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About the product
- PS4 Project Cars 2 Day 1 Edition
- Project CARS 2 is the next evolution in the award-winning racing series, featuring the most iconic cars under the most thrilling of conditions to deliver the Ultimate Driver Journey experience and adrenaline rush
- Created by gamers, tested by world-class racing drivers, and the definitive choice of e-Sports pros
- Project CARS 2 brings together the essence of real racing in the most beautiful, authentically crafted, and technically advanced racing game on the planet.
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Platform:PlayStation 4 | Edition:Standard Project CARS 2 is the next evolution in the award-winning racing series, featuring the most iconic cars under the most thrilling of conditions to deliver the "Ultimate Driver Journey" experience and adrenaline rush. Created by gamers, tested by world- class racing drivers, and the definitive choice of e-sports pros, Project CARS 2 brings together the essence of real racing in the most beautiful, authentically crafted, and technically advanced racing game on the planet. Project CARS 2 has it all: From GT to touring cars to endurance prototypes and exotic hypercars, delivering the full spectrum of motorsport racing with complete freedom to choose what and where to drive. Anytime, anywhere!
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But now, after about 3 weeks later, I'm feeling very frustrated. I'm hoping that the developers are working on some fixes, because this game has great potential.
Here is the good and bad:
- Great tracks! Most are real locations, and some of these tracks actually have a 'retro' version, putting your race back into yesteryear settings. And there are some great 'fictional' tracks as well. Except for the ice tracks, which I find impossible, the track variety is one of the best parts of the game.
- Good car selection, although I would like to see a few more American muscle classics. There's a 60's Camaro and Mustang, and some nice classic European models. I do realize that this is attempting to be a 'RACING' sim, though. So they are focusing on race cars, and sometimes the street versions they are derived from. I can do without the carts, though.
- Track and weather dynamics. Especially when it comes to water on the track; amazing realism. And you can set each race to have changing weather conditions; from sunny to thunderstorm to blizzard and everything in between. And if you pick a particular date for your location, the game will try to reproduce the actual weather conditions.
- Sound and graphics are very good. I've seen some reviews complaining about the graphics, but I don't see an issue. One improvement over PC1; the original had almost no actual tire sound, which I found to be a problem. To me, it's important to hear the squeal of your tires to tell you when you are reaching your traction limits. The new version allows you to have great control over all the different in-car and outside-of-car sounds.
- The menu is generally easier to navigate around than the original version, but with some severe annoyances that I will get to later.
- This is not a easy game to master, even with a wheel I have trouble keeping the cars on the road. Some of this can be improved by tweaking the cars suspension, tires, etc. But even this requires that you kind of know HOW a car works. It's not meant to be easy, though. It's aimed at serious racing fans.
- Saving car setups: the first version was a little confusing and clumsy, but do-able. This version, forget it! I don't know if it's just a massive bug; if it is then it's unforgivable that it was released this way. If it is actually working as planned, and I'm just not getting it, then they need to explain better on actually how to do it. I've read the manual, but I still am totally confused by it. UPDATE: the 2.0 patch has come out, and the setup saving feature is WORSE! It is now telling me that the save failed because I used profanity in the filename! I DID NOT! Checking the forums, I'm not the only one experiencing this. It's absurd!
- Replay bugs: I enjoy watching the race replays. In the first version, there were three bugs that showed up consistently for me. I was always bothered by the fact that the developers couldn't see fit to fix them. But two of them still exist in the new version! There is a shadow issue (no shadow) with cars that are far in the distance, making them look like they are floating over the landscape. Also, when a car gets damaged, the damaged car part (especially the hood) changes size depending on how far the car is away from the viewer. Sometimes parts that fell off of the car magically re-appear. These, I admit, are minor issues that don't affect gameplay, but the fact that the bugs are still here in the new version really bothers me.
- In the year or more before PC2 was released, I got the distinct feeling that support of the original was nearly abandoned in order to focus on developing the new. This is sort of understandable, but it leaves me concerned about the support of PC2 once it becomes clear that PC3 is in the works. Maybe I'm jumping the gun on that one, though. I guess we'll see.
- Too many options? This would generally be a plus, but it does add to the potential overwhelmed feeling you could get when trying to get more serious about playing. I put this in just as a warning that it's not meant to be plug-and-play; to really appreciate this sim you need to go deep into it.
- My final complaint may be caused by me, but I can't seem to resolve it. After trying to set and save suspension settings on several cars, these cars are now almost completely undrivable, even after I set them back to default settings. I feel like I've ruined them, and can't get them back to the way they were before I messed with them. I'm still trying to figure out what happened, but its left me frustrated with the whole setup/save issue.
