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Posted February 9, 2017 by Andrew Cathie in Feature
 
 

Project CARS 2 Hands-On Impressions


In the last few years crowdfunding of games has surged in popularity, with projects on Kickstarter and its ilk continue to raise higher dollar figures and break records. When Slightly Mad Studios crowdfunded Project CARS back in 2012 they skipped all established models and instead went directly to their fans, issuing shares of ownership that are still paying dividends today. As Tim wrote in 2015, Project CARS was an excellent racer and the first game in the genre to really challenge Forza and Gran Turismo in some time. This is especially amazing considering its relatively low $5 million budget. We recently got to go hands-on with its upcoming sequel, Project CARS 2, and walked away thinking that it may just give the big-name racers a run for their money.

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We took part in three races, with all of them showing us something different about Project CARS 2. First, it was off to Mt Fuji for your regular garden variety simulation-style racing. Taking on the track using a controller, we found the controls responsive as we drove through the corners and flew down the straights. They also never felt unforgiving, which can sometimes happen when controls are a little too responsive to your inputs. In a game where how your car feels is arguably the most important thing, Project CARS 2 passed with flying colours.

Next up was the same Mt Fuji track as before, but this time there was a new feature to enjoy as we wound our way through the track. Instead of the static weather we previously faced, it was time to roll in the dynamic weather system. The road was dry when we began, but soon enough rain rolled in and it started to impact the track and handling. As the track grew in wetness we were forced to adjust our handling and methods. The way the condition of the track changed dynamically with the weather was exciting and an impressive demo of the technology Slightly Mad Studios are bringing to the table.

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Finally, the standard roads left us and it was time to try our most difficult challenge yet: an ice track. This course was different from Mt Fuji, with a fiddly and difficult track around a frozen lake while driving a car that most definitely wasn’t suited to the conditions. The only way to win on this course was to pump the breaks and accelerator, avoiding being too heavy handed with them for fear of completely losing control. It was a constant battle to maintain control on the slippery surface, but was the perfect example of the new LiveTrack 3.0 tech developed by Slightly Mad and an exhilarating way to finish our demo.

Throughout all of this, we were impressed by just how good the environments and cars look. Cars were crisp and clean, and environments were detailed and pleasing to the eye. We were especially impressed that the game looked this good after finding out that the demo was running off a GTX-980, meaning that the game is either well optimised or it has the potential to look even better.

Overall, we were incredibly impressed with our hands-on time with Project CARS 2. The controls were responsive, the visuals were fantastic and the racing was exhilarating. We’re looking forward to seeing what else Project CARS 2 has up its sleeve to give the big-name simulation racers a run for their money.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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