Reasons to be Skeptical of Project CARS 2

project-cars-2Across the social media spectrum in YouTube land, the notorious loud-mouthed personality BlackPanthaaan English bloke who traditionally showcases arcade racers on his channel – has caused a bit of an uproar within the Project CARS fanbase. Recently uploading a pair of videos entitled “Reasons Not to Buy Project CARS 2” and The Project CARS 2 Community Responds”, Theo spends about thirty minutes discussing why he feels the average virtual auto racing fan should avoid the upcoming game by Slightly Mad Studios. And while it’s hilarious to see the all-out war taking place in the comments section between enthusiastic Project CARS owners eagerly anticipating the next game, and those disappointed by the 2015 multi-platform racing simulator for a vast array of reasons, I actually sat through both videos and felt Theo just didn’t do that great of a job getting his main talking points across – which is partially why he was met with such immense hostility from the games’ supporters. It’s really just people shit-talking with one another as if they’re spectators of an important soccer match, instead of properly dissecting why people should or shouldn’t be looking forward to Project CARS 2.

In fact, intelligent discussion around this title is something I’ve yet to see on even the most calm and collected sim racing message boards, such as RaceDepartment, VirtualR, or even the sim racing subreddit. People are quick to call Project CARS a scam and throw all kinds of colorful derogatory nicknames at Ian Bell, the head of Slightly Mad Studios, but rarely do people go into any sort of detail as to why the product is allegedly inferior to other modern auto racing simulators.

So let’s discuss those details. In response to BlackPanthaa’s most recent YouTube videos, here are actual reasons to be skeptical of Project CARS 2 that you can take back to your respective sim racing communities, and have a reasonable discussion around.

Refining the AI Behavior is Too Steep of a Hill to Climb

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, with the short clip above really drilling home just how genuinely difficult it was to participate in a satisfying offline session of racing within the original Project CARS. With so many different vehicles on the roster, and a multitude of tracks that came in all shapes and sizes, it was pretty much impossible for Slightly Mad Studios to craft a compelling artificial intelligence component that could handle all possible racing situations. For example, if you build an AI component for GT3 racing, where they bang doors, brake rather early, and throw dirty-ass blocks because the cars have fenders, it’s not going to go over well with open wheel cars thanks to them making use of completely different braking zones, on-track etiquette, and aerodynamic dependencies.

But during my time spent messing around with the game across two different platforms, the problems I ran into were more than just general aggressiveness. It was not uncommon to make it through Qualifying in one piece and be somewhat satisfied with how the AI drove once they were all spread out, only to see the field of cars become hypersensitive around each other, wander off the racing surface, and smash into a solid object a good thirty feet from the preferred line once the green flag dropped. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

It was already next to impossible to test every single car on every last track layout in the original Project CARS to ensure a compelling single player experience, and with more pieces of content set to be added in the sequel, in my opinion this problem can only get worse. One of the reasons I advocate for single-series games is so developers can focus on perfecting one specific style of racing, as Project CARS is a solid example of what happens when you throw in too many conflicting types of auto racing; you physically can’t test and refine everything to make sure it not only works, but that it works well.

While a lot of sim racers will promptly skip the offline component entirely and head straight towards the eSports section of the title, not giving a shit about how the AI drive in the slightest, where Project CARS differs from other racing simulators is that it attempts to create some sort of major offline career mode experience, where if you want to treat the game as this virtual auto racing career where you start in karts and progress through the ladder like a real driver, you can. If the artificial intelligence is too hit-or-miss, where the GT3 cars are objectively serviceable but the Formula C drivers are complete idiots and wad up the field with nonsensical kamikaze moves, this entire portion of the game is basically a write-off.

Some of the Technical Hiccups Are Ready to Enter Kindergarten

Unfortunately, I have to admit defeat here and confess that in 2017, most major video games ship with a wide variety of bugs and glitches, to the point where making a video compilation of unique in-game fuck-ups is a surefire path to YouTube stardom and at least recouping the cost of the game thanks to Google AdSense. However, the glitches that were present in Project CARS at launch, and during the first few months of the game’s shelf life as a $60 product, were more than a misplaced menu, spelling error, or distracting visual anomaly. It was not uncommon for your car to spontaneously explode thanks to gremlins deep inside nVidia’s PhysX system, rendering all of the time you’ve spent behind the wheel up to that point, an absolute waste of an afternoon.

Now while we all love a good car crash, there’s a difference between hitting an invisible wall in Burnout: Revenge and dropping back five seconds from the race leader, versus having a multiple-hour race ended prematurely, or losing the points lead in your private online league, because the software was defective for a split second. With how incredibly complex modern video games have become, we’re never going to completely abolish technical issues, but the problem with Project CARS was that the technical issues were show-stopping; launching your vessel into orbit at the most inopportune of occasions. The thrill of sitting down to play a racing simulator comes in merely completing a lengthy event with the car in one piece, and having that dark cloud looming above the players’ heads, threatening to fuck it all up at random, was very frustrating.

