Project Cars 2 review: Still in the pits

Price when reviewed

Project Cars 2 has been out for just over a fortnight now, and the reviews seem to be largely positive. On the surface, it’s easy to see why. The game features 180 cars – 18 more than GT Sport – but it’s managed to pack in much more variety. Project Cars 2 allows you to drive classic Lotus F1 cars, old Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs such as the E30 –  and pretty much everything else a car nut could hope for.

There are 60 tracks to drive them on too, and like Forza Motorsport 7, Project Cars 2 will also let you race in incredibly bad weather, at night or in the day. So far so good, but then there’s the handling.

I tested Project Cars 2 at a preview event several months before the game’s launch, and I found the handling relatively strange. Having driven several cars around tracks in real life, and used racing sims such as Gran Turismo and Assetto Corsa for the last 20 or so years, I found Project Cars 2 quite challenging. Not challenging because of how hard it was, but because of how unpredictable it felt. That’s not good.


The handling

Fast forward a few months, and I’ve found the same issues with the final game. As with most reviews, I began testing Project Cars 2 by simply loading up a time trial with a car and track I was familiar with. (That means an Audi R8 or a BMW E30 around the full Brands Hatch circuit, as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitch.)

I was expecting something similar to every other racing game, but as I coaxed my BMW off the gravel for the third time, I realised something was different. Just as I noticed during the hands-on event, Project Cars 2 seems to have twitchy, unpredictable handling when using a wheel – and for the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to fix it.

Customising the settings on my Fanatec wheel further has slowly improved things, but it’s a slow task of trial and error. Games such as F1 2017 and DiRT have been relatively plug and play, but Project Cars 2 has been an arduous affair of tweaking settings, spinning, tweaking again and then spinning less.


Maybe I’m just bad?

Is it me? I don’t think so, and having played GT Sport this week and had an actual track day, I’m more sure that it’s Project Cars 2 than ever. It’s odd, especially because when using a pad, the game feels relatively okay.

However, I’ve first decided to review Project Cars 2 on a wheel first, and my current issues with it mean I haven’t explored its career mode or multiplayer.


My verdict so far

Put the handling to one side, and Project Cars 2 is a car enthusiast’s dream. Cars look great in all-weathers, and vehicles such as the Audi R8 LMS sound raw, aggressive and just fantastic.

The handling, however, presents a problem – with a wheel at least. Although most will play it with a pad, because Project Cars 2’s main USP is just how realistic it is, its wheel handling issues are difficult to ignore. I’ll update this review in a few weeks. By then, I may have finally calibrated things to my liking.

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