Project Cars 2 will set purists' hearts racing

Project Cars 2 has 53 tracks and over 180 cars to choose from. And like the original, PC2 has very few modes.
Project Cars 2 has 53 tracks and over 180 cars to choose from. And like the original, PC2 has very few modes.PHOTO: BANDAI NAMCO

The original Project Cars, launched two years ago, was a difficult-to-play driving simulator that endeared itself to driving purists. Will its successor, Project Cars 2 (PC2), offer more of the same?

Like the original, PC2 has very few modes. There is a Career mode, in which you create a driver avatar and work your way from the lowest rung to the pinnacle of motor sports. You can choose which type of cars to start with, like Karting, or go straight to driving supercars.

There are also the Quick Play and Community modes. In Quick Play, you can create custom offline races by selecting the weather conditions, the number of opponents and their skill level, as well as the car and the track. This is a good place to start honing your driving skills.

There are 53 tracks, 37 carmakers and over 180 cars, which actually aren't that many to choose from especially when compared with Forza Motorsport 7. Still, you can go from a Lamborghini Veneno to a Honda Civic Type-R, in iconic circuits such as Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps in Quick Play.

The Community mode is where you compete to set the fastest laps on certain tracks in time trials. There are also community events, such as those where you have to use a specific car on a specific track.

As someone who prefers not to play in multiplayer modes, I dived straight into the Career mode.

Once you pick your car, there is a series of races to participate in. Each race requires you to participate in a 30min practice, followed by a 20min qualifying event before the actual 10min race. It all becomes a drag after a while. Furthermore, the race does not go by number of laps. Racing stops when the time is up. However, you can adjust the duration of each session. You can opt to turn off practice and qualifying but you will start last in the actual race.

  • 8/10

    RATING

    PRICE: $59.90 (PC), $79.90 (PS4, the version tested; Xbox One)

    GENRE: Racing

As you start driving, you cannot help but marvel at the superb graphics. There is also a realistic dynamic weather system. For example, a race can start dry but get rained on as it progresses. And before you know it, your car's handling starts to go haywire as aquaplaning occurs.

On the downside, the cars' handling is a tad suspect. Almost all the cars tend to understeer. To make matters worse, the driving is difficult because it is realistic. But you can adjust the settings to suit your driving aptitude.

I have to swallow my pride and start turning on brake assist and steering assist to prevent myself from crashing frequently. Even so, if you lose concentration for just 0.5sec, be prepared to end up hitting the barriers or skid embarrassingly out of control. And there is no rewind feature, though you can restart the race.

I found the computer opponents' AI to be woefully inconsistent. At times, your rivals will force you off the track for no good reason, even though they might be leading the race. Yet at other times, they cannot be bothered to defend their position as you attack the apex.

Trevor Tan

• Verdict: Project Cars 2 continues to be a game for the driving purists with its authentic driving simulation, gorgeous graphics and realistic dynamic weather system. But it might be too difficult for casual players.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Project Cars 2 will set purists' hearts racing'. Print Edition | Subscribe