But what really rustled people’s jimmies, was that these were some of the exact same gremlins that had popped up in previous Slightly Mad Studios releases, such as 2011’s Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed. Four, almost five years had passed, and though Slightly Mad Studios had re-built Project CARS from the ground up with the help of the sim racing community, injected an entirely new roster of content into the application, and were operating on a completely different design philosophy, the same bugs that ruined races in 2011, were ruining races in 2016. Customers wanted to be shown the new game was be an improvement over the old game, and in this case, it didn’t happen.

So with the team unable to fix one of Shift 2’s most notorious bugs in five years for the release of Project CARS, it’s completely understandable as a potential customer to question what bugs from Project CARS they’ll be able to rectify for the sequel. Will the zero camber exploit return? Will cars continue to spawn directly on top of one another at the start of the race? Will rain tires last longer than hard compounds, while producing the speed of supersofts? Many sim racers believe the answer to these questions are all “yes”, and the track record of Slightly Mad Studios when it comes to getting these things fixed for good just isn’t where it should be.

Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t a possibility they’ll go out and prove everybody wrong, but if we’re basing our predictions on past tendencies of Slightly Mad Studios here, the hyper-critical sim racers digging up old NFS Shift glitch videos are certainly making a valid argument, and have every right to be concerned.

pcars2There’s Too Many Discrepancies Between Teaser Material and the Actual Game

Digging through the PRC.net archives to when we first began covering Project CARS 2 in the summer of 2015, I was able to find choice snippets of teaser material, depicting a very different Project CARS 2 than what has officially been announced this past month.

The 200+ car figure first mentioned has been cut back to 170. Hill Climb racing and Touge battles have been cut entirely in favor of ice racing – if a VirtualR commenter is to be believed – which from the publicly available footage appears to be just one facility. There hasn’t been a word about driver swaps, spotting functionality, teammates, or co-drivers, with the focus instead being placed on something called LiveTrack 3.0 and dynamic puddles – which is probably a shot at reeling in the rFactor 2 crowd, who endlessly masturbate over unique rubber build up. There’s also a create-your-own test track feature listed, and some sort of tutorial mode dubbed the “Project CARS Academy” discussed in early pCars 2 material from the official Slightly Mad Studios website, though none of this has surfaced, either.

It’s not abnormal for developers to cut features from a game during the development phase for any number of reasons. This is a simple fact of game development – not everything on the drawing board makes it into the final product. However, the drastic change in direction compared to their initial, very public vision that was proudly shown off to the sim racing community, is commonplace for Slightly Mad Studios, who once aimed to launch the original Project CARS as a Wii U title before sheepishly admitting they couldn’t make the game run at 30 FPS long after the game’s release on other modern consoles.

Putting myself in the shoes of a potential customer, its very hard to have faith in the quality of the upcoming product a company is working on, when the company makes very public initial statements, claims, or previews that are then totally contradicted by their own second wave of promotional material a few months (or in this case years) later. Again, it’s not out of the ordinary for a big team like Electronic Arts to talk about a new feature in FIFA or Madden in select interviews that eventually fail to see the light of day due to time constraints or the inability for the team to implement it in a way that was enjoyable, but in this case, it’s now two games in a row where Slightly Mad Studios have come out and said “we’re planning to try and have X, Y, and Z in our game”, only to show up a year later with Q, W, and a portion of Z. Customers sketch out a bit when this happens, and its very understandable for them to feel that way, so they start asking legitimate questions about what other kinds of surprises are in store for them – the surprises without stripper cakes and copious amounts of alcohol.

project-cars-tech4gamers-21-750x400In the coming months, there will be a lot of fighting when anybody dares to bring up Project CARS 2, and the above three areas are where I feel any sane message board user should drag the conversation into if they’re looking to move away from generic shit-talking comments such as “Project CARS is the most beautiful piece of crap I’ve ever purchased” in favor of a more reasonable critical discussion about what will most likely turn into Bandai-Namco’s alternative of Forza or Gran Turismo. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about this game, but rather than busting out the one-liners, calling it a scam, or dreaming up new nicknames for Ian Bell, personally I’d rather see things evolve to the next level of online warfare – proper discussions.

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68 thoughts on “Reasons to be Skeptical of Project CARS 2

      1. People arnt all as stupid as you james, they can see exactly where your coming from and your motivations, you see you think everybody is as dopey as you, message to you champ, everybody can see straight through you boy, everybody knows what your going to do before you do because weve watched your personality, you are a sell out with no self pride or values, a hypocrite, youd suck anybodies cock who paid you and you prove it daily.
        Whats really funny is that you will be the last one to realise because your such a narcissist and so wrapped up in your ego.

