Analysis of Project Cars 2. Bigger. More realistic

Project Cars 2
Written by Kamran Haider

The first Project Cars took everyone by surprise, but its sequel does not need that factor. We had been warning for months: Project Cars 2 has made major changes that make it one of the current benchmarks in the simulation landscape. This is your analysis.

It cannot be denied that the first Project Cars caused a great commotion in the community of simulation fans. With his good sales, he left no one indifferent. Some welcomed their mechanics and their physics, while others did not finish entering their approach to asphalt. Despite offering a great simulation, any mistake was too punished, for example, especially in oversteer. That is why Project Cars 2 has wanted to start from scratch because in a simulation game it all starts with the physics of the wheels.

It is impossible to cover everything that comes to offer a title like Project Cars 2 in this analysis. Not so much for the game modes, but for the thousands of combinations that occur when mixing each of its more than 180 vehicles and 60 tracks without counting its variations, to which the new Live Track 3.0 factor is added , which It makes the tracks vary both for the seasons of the year and for its variable weather and the time of day we run. Mastering all these factors will be a titanic task that will take us hours since with the right equipment you will notice each difference in these vehicles according to the asphalt conditions. Well, asphalt and gravel, since the discipline of RallyCrossIt is added to this title and it works amazingly well. In addition, if you manage to master everything that Project Cars 2 can offer you in its individual modes, you will always have more games with its online modes, where races and counters are arranged everywhere in a series of limited-time tests dedicated to the most expert .

Burning rubber

But you have to go back to the beginning. At the origin of why we are talking today about Project Cars 2. The new installment of Slightly Mad studios is born mainly around an idea that the study has been sharing since its origins. First of all, many of the implementations that were happening to the team for the first game were impossible to add without completely changing the entire physics system of the wheels and their behavior on the asphalt, so they decided to create everything, a new game around the complete feedback they were collecting. His philosophy has been clear: not because it is a more realistic game it has to be more difficult. And if you have had the opportunity to test a powerful vehicle at some time in a circuit, you will surely understand what Andy Tudor’s team refers to; Driving sports is difficult, of course, but not impossible. The difficult thing is to scratch those seconds to the clock and hurry up each of the curves.

With a flyer in your hands, the feedback you receive from all this new physics convinces in virtually every discipline we have tried. Formula-type vehicles behave in a surprisingly realistic way in their passage through asphalt and pianos, but it is in braking where the race against oversteer begins and achieve adequate accuracy when negotiating curves. The surprise is when we add the weather conditions, where we see how some circuits with rain help dissipate the skating of dry asphalt wheels, while you have to pay attention to other factors, such as the puddles that form on the sides to throughout the duration of the race.

You will notice the condition of the tires according to their conditions. Since when they are cold and they can play tricks on you; when they are at their optimum point and when they are worn. You will notice if you enter a piano well or badly and how you should accelerate when leaving each curve. As in good simulators, all the mistakes you make provide abundant information to correct them and improve on the next laps. Then, of course, every car is not as punishing. It will not be the same a Ginetta that allows to easily correct the output, then a Caterham with its runaway power where it will be necessary to be very precise with the acceleration of a Formula where to nail the braking and the direction.Burning rubber

Surprised the leaps and bounds that Slightly Mad Studios is taking with only two deliveries

All this, although it seems perogrullo, is enjoyed with a steering wheel in your hands. It is the ideal way to play Project Cars 2, although the Slightly Mad Studios team has tried to make every effort to transmit the sensations of the race through a traditional command. The game is perfectly viable with this option and as we say, the control has been greatly improved with a command with respect to the first game, but to take advantage of the times, tune the curves and correct every action of the vehicle, you have to spend late or early with a flyer and its force feedback.

In short, Project cars 2 complies in its most essential section: its new wheel physics and the sensations of centrifugal force, stability, and friction with asphalt. Is there room for improvement? Of course. Is it the best in its category? Compared to the deeper simulators dedicated in chassis and soul to the online competition, probably not. The philosophy of Project Cars 2 is very different: create a simulator where to run as, where and whenever you want. Do not forget the rookies, who also have their place and their way to be the next advanced players, with some visual aids as well as in the stability or braking of the vehicle, which like the first game can be activated or limited.

