Project CARS 2 (XB1) Review

Ken McKown

Gotta go fast.

The first Project Cars felt, well like a project. It had great ideas and plenty of customization, but it lacked the polish a lot of the bigger names carry with them. The sequel feels like the developers took all of that criticism to heart. This is how a follow-up game should be done. Project Cars 2 brings everything that made the first one feel special, and tweak it to near perfection. Toss in that exorbitant amount of customization and gorgeous graphics engine and the developers finally have a game that is worthy of serious praise.

I enjoyed the original game. Even though it was a bit more simulation that I usually prefer, it had so much to see and do it was hard not to be impressed. One of the things I didn’t love about the original is that it felt like the game was tuned for steering wheel control. Playing with a controller never felt right. The second game has fixed this issue entirely. Every car feels unique and on a controller it finally feels right. Steering tight turns feels natural, correcting feels manageable, the game just works with a controller now, which is a huge boon.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

The biggest hook to Project Cars though is its customization. Everything can be tweaked in every mode. Want to adjust any facet of the car handling, you can do that. Want to race in a blizzard at night? Of course that is possible. I love that every single detail can be adjusted, but it does lead to a bevy of menus to sort through. The title screen is littered with game modes and options. I was overwhelmed at first. Jump into the career mode and the freedom to tackle any set of races I wanted meant more squares to choose from. There really is just a ton of things to see and do.

The career mode is great. Being able to skip around to events I wanted to tackle gave me the freedom to play how I wanted. I could jump straight into the Porsche class, or fool around in rally races. For those that want less structure custom single races are where it’s at. Being able to tweak each and every option of every race is genius. It creates a sandbox of possibilities tailored to even the most casual race fan. Four weather options and difficulty adjustments make it so anyone can enjoy just about any type of race.

Of course the online suite is just as impressive. Everything is available and championships are here as well. Being able to setup online races with groups of people is simple and intuitive. There are even director and broadcast modes built directly into the game. It is a robust system. Finding games wasn’t hard and performance felt good. I wonder how long the community will last though with some of the heavier hitters dropping new games in the coming months.

It would feel wrong to talk about Project Cars 2 without mentioning its visual fidelity. Even running on the base Xbox One console, this game is gorgeous. Car details are incredible, and the weather effects are stunning at times. Seeing puddles slowly form on the track is awesome. Support for HDR is here so the lighting during key times of day are simply beautiful. I cannot wait to see this thing running on Microsoft’s new X console. The frame rate manages to stay stable most of the time, but there are dips when things get hectic, or cars bunch up on the track.

Project Cars 2 is the definition of what a sequel should be, taking everything great from the original game, bringing it back, and introducing new and interesting features. Everything feels finely tuned and the options are unparalleled. This is a dream for racing fans and a treat for anyone who even slightly enjoys the genre. Don’t sleep on this one, there are few racing games that offer this much in one package.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Tons of customization options
  • Controller feels great
  • Choose events in campaign

Bad

  • Extremely unforgiving
  • Some frame rate dips
8.5

Great

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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