The copious amounts of advertising money we receive from the various ads plastered all over the site means there comes a point where we at the PRC.net HQ grow tired of orgies with the finest escorts available in North America and occasionally have to spend some of that cash on the latest and greatest video games. After it looks as if we’ve been trolled by a pCars video masquerading as pCars 2, ad revenue we’d put aside for Chris to spend on Ultimate Team packs in FIFA 15 has now been prematurely blown on the Bronze membership to Project CARS 2 to get our own impressions of the sequel to the bug-ridden racing sim released earlier this summer.50 GBP translated into roughly $105 Canadian, and this approach was taken by Slightly Mad Studios to ensure a lack of trolls on the WMD forums. Personally, I do not understand what they’re trying to accomplish here, as one of the main marketing points of the original pCars was the fact that
30,000 80,000 people contributed to the development of the game, and now for the sequel, suddenly a huge amount of people helping out with the game and contributing funds is seen as a “bad thing”, and access must be restricted to an elite group of people. Man what?
Anyways, once you sign up for the forums (I had to use my real name, they’re gonna find me right away), you’re given an option of the many toolkits available, and after a few easy hoops to jump through, you end up torrenting a 1.2 GB copy of Project CARS 2. There appears to be no NDA restricting what you can and can’t say about the game away from the WMD forums – it is the same basic advisory screen that consists of “don’t be a cunt and show the game bugging out”, followed by links to a few other threads that also say “please don’t be a cunt because the last WMD period was a disaster with all the trolls.” Keep in mind, the trolls they refer to are kids who pointed out bugs and silenced by moderators unable to take criticism.
While the game was downloading, I clicked around the forums. As commenters on here and Reddit have described, it’s essentially an echo chamber, the game’s own users blind to their blatant hypocrisy. In one post, a user slams Reiza studios for their upcoming unlicensed V8 Supercars, blissfully ignorant of the fact that Project CARS shipped with unlicensed prototypes:
They also haven’t been too kind to us, believing us to be insane and delusional for simply linking to videos of the game bugging the fuck out and drawing attention to important figures picking fights with random users who dare to criticize the quality of the game:
Chris: I guess someone forgot to tell Ian that the Brazilian bunch actually have a working game with above average physics based off 10+ year old rFactor. The only thing they copied was the crowd funding idea that he didn’t invent but the internet did several years back with gofundme, kickstarter and steam green lighting.
The first major problem I ran into during installation, and I wouldn’t call it much of a problem, just something that’s going to make many people laugh, was a little box that popped up in the initial phase of getting the game onto my PC. Upon trying to install the beta for pCars 2, the installer asked if I wanted to get rid of pCars 2 as it was already detected on my system. I never previously owned pCars 2. I had a shitty repacked torrented version of pCars Version 1.3 that I blew away a few weeks ago and some files were still left over, but not pCars 2.
For a game that is supposed to be a technological leap forward and won’t be landing on store shelves for 2-3 years, the base components of the new game are so strikingly similar to the old game, it genuinely believes a few loose files from a shitty outdated repacked torrented copy of pCars is actually a beta version of pCars 2. This is raw confirmation of a cash grab.
Anyways, you boot the game up, and the menu is the exact same as the original pCars, but with a white background to give it the beta look. It’s the same UI as Project CARS all throughout, hopefully won’t be used for the final product, and in a shocking twist of events, it imported all my old display configuration settings from the original game. A quick trip to the controller menu to assign all the proper buttons on my controller and I was ready to go.
You get Mugello, Sachsenring, Sampala (ice racing track), Wildcrest (rallycross), and a Surface Test Track to screw around on. The game comes with three cars, all given unlicensed generic names such as SMS FWD, SMS 4WD and SMS RWD Buggy. Away from licensing issues, it’s a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 (I think, someone please help), an Ariel Atom, and a Ford Focus RS.
I don’t like any of these cars.
As for the negatives, there was no option to pick winter tires or even off road tires for the Mitsubishi Lancer. I was left with a few unlicensed track day brands that didn’t indicate I’d been given a proper tire compound for the icy surface. Even crazier, while running laps, it felt like the behavior of these tires had been fudged so the game wasn’t a complete clusterfuck on snow. I was driving on tires clearly meant for asphalt racing, and the game appeared stuck in a weird state between “why did you select this tire compound” and “we have magically adjusted grip levels on this compound because we don’t know how to properly model snow tires.” I could never fully predict what the car was doing at any given time, because the physics and tire model were so lackluster. It was very reminiscent of early Assetto Corsa rally tracks where track grip levels had been adjusted to simulate loose surfaces. Whether the adjustments were made within the tire behavior, or surface properties, I’m not sure, and I don’t really care. All I could think was “this is bad and I don’t want to play it anymore.”
I live in Canada. Myself and 38,000,000 other people have to drive to work in the conditions above for eight months out of the year. If this was how our cars behaved in real life, going to the 7Eleven for Milk would be an extreme sport, and there would be 250+ truck pileups on the highway when all the cocaine addicts went back up north to work in the oil fields. We seem to be doing alright, so I don’t understand why driving off-road is portrayed in such a bizarre way within this sim.
Yanking the handbrake as I would in DiRT Rally, a title that is basically the number one rally sim on the market, caused me to violently spin out. Once I got the hang of how lightly I had to tug on the e-brake, I couldn’t carry a drift to save my life. It was really bad.
Heading out to Wildcrest yielded similar results despite a total change in the environment. Wildcrest appears to be a fictional Italian rallycross circuit despite the totally not Italian name, and is probably the worst track layout I’ve ever driven on in any racing sim. The track is a 50/50 mix of dirt and asphalt, with unnecessary chicanes and giant rumble stribs that only exist to frustrate you. This track would be a total nightmare online. It doesn’t flow well at all, the car handles just as bad on dirt as it does on ice, you get massive air off the rumble strips (which will cause several people to roll and clog up the track with wrecks), and there’s a jump three times the size of your car on the final straight that sends you flying right off the track if you’re not careful, which can be seen in the distance here:
There are still problems with the HUD not saving your configuration settings. At random, the game would enable mouse look, completely screwing up my cockpit view to the point where I’d have to exit the game. A few instances, it failed to save my FFB adjustments in the options menu. Little shit like that, stuff that should have been eradicated in the first game which is already on store shelves, hasn’t been eradicated in the beta for the second game.
Meanwhile, games like Assetto Corsa launched with a near perfect driving model in their own tech preview that featured one car and one track. Like, the more I dicked around in the pCars 2 beta, the more I kept finding shit where it’s just like “why?”
It’s a cash grab. The game looks the same, drives about the same, and even thinks leftover files from pCars 1 are in fact from the pCars 2 beta, meaning nothing has been changed under the hood. It has the same annoying bugs (and a few new ones), the same free cam controls, and the same canned FFB effects as the original game release two months ago. People will scream IT’S PRE-ALPHA, but the difference here is that there’s already a complete game to build upon.
So I’m not sure what SMS are trying to accomplish here. It’s not devious enough, nor does it cross enough lines to be labeled a scam, but it definitely doesn’t warrant the praise the endeavour receives from certain publications.
Someone from SMS will probably get booty blasted enough to find my account, ban me, and give me a full refund because they’re legally required to do so, meaning I effectively got to try pCars 2 for free and report back to all readers of PRC.net.
We’ll get our money back, but a lot of people won’t.