However, it is not without errors. There is room for improvement in some dangerous situations when dealing with the curve and shooting out of it, and tourism-type vehicles have an excessively increased tendency to understeer, causing us to have to force the machine too much to achieve the turn or by doing Some corrections in the setting itself. But perhaps where we have had more problems is with the behavior of the collisions and the other vehicles on the track: yes, the classic problem. We are not too worried about off-piste collisions, aesthetic damage to the vehicle, since usually in Project Cars a collision of this type is synonymous with restarting the game session and in an online event of leaving the race, but yes We have more reluctance when facing collisions with other cars on the track.

If we are the ones who rush, we have seen some vehicle practically passing over, but in the most occasions, it has been braking of ours or a turn that the adversary has not taken into account and has made us destabilize the vehicle because the AI had a route something preset. This route is not completely immovable and depends largely on the aggressiveness that we configure the AI, but reducing it makes things much easier because the other pilots will not try to overtake us, while fixing it very aggressively causes these types of mishaps that are really frustrating when We are “driving” an especially long race.

Some surfaces have also raised our eyebrows, such as ice. While it is much improved compared to previous versions we tried the video game, it is still not completely refined, with some unrealistic snowbanks.

Snow or thunder

A lot of emphases have been placed on Live Track 3.0 and what affects the circuits, and indeed the weather is one of the protagonists of Project Cars 2. In individual tests and practice, you can configure it as you want, selecting different weather: clear, sun and clouds, cloudy, rain, storm, thunderstorm, snow, blizzard, fog, fog … It is best to combine them with each other up to a total of four conditions that occur in real-time or a greater progression.

If we select the time of day, we will have spectacular sunrises and sunsets or closed night, and time can also pass credibly or hurriedly. The interesting thing is that we can also select the exact date and we will see the track and surroundings according to the season of the year in which we find ourselves, with the icy landscape in winter, the hot track in summer, the autumn colors or the floral landscape in spring. There are definitely purely aesthetic factors, but others such as wind or humidity can affect the race.

The weather is one of the protagonists of Project Cars 2

In Story mode, the game will choose the weather conditions for us and will also have its point of interest. You can nail the practice and the Pole Position with a clear climate, after learning each movement and each curve to then get to the race and find a dense fog that you have to adjust completely. Even competing with the sun at the top or at sunset can vary your results a lot, especially if you are the type of pilot who takes references when knowing when to brake and with abundant shadows that hide improves the curves.

Project Cars 2 is a showy game, and when weather conditions come into play it is much more. The degree of detail in the puddles that form in real-time is quite surprising and if you are a pilot of those who competes with the standard configurations; That is, with a very high number of turns to the circuit, you will see how the rainwater accumulates on the asphalt and muddy the outer gravel, having to adjust your driving style every so often. Something that is going to notice much more in the multiplayer field, where any fault counts.

All the effects are very worked, especially when the light conditions accompany with an autumnal sunset or with a stormy rain, but with the clear sky, we must admit that some details are not so refined. We talk about some particle effects, such as the details of the water released by vehicles in contact with the wheels. Also, the environments that accompany the circuit, buildings, and areas around the track do not have extraordinary detail, especially the grass that surrounds the track. This is even more noticeable in the console versions, where the overall image quality is also reduced, more than likely to be able to maintain a very solid 60 images per second, wherein general terms the game is completely solid.

Special mention to its complete integration with Virtual Reality devices on PC, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Our experience with VR has been one of the best we have had with the glasses on, not only for its range of options that allow us to adjust our view but for its comfort during long gaming sessions. As for PlayStation VR, the game is currently not compatible with Sony glasses. Yes, it is with PS4 Pro, with a resolution of 2560×1440, the 2.5K call which is then scaled to 4K. It is not the only change: the image detail is also higher in this version of the machine, both in vehicles, the stage itself and objects such as grass. Shadows and reflections have also been improved and in general, the profiling of all objects produces smaller saw teeth. On PC, the optimization is maximum, with support for three screens, resolutions above 4K and adaptation to ultra-panoramic monitors. Regarding the Microsoft machine, we will have to wait for the launch of Xbox One X to check the improvements in this aspect.eSports

Objective: online community

Another aspect where Project Cars 2 has wanted to influence is in the online field. And while the car shows great attention in this field, the truth is that we expected something else. On the individual ground, nothing to reproach. You have your multiplayer tests, which allow you to quickly compete against other players, as well as join sessions created by them or make your own with the conditions you choose. It is appreciated that many of these options take into account your Professional Pilot License , which works not only to know your statistics, but a bit as a matchmaking, so that it will take into account the type of driver you are, if you complete the races, if you leave them or if you commit many penalties, preventing entry to players who do not play fair.

