Note: We played the PC version of Project CARS 2.
While previewing Project CARS 2, there have been some standouts that we’re truly looking forward to in the latest release of Slightly Mad Studio’s racing franchise. With the sheer scope of the game, it’s rather difficult not to mention everything that it improves upon the original, but there are some features that are certainly most welcome.
Gone are the days where every game has the RUF-based souped up Porsches and now, finally, the official Porsche brand is in the game thanks to EA’s licence of the brand finally over. Now you can race with this infamous brand on any track including the Green Hell – if you’re brave enough.
For those Porsche fans out there, the list of Porsches is strong with the likes of:
- Porsche 935/77
- Porsche 935/80
- Porsche 936 Spyder
- Porsche 962C
- Porsche 962C Langheck
- Porsche 911 GT1-98
- Porsche 911 GTR
- Porsche 911 GTR Endurance
- Porsche Cayman GT4
- Porsche 918 Spyder
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS
That’s eleven cars to whet your appetite!
2. Improved Gamepad Support
The wheel support on Project CARS was superb – it was tweaked almost to perfection – but that was just the wheel support. When it came to the gamepad it was a bit of a nightmare, finding the correct settings, changing settings per vehicle, having higher spec’d vehicle classes almost impossible to drive, it was enough to put you off playing the game at times.
This time gamepad support is just as good as wheel support, the difference in feel from just the default controls makes even the harder vehicles less tail happy. You can make it much harder by removing gamepad specific driving aids, but they’re tweaked enough where you can still spin if you’re not careful.
3. Online Championships
Most racing games allow you to have an online championship, or plenty of single races to make up one, but there is yet to be one where you have a persistent league or friend-only championships that are also persistent. The online temptation of irrational drivers is just too high to skew the results of others.
But what SMS have done is to create a system that punishes poor driving and separates them from the crowd that wants to race properly. This should allow for a superior online racing experience. Too frequently I have been punished in Project CARS online races where people deliberately ram me off the road because they simply couldn’t pass me, or they saw me pass. Hopefully this system shall sort the men from the boys.
4. Weather Dynamics
Weather is always glorious, the feel of the road beneath your metal box is always changing, and the experience from one terrain to another is subtle. Throw in some ever-changing moisture and even the same stretch of road can be vastly different from one day to the next. But when it comes to racing games the ever presence of nature just does not seem to be present.
Sure it can start raining or snowing and the cars become easier or harder to drive, sure it becomes more slippery in the rain or snow, but that’s about it. Many racing games have weather changing effects, but Project CARS 2 is the first – hands on – that I have played where the weather effects affect the handling.
A notable scenario is during dry to wet races. When it starts to rain the track becomes a little more slippery but manageable, and as the rain starts to pour more you get to see small puddles form. At this stage there is not much need to be weary of these shallow areas, but after a long spell of precipitation, these puddles start to become streams and move dynamically based on the track’s camber.
When the streams stop at the side of a track then large puddles form – this is where the dynamic grip of Project CARS 2 steps away from other games in the genre. Driving through deep puddles in a road car will slow you down significantly, and if you had half the car drive through then your steering wheel will pull towards the puddle due to extreme friction. This very scenario happens frequently in Project CARS 2, the best way to witness this event is racing at long tracks such as the Nordschleife, Spa, and Bathurst.
It has made the driving a lot more dynamic compared to Project CARS, and while there’s still more to test with other weather situations, the ever-changing weather seems to make a huge impact on how the cars react to the road.
5. PSVR Support (announced but not confirmed)
Project CARS on the Vive was a thrilling experience, and currently Project CARS 2 has been tweaked significantly for VR this time around and it looks and performs even better. While PSVR with Project CARS 2 has gone quiet as of late, we hope that SMS will still bring PSVR to the game, especially with Gran Turismo Sport, DiRT 4, and DriveClub including PSVR.
What makes VR so special for racing games? It’s the fact that you are no longer bound to the screen dimensions, you can freely rotate your head – like in real life – to see your surroundings and check the mirrors with a quick glance. Being able to judge the speed, distance, and position of your opponents is critical in racing and VR makes this so much easier. The experience is one to behold and should be experienced by everyone.