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Everything we know about Project Cars 2
Slightly Mad Studios hit a racing sim goldmine with Project Cars, presenting a visually stunning yet challenging experience that left fans wanting more. Well, that’s exactly what we’re getting with Project Cars 2.
TrustedReviews has compiled everything you need to know about Project Cars 2 including all the details on news, gameplay, tracks, cars and more. We’ve also got a hands-on preview from games editor Brett Phipps.
Project Cars 2 release date
Project Cars 2 is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 22, Slightly Mad Studios has announced.
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Project Cars 2 tracks
Slightly Mad Studios has outlined all of the tracks coming to Project Cars 2, of which there will be 120. Tracks such as Azure Coast, Cadwell Park and Long Beach have all been faithfully recreated with four dynamic weather variants. You can find the full list of playgrounds here.
Project Cars 2 cars
In addition to its healthy selection of tracks, the list of vehicles coming to Project Cars 2 have also been unveiled. 180 fully licensed, fully approved and fully tested cars are coming to the racing sim. Some of the highlights include the Vantage GT12, Continental GT3 and more. You can find the full range here.
Bandai Namco has also announced that Ferrari will be included in Project Car 2, bringing the world famous brand to the series with a variety of historic, classic and current models. Obviously, you can expect them to be super fast and gorgeous to look at.
Hands-on preview by Games Editor Brett Phipps
Available September 22 on PS4, Xbox One and PC
My latest hands-on session with Project Cars 2 took place at Brands Hatch, both in the game and in real life. That’s to say that I was at the actual circuit, driving on the virtual recreation of it.
And the fact that I felt compelled to stay inside and play the game, rather than watch the British GT Championship that was taking place metres away from me, is surely some great praise.
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While Project Cars 2 is known for its steep difficulty curve, Slightly Mad Studios game director Stephen Viljoen spends the opening presentation showing just how much work the team has done in making sure that the player isn’t overwhelmed before even getting behind the wheel.
The user interface of the original Project Cars was somewhere between Football Manager and nightmare fuel, but its sequel presents a much cleaner look, with the right amount of detail and tooltips for seasoned sim racers and casual players respectively.
For example, there are now preset rulesets for each of the race disciplines in the game. When in Quick Race, if you want to jump into a touring car race, the game will automatically filter touring cars in the menu, as well as limit only tracks where said cars would realistically race, and apply all the rules and regulations of a proper tin-top encounter. It’s a much more streamlined system, and makes things much better in terms of getting into a race quicker.
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Then there’s the ability for multi-class races, with the player able to select up to four different classes to have on-track in any event. So your Porsche could be racing up against a Formula C car, while also lining up alongside a Mini Cooper and tailing a Lamborghini. It’s a cool system and creates a proper track-day feel.
There are also now two different difficulty modifiers, one for AI skill and another for AI aggression. The AI in Project Cars, some felt, was rather too aggressive, sticking rigidly to the racing line and desperately battling to be first into a corner at all costs. The developers have opened this up to the player, taking the philosophy that “to finish a race first, first you have to finish” as Viljoen describes. In other words, being able to tune how aggressive the drivers are in intense on-track moments makes it much better for players looking to improve their driving skills without getting smashed off the circuit every time they hesitate for a moment too long.
The track environments have been shaken up as well: the game now features localised weather, meaning that on larger layouts such as GP circuits or the Nurburgring, one area of the track may be wet and suffering a downpour, while another part may be bone dry. Like in real life, this is something racers must factor in as they navigate the circuit, feeling and searching for the grip while trying to work out what type of tyre is best for the conditions.
There are also marbles (discarded tyre rubber) on the road if you venture too far off the racing line, which reduce your grip levels markedly if you drive onto them. As I drive around Brands Hatch in a LaFerrari I’m constantly astonished by the level of detail that there is in every inch of the game. The car feels unique compared to any other I’ve driven, the road is behaving differently to any other lap, let alone any other race, the tyres are misbehaving because I failed to warm them up properly on the out lap.
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There are now multiple assists settings, too, with all the driving aids you’d expect including braking and steering assistance at various levels. Or you can choose the new ‘Authentic” setting, which limits your driving aids to whatever the real-life car would have. If you’re driving a 1967 Lotus, for example, it won’t have anti-lock brakes or traction control. Or, if you fancy a real challenge, switch all the driving aids off no matter what car you’re driving.
I opted for Authentic, but it’s not like playing bowling with the bumpers up: you still need to have your wits about you.
I drove around Brands Hatch in a ton of different cars, from a LaFerrari to a Renault Clio to an IR-12 Honda Road and the Formula A and C open-wheelers, and each time I had to relearn everything. It’s like if every single bike you had as a kid required learning a new way to stay upright. Every vehicle has its own quirks, and they need to be understood in order to keep the car out of the grass and gravel.
The LaFerrari was a dream to drive, willing to let me throw it into the corners with near-reckless abandon, leading to a comfortable first-place finish. In the Formula C it was a similar story – with the top speed limited to little over 100mph I was able to hit the accelerator early out of the corners and attack the AI to muscle my way to first. When I added rain into the mix, things got a lot tougher, especially given that I failed to manage my tyre wear properly early on. Onto Formula A, and I couldn’t even get through the first right-hander without spinning out.
Simply put, there’s something for everybody.
The one fly in the ointment is that the visuals on the PS4 Pro don’t even come close to how the game looks on a top-spec PC. On a desktop system, it’s simply the most gorgeous-looking racing game I’ve ever played. It still looks good running on a Pro, but sticking the two versions side by side at an event makes the console version look ugly by comparison. Viljoen confirmed to me that the Xbox One X version will look better than the Pro, so as a non-PC gamer I’m hopeful it can be something even remotely close to what I’ve already played.
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I’m consistently amazed by Project Cars 2. On the road it’s unforgiving, relentless and breathtaking, but it’s a game I desperately want to learn and be better at. Every lap, car and track feels different, with Slightly Mad having poured such a painstaking level of detail into all of it that the depth is incredible.
To enjoy Project Cars 2, it deserves a player’s time and respect – and come September 22, it’s most certainly going to get both from me in spades.