Another of the great options are events with limited time. Counter-watches where during a segment of the calendar we can compete to get the best time to the stopwatch by creating a virtual ranking table. There will be all kinds of events with detailed conditions that will help keep the game fresh for a good part of its life. In addition, in our profile, we can have a good compilation of all the photos we take, repetitions, statistics and affinity with cars and favorite scenarios.

Our experience with Project Cars 2 has been more than satisfactory.

Where we were not so surprised is in its facet of eSports. From the beginning, Slightly Mad Studios had admitted that the first Project Cars arrived at a time where the whole concept of eSports caught them off guard, while they promised that the integration of this second installment was going to be total, with full integration with Twitch, retransmissions, possibilities to issue and cast games, etc. And it is true that the game contains an eSports tab, but it is not what we expected. The option to watch live broadcasts is a direct link to the official Twitch page that opens in your Internet browser. One of past broadcasts, the same but to YouTube, while the news and the calendar of events they do the same by taking us to the official website of the game. Which is not far from the traditional formulas we had to follow eSports news before. The retransmissions are possible thanks to the customization options in each race, allowing two slots for the transmission director, who will take care of changing cameras and positions in the race and another for commentators, although we have not yet seen any option that allows Dispute tournaments or more advanced events.

It has opted for a system of ratings online, one of the most crucial points for the community of players and is fully related to the Professional Pilot License that we discussed earlier. The game will rate us according to our skills and also according to the sportsmanship we show in our careers. If we select a bar high enough when creating an online event, we can filter all those people who, for example, create absolute chaos on the starting grid, spoiling the work we have been able to do in the qualifiers. At the moment, the games that we have played with this option have been quite effective, but unfortunately, we will not be able to check the total efficiency of this option until the bulk of players do not fully enter the field of the online after having taken the pulse to the game.

More than asphalt

You only need to contemplate one of the presentation images of Project Cars 2 to realize that one of the pillars of the game was driving on different types of terrain. Although the main focus is still on the asphalt, with real, official circuits, others of their own invention, some that return and others that are added, the main novelty is the RallyCross. And the truth is that it works really well. What at the beginning coming from the precision of a racing circuit may seem like a somewhat crazy experience, it becomes a surprisingly precise driving once we get some experience and it transforms the game into something very different.

Here we can contemplate a completely new panorama of the physics of the wheels with vehicles with a lot of power were to give a little more free rein to the steering wheel and the accelerator to compensate for the oversteer and nail the skids, with a great feeling inside the cabin. The circuits are varied enough for the first contact, starting with the famous DirtFishAmerican, although we expect much more from this discipline in the future, which may even lead to the license to perfectly adapt the Rally modality if it achieves a good fan base. Perhaps we would have liked that the tests could be more personalized, since we are forced to go through all the qualifying tests before the semifinal and final of each circuit, making each stage somewhat repetitive if you want to advance at a better place.

However, our experience with Project Cars 2 has been more than satisfactory. Its wheel physics will convince those who left the first installment somewhat colder and the inclusion of Live Track 3.0 has been a success. There is always room for improvement, but it is surprising the leaps and bounds that the Slightly Mad Studios team is taking with just two deliveries, the product of having things very clear as to the direction to be followed. As for the Story mode and the RallyCross, what there is enough, although we would like to see what the game is capable of moving further through these areas of the rally. In the online options, we expected some more content in their vision of eSports, although there will be enough competition in races and time trials to test ourselves whenever we want.

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Project Cars 2 has left us with great sensations, especially with the most important aspect in any simulator worth it’s salt: the physics of the wheels. The changes made in this aspect are correct and the integration with a variable climate, the addition of the RallyCross and its multiplayer facet, make it a great sequel that surpasses its predecessor in everything.

  • Great recreation of wheel physics and grip
  • Climate and variable weather with Live Track 3.0
  • The new Rally Cross-discipline, very well added
  • Great performance and optimization
  • We expected more of its features and implementation for eSports
  • Artificial intelligence and collisions with it are unrealistic and frustrate some careers

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Kamran Haider

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