Slightly Mad Studios Is back again with another iteration in the Project CARS franchise, this time with Project CARS 2. Slightly Mad Studios has created a lot of improvements over the previous iteration, whilst continuing to take on the racing genre focusing on giving the player a realistic and a challenging experience. The career mode returns and works just like it did before, featuring six tiers of racing that you slowly make your way through. It’s challenging but rewarding at the same time.  You will also compete in manufacturer and invitational events that you unlock along your career, breaking up the regular set pieces and offers something different.

There has certainly been a focus on the extra amount of variety in regards to the styles of racing and the choices you have available compared to Project CARS.  The first game only had seven tiers with 16 series that were all a bit generic. Now, the developers have created 29 different series to choose from. You can choose to start anywhere in the first few tiers, the top championships are unlocked through progression. Championships consist of five routes, each with their top-tier competition that feature some licensed real-life series, which will certainly appeal to the motorsport enthusiasts, such series include the Renault Clio Cup, Pirelli World Challenge, and IndyCar.

If you are looking for cars, well no shocker you would be in a racing title, Project CARS 2 gives players the ability to race in over 180 cars included in the game from recent Rallycross cars to the 2016 Ford Mustang RTR GT4. As mentioned before, the game is packed with content, from the career mode, to the cars and now to the tracks. There are 20 new tracks added to the already existing tracks, totalling to 60 tracks, with over 130 individual layouts overall. It’s truly packed out with content.  They’ve also included historic circuit layouts of Spa Francorchamps and Monza, giving players possibly one of the first opportunities to see what it would have been like to race in the Formula 1 during the 1960s.

Unfortunately, Project CARS 2 does have a few minor issues which keeps it from being a perfect racer. My biggest gripe with the career mode is the practice session, which gives you time to get used to the track and tune your car, but it last for 30 minutes! Another issue I have is if you want to go through a qualifying session to give you a better starting position in the race, it will last normally around15 minutes.  This isn’t going to be much of an issue for most but for those that don’t really want to put that much time into a single championship round, it doesn’t make much sense to go through a 15-minute qualifying session, especially if you are only racing in a small number of laps.

Bare this in mind, there is an option to skip to the end of the session when you are happy with your time, although there seems to be a bug currently where no matter how well you do timing wise, if you choose to skip the AI always has a faster time? This is a bit of a frustrating issue but hopefully in an update this will be resolved.

When Project CARS first released, I actually never played the title until recently with the sequel coming I thought it would be best to experience what the previous iteration offered. I was extremely happy to learn straight away that the controls have been improved in Project CARS 2. I found that the first Project CARS had a real trouble with handling and felt it had a steeper learning curve because of the controls. Project CARS 2, still has a challenge and learning difficulty however, even though it’s difficult it’s also fair. I do still feel the same as did during the PS2 era, racing games will always perform better with a wheel and pedals.

I feel this series, would benefit more with some kind of wheel bundle for those who want to simulate the real experience, and would probably enjoy it more. Again, Project CARS 2 has a learning curve and is the same with most racing titles but I feel Project CARS titles do take longer to get to grips with than most.  You may need to  change your controller configuration depending on the type of experience you are after. If you want to get the best timings, you will certainly need to learn the car that your using, how it handles and the track you are competing on, with tense moments with the AI, as the AI is not stupid, give Project CARS 2 a balance of difficulty and pure enjoyment when you win a race and beat the AI.

As mentioned briefly, Project CARS 2 has its fair share of bugs and glitches that I experienced and still experience. A few more noticeable than others include times when my lap times did not record, even though I remained on the track. This also caused an issue with the HUD disappearing until restarting the game. There are also some issues in the game that aren’t worth mentioning but it ranges from very rare frame rate/stutter to pop-up glitches. It sadly has effect a bit of the experience especially when you have to re-do a race again because of the mentioned issues above.

The dynamic weather effects and the overall graphics for both the cars and each of the tracks are fantastic, the best I’ve seen in a racer to this date. It’s all spot on and it really does make you feel like you are on the track. All of the cars look great and have their own personality, with help with the various handling it is the perfect package in that regards for the authentic racing experience.  There are so many licensed cars and tracks to choose from it really are the complete package.

As mentioned the controller support has vastly improved compared to the first game, with configuration options and game assists available to tailor your experience. It still has its learning curve and will be one that will take a short while to get use.  The realistic handling of the cars come into play for sure but that’s the reason why we want to play Project CARS 2 in the first place is to experience realism. While some small bugs were noticeable, there’s no doubt that Project CARS 2 is one of the best racing games out there. I highly recommend the title if you are looking for an authentic experience.