The bottom line is this, though: I LOVE the game, and want to give it at least 4 stars. Right now it seems to have so many bugs (check the forums) that it's hard to give it a good review. I've played the new Gran Turismo demo; liked it very much, but I still think PC2 can beat it on several levels. It just needs to be fixed!
I'm trying really, really hard to like this game/sim. I struggle with the fact that there is clearly a gem to be found somewhere in this software, but there are three critical faults that I can't seem to overlook.
I'll list these in order of severity. Note that none of what I'm about to say is particularly original. This is just my take on shortcomings that plenty of folks have had to cope with when trying to play PCars2:
1. Another reviewer said "if you don't have a wheel, don't bother." He's 95% correct. The default settings for a game pad are downright unforgivable. Sure, you'll come across a hero or two who claims they have it all mastered, but for the rest of us mere mortals who have lives outside of PCars2, these settings are a downright train wreck. Racing with a controller in PCars2 will be the new Chinese Water Torture if/when China ever runs out of water. Fortunately, a number of YouTubers have put out some excellent videos on how to tweak/tame these settings. These alternate settings do make the racing much more approachable, but it requires you to severely numb all of the inputs. At that point, you're left wondering if you have a settings issue or a car setup issue when you can't turn in to a corner, or your braking is weak, etc. So now, not only do you need a per-car setup, you need to fiddle with the controller settings constantly, too, so that they're compatible with what you need out of any given car. Guess what, though? You thought that was enough of a PITA, until you discover that you can't apply controller setting changes mid-race or mid-practice. Nope, those don't take effect until you start a new session. Yes, dear reader, it IS still in fact 2017. No, dear reader, you have not time-warped back to 1997.
The only reason I continue to fight through PCars2 under these conditions is because I have a wheel/rig setup en route for this title, as well as iRacing. Were it not for that, I would have sought a refund from Steam (in fact, I did originally).
2. The majority of the cars on real-life roads are FWD. I've been driving FWD vehicles for 20+ years. If you're of driving age, the chances are pretty high that you drive a FWD car, too. And if you've raced other sims, you have FWD-specific knowledge with regard to setup, handling characteristics, etc. Well sorry kiddo - you can flush everything you think you know about how FWD handles right down the toilet. Slightly Mad Studios have dispensed actual real world FWD physics and invented their own reality. The good news is that RWD vehicles handle as you'd expect. But in your first races when you're in a FWD, you're going to want to pluck your own eyeballs out of your head trying to get your car to run if it's going more than 25mph. You can feather your brakes all you want... if you think you're going to brake and steer at the same time, you have another think coming. I get that the front wheels are doing double duty between turning and braking, but the extreme to which this is implemented in PCars2 is mindboggling.
3. The racing line is just plain broken. It's been patched at least once that I know of - previously, it would simply vanish on you or just be entirely absent for certain turns on certain tracks. That appears to have been rectified, but left in its place is a red/yellow/green system that is wholly unreliable. You can be green-lit on the line, but still plow past it and into the field next to the track. Long sweepers tend to be the biggest offenders, where you can hold that line just fine, and then be forced to break because you're drifting past it.. In other cases, it will remain solid green right through turns that should have been solid red. There's just no rhyme or reason to what it's doing, rendering it useless (and a liability) as a learning tool. As it stands, it's fine for helping you figure out what the racing line is, but in terms of gauging your speed (particularly at turn-in and mid-corner), don't bother.
Runner-Up: AI is brutally difficult in dry weather, and patently incompetent in the rain. You're racing Andretti when the sun's out, and your late grandmother when the rain sets in. It's bizarre.
These complaints aside, there's a great sim to be had if they can fix these issues. It's shown me just how arcadey my previous go-to sim has become over the past decade (and I do hope that title manages to resolve the apparent identity crisis in which it finds itself). Passes are hard-earned, hot laps feel incredibly rewarding, the depth of tuning is wonderful... if you have a wheel and the patience to master a track without the racing line, I highly recommend PCars2. If you're stuck with a controller, I'm afraid that the settings alone can't fix the problem. The game needs to be able to scale your settings to the class/car you're driving, but I get the impression they're not even close to implementing gamepad controls at that level of sophistication. Unfortunately, without that kind of scalability, you'll need to constantly adjust your controller settings as if they were just another car tuning element. And due to the fact that those changes don't take effect until you exit/start a new session, that's not a tenable approach.