in the real world. Project Cars 2 brings you 180 cars from dozens of elite brands, largest track roster seen on consoles with 140 “living” tracks at 60 locations, 5 motorsports disciplines with Rally Cross being one of them, 29 motorsports series, dynamic weather and dynamic time of day and even seasons. Project Cars 2 is really at the pinnacle of Sim Racing in 2017! No other sim racing title offers the shear amount of content that Project Cars 2 offers and this time around it works beautifully!
Like Project Cars 1 we get Career and Multi class modes, but this time it’s vastly expanded. The core of the game comes unlocked, meaning race whatever car you want in whatever series you want whenever you want. If you’re not sure what to race you can pre-select from all the series available like GT, Rally and so on and then the game will pre-select the cars in the series for you. Takes the guess work out. This feature is awesome actually! You can also race multi class series which can be a lot of fun when passing the slower class and navigating traffic. In the Career mode this time around it’s better sorted out now allowing you to mostly start where you want skipping some lower levels racing like Karts if your not into that. For instance if GT racing is your thing you can’t start in GT3, but you do start with Ginetta which are a blast BTW and move up to GT4, GT3 etc..No longer do you have to start in Karts for a Zero to Hero award. You can also choose the length of your career as short or full with some series giving you the choice of Euro or USA tracks which I really enjoy! The only thing missing that I would like to see is custom career modes like Assetto Corsa now offers. Hopefully that will come in a patch.
Race car Setup
This time around Project Cars 2 presents you with 2 setups out of the box. One loose and one stable setup. In practice it’s actually a good base line setup to use to get you out on track running quick laps. For faster laps of course you will need to tweak it to your driving style in which you can save your setup per track or all tracks. It allows you to save your setup name and give it a description. Good necessary stuff that all sims have, but not all sims give you 2 default setups to play with from the beginning.
Speaking of setup, you will notice there is a race engineer there to help. It’s actually really informative and makes the setups for you based on your feedback to the questions. If your car doesn’t have a particular setting it will even tell you so and suggest something else to tweak. I really like this feature and it will surely help new sim racers get up to speed quickly and enjoy racing even more now. I wish more sims offered this feature.
My Poor Ears! The engine sounds are amazing in cockpit view as well as the others this go around so crank it up! There is a good balance between your engine car sounds and others around you with the bleeding tire sound (chirp, chirp, chirp) being my favorite in all the sims I played really giving me important details on what my car is doing. You of course hear your engine over the others, but can adjust it any way you want quickly in the menu while on track. I would say don’t expect the God Father of sound RaceRoom, but for me sounds better then Assetto Corsa, Iracing, Rfactor 2 and much better then Project Cars 1. Well done!
Online multiplayer is always a mixed bag in reality, but Slightly Mad Studios has implemented something special this go around. Think IRacing rating system were you are rewarded for clean driving and slapped around for driving poorly. We now have a rating class as you progress with your online Esports Career. The race class ratings are U,F,E,D,C,B,A, to S being the Shiznic!
Start at U1500 with a blue striped badge and move up or down based on your track performance. It’s unclear how much clean driving you have to perform to undo some bad driving, but rest assured just like starting as a (R) Rookie level in IRacing it may be painful to move up due to bad drivers around bumping into you. Both drivers get penalties for contact even when it’s not your fault. Once you move out of the U rank cleaner racing should be pretty easy to come by or race in higher ranks if the HOST will let you in. This is some of how your graded.
- Contact with AI , Opponents and static objects
- Losing control of your vehicle like spins outs.
- Exceeding track limits
Also note the license tracks three main spheres of a driver’s career: a driver’s reputation for safety, a driver’s skill level —both of which can be used as a filter for online racing—and driver experience. Driver experience tracks your time spent in Project CARS 2, and can be viewed in the Driver Network Profile as a graphical embellishment that charts your rise through the ranks of your motorsport profession. While this is an insight into your ability, it won’t affect your online rankings.
I don’t use one, but hear some either love it or still dislike it, so take it with a grain of salt and wait for a demo to try out before buying or swing by a game store to try the game out first to decide. Mostly the comments are for the positive and the game controller problems are a thing of the past. I personally think the best way to play a sim title is with a proper wheel and pedals so stop messing around and go buy one you will thank me later well maybe not you’re wife, girlfriend or boyfriend. 🙂
Wrapping it up with a Conclusion
Project Cars 2 is an evolution from Project Cars 1 and stands out from the crowd of race titles as covering the most popular racing genre’s while looking and performing in a realistic and spectacular way. It doesn’t just look pretty offering up a lot of content. It actually performs really well in a realistic manner with all the content it offers. With the great graphics, improved physics engine, great tire slip effects coupled with sound improvements that all tie in together making it even more rewarding time to race with. For 2017 it Project Cars 2 really is the sim to play!
Out now on Steam, Xbox and PS4.
See ya on the Track!
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