I sat there working and waited for Project Cars 2 to load onto my system, waited with baited breath, as soon as the steam notification popped up, I grabbed my Xbox One Wireless Controller, loaded the game, and said to myself, here we go, let’s see if I can really drive.
I did not want to start a career yet, so I started a quick run, jumped into a supercar, chosen a track that seems to be easy, not that many bends and off I went. Camera draws in, chosen to drive with the follow camera instead of in-car camera, I tend to play like that with all racing games, no idea why, just do, revved up my engine, watched the lights go from red to green, and slammed down the throttle off I went, first bend, should be easy, arrows saying yellow, whatever that means, maybe something to do with the turn, car slides, does not turn like I thought it should, I slide off the track and straight into the racing tracks walls.
Sat there, scratching my head, what was I doing wrong, maybe the coloured arrows means something else like I am going to fast, so reset the race and started again, this time the arrows where blue on the turn, made it around this time, slammed it down again, came to the next turn, slammed on the breaks, slip slide, all over the place again, I was back on the track wall.
Paused the game, I suck at this, stupid game, went to youtube, what am I doing wrong, ahhh, found a video that discusses controller support and making the controllers feel and act more suitable, followed that, damn it worked cars handled better for me, but I was still slamming into the track walls.
I felt I needed to start from the very beginning, time to start career mode and right from the lowest form of racing cars, Go-Karts, and I love Go-Karts so who cares, bring it on.
Welcome to Project Cars 2 from Developer Slightly Mad Studios, a game that put you in the seat of Go-Karts to High Performace cars right up to supercars, this game is for motorsport fans on a whole new scale. Don’t expect a game like, DiRT 4, GT or Forza Horizon, this is a whole new pedigree, which pushes the art of racing to all new levels, I have not experienced before.
So back on the track, Career has started, Jumped into my Go-Kart, time to learn how to drive I guess, now I have set up the controller better, I hope everything helps. I must have restarted over a dozen times, learning how to control a car (Go-Kart) fiddle with the settings, trying to find the perfect balance for me. 20 attempts down I was starting to improve until it decided to rain, “come on” I shouted at the screen, “I almost learnt how to drive on tarmac, why did you have to add rain, I hate you“. Rain adds a whole new level of gameplay and performance that you will need to learn to control and understand how your car will perform under these conditions.
I must have gone back to the drawing board many times by now learning how to control just a Go-Kart under dry and Rain, please don’t give me snow I beg you, not when I am learning. Project Cars 2 adds so many elements to the game its crazy, you have the seasons, weather conditions, time of day, and then you have tires and tier conditions during a race, there are so many factors to be aware of and learn its somewhat overwhelming. Take, for example, I decided to try a Go-Kart, during a blizzard, at night, I must have been crazy, and compared my experience I had when it was sunny and dry, the elements and factors from going from one to the other, adds richness and depth to an experience you would not have in many other games. The weather factors go on and on, like I said from a nice sunny day to stormy, maybe a thunderstorm, snow to a blizzard how about some fog, lets up the fog to heavy fog and chuck in heavy rain, and these weather conditions can be pre-set or dynamic. They can also change during a race, whizzing around a track on a nice sunny day, got the correct tiers on, doing rather well, it seems, clouds start rolling in, starts to rain, your sunny tiers are not up to it, and you need to change tires to be with a chance of winning, its the last lap, do you or don’t you? can you handle your car with the wrong tires on? these are the types of choices you will need to make, these are the elements you will need to understand and learn, your car and every car is different will react and control different from the next, my advice, stick to one, learn it, move to the next and this will take some time, a lot of time.
They can also change during a race, whizzing around a track on a nice sunny day, got the correct tiers on, doing rather well, it seems, clouds start rolling in, starts to rain, your sunny tiers are not up to it, and you need to change tires to be with a chance of winning, its the last lap, do you or don’t you? can you handle your car with the wrong tires on? these are the types of choices you will need to make, these are the elements you will need to understand and learn, your car and every car is different and will react and control different from the next, my advice, stick to one, learn it, move to the next and this will take some time, a lot of time.
This is what Project Cars 2 offers you, it is what Slightly Mad Studios call Anytime – Anywhere, in a recent interview Rod Chong explained it like this ” So ‘Anytime’ refers not only to the 24 hours of lighting and all that stuff, but also we added four seasons. So now every single track has not only 24 hours of lighting and completely dynamic weather, but now there are four seasons. So you can go to the Nürburgring in Germany in the Winter, or in the snow, if you want, and drive it that way”
So I have simply learnt one major thing, don’t think you can put the throttle to the metal and go like a bat out of hell, it is simply not possible if you do you will find yourself slipping a sliding, spinning and crashing off the tracks.
Now all that is crazy right, dynamic weather effects, lighting, seasons, how about we chuck in over 180 cars to the mix, from Ferrari to Ford and everything in between, there is a shed load to dig into, and each car has its own learning curve, took me ages just to learn how to control the Ford Mustang. So you have 180+ cars lets add a shed load of tracks from real locations to made up locations, all with multiple layouts. You can choose a Rally Course to Race Tracks, all of which are damn hard, to a degree in a way anything and everything is here, so whatever you enjoy in motorsport, it can be done.
To help bring the cars to life Slightly Mad Studios have brought in their own racing drivers, the car manufacturer drivers and one hell of a sophisticated simulation engine, which can simulate the components in the engine, the drive chains, the suspension and a whole lot more, it’s all in there.
There is also the sound, OMG the sound is crazy amazing and is set in a 3D environment, so you can hear cars from all angles, and your car, dependent on where you place the camera. This could be the use of their own sound engine or the use of Dolby Atmos which produces a 360 degree sound experience. Coming from a recent interview we got this quote that explains the sound perfect “You’ll notice that as you move the camera position around, the sound quality changes, or, if you’re in VR, there’s now positional audio. So, if you’re in VR and you hear a car over here beside you, and you look, as you move your head the sound rotates, so that’s a new feature in VR. It’s quite nice – it adds to the immersion.”
Everything in this game is packaged up with an outstanding graphics engine, which captures the seasons, dynamic weather effects and cars in astounding detail. You can really feel the sensation of speed within the car, less when following the car, and the environments are beautiful to behold.
The AI competitors will seem to be easy at times and then for some reason turn into little bitches, I would say a little erratic, but hey maybe I would be the same If I was in a race. The Multi-Player fixes all this, well somewhat, you have real players behind keyboards, controllers and racing wheels, which can be a mix of many, from new racers to tactical racers, to complete jerks, you just don’t know who you will be up against.
In the end, after hours of gameplay, I had finally learnt to control a Go-Kart, a Ford Mustang, McLaren P1 and a Renault Clio Cup. I experienced the worse the game can offer and the best, each and every driving experience was unique and trying. In the end, I felt like I had accomplished something, I had learnt to drive in a virtual environment, and I shall be coming back for more and more, to learn to control other cars and to test all the tracks available.
So what do we have? a pure simulation of motorsport, to a level many will not expect, if you want an easy ride, then stick to Forza Horizon, if you want a true motorsport experience, behind the wheels of some of the greatest cars in the world, or just some fun playing around with Go-Karts, with some of the best true to life experiences then this is differently for you.
On a side note, damn this game plays a whole lot better with a full car setup, gear shift, peddles and steering wheel, had a go with the setup and god damn it feels much better, chuck yourself into VR experience, it is even better.