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  1. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA REVERSE SHILLING AT ITS FINEST, mate youve sold out, you are a complete joke online as is PRCs, its got so pathetic i hardly drop in any more, seriously mate you used to have a bit of cred, now you are a complete hypocritical sell out, completely shameless.
    You cant fool the people mate, we saw you coming years ago and predicted you teaming up with SMS, seriously how you view yourself mate?

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  2. Stop sucking Ian’s cock.

    Let’s be honest here, PCARS was a total and complete disaster that was never fixed and PCARS2 will be a rehash of that with a few additional gimmicks that will make the game even more broken.

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  3. So black panther is now a source of inspiration, an article about slaptrains views on sim racing next perhaps? It devalues any legitimate points you brought up.

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  4. There are arguments constructed in a reasonable manner on why pCARS is bad and how SMS/Ian Bell have lied about the game, especially comparing the drafts of pCARS game design, content, and features vs what had been progressively getting worse during development to what came out at launch.

    Then there are all the meltdowns, bannings, and less than exemplary words posted by the man himself. There’s been a noticeable change in the tone and messaging of the posts about SMS recently.

    Don’t be thrown off by Ian’s private sweet talking or money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me its about “how many times can you rip on the company for the same thing.” Weve had our fun shitting on pCars and AC when they were in the spotlight, now we gotta turn the page and go forward. Hence the abrupt halt of AC articles as well.

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      1. It’s fair to not keep going on the same thing if it has been covered before. With pC, it likely has. I don’t follow anything about that game so I can’t speak about latest gremlins or fan disservice.

        There’s nothing tangible on pC2 yet and due to the company’s past, they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. On a previous article you were allowing yourself to be positive about it from someone else’s words instead of remaining skeptical.

        Stefano made his couple of millions and may think he won at life, and just bask in the glory of his formerly own forum, where he believes he has the right to mistreat people and be a spoiled child without manners. Maybe he’ll stop being rude on other boards and even lay low elsewhere. So no new news on AC, that’s also fair. Until he or his army make a mention of the game being a complete race game or sim, when it isn’t either.

        At times of low news you should really focus on forgotten topics of old, old games still alive solely due to modding on a concise and complete package (gpl and gp4), or old games that are still golden to play.

        That rally game post was nice, as I recall watching videogame TV shows and back then we had three rally titles on the psx times, but couldn’t afford the console and games. These days I can go and search for titles I was forced to miss and enjoy them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well well well … there’s a surge of quick jobs of F1 seasons many have always wanted from the F1C days happening over at studio 397 forum. Guess what? No room for criticism, blind praise, and hard-headed users like bwana working on the continued repulsion of any mildly interested users.

        And who knows about permissions? CTDP died and gave up on ISI-related material, and any and all conversions need approval by who knows who at the group. The EMAC content likely has no permission.

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  5. Laughs at all the angry ISI / rFactor 2 Bastard fans above calling James and PRC a sell-out, why is he a sell out, it isn’t his fault that fuck all is coming out of the dead ISI stable, it isn’t his fault rFactor 2 is the shit garbage that it is, it isn’t his fault that there truly is no interest in any product from ISI, or any shit game that uses the ISI shit motor engine, Iracing, asetto corsa, project cars and R3E, are all more interesting than any title that uses the dated garbage shit engine created by ISI 19 years a go, your all just a bunch of old dated pension book receivers, waiting to die off, hurry up and do it, and leave modern sims to progress, because none of the current titles that use the shit motor engine by ISI shows any form of progression at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone who cares knows the ISI stuff is stagnant. It’s not worthy of news until there’s controversy in the future coming from paid dlc from s397, as ISI had done enough messes and flaky promises for many articles in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ice racing? When you can’t even code AI?

    It’s clear to me that the SMS strategy is fairly simple:

    1. Lots of checkbox features for PCARS(n).
    2. Make it look real nice.
    3. Marketing!
    4. Sales will drop off after a couple of weeks anyway, so who cares about quality?
    5. Just say that PCARS(n) will fix all that stuff people are complaining about!

    6. n=n+1

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What if they have a friction parameter in their game, and they simply give ranges to certain parts of tracks to simulate different surfaces? It’s very simplistic but not entirely implausible. And before you say it, yes, very limited :p.

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      1. The problem is that they are once again shotgunning their racing sim. Instead of focusing on one type of racing at a time and perfecting that, they’re putting out all these different types of cars, a bunch of tracks and then none of it is likely work well.

        PCARS1 is basically a hotlap sim with wildly variable quality in the cars and tracks. It’s sort of like a mediocre rF1 mod. It “sort of” works. If you squint hard enough.

        One thing really refreshing about F1 2016 was how well it all worked together, probably because they only had to worry about getting the AI right for a single type of car. I’ve had some fantastic offline races in that game.

        Are the physics and FFB stellar? No. But who cares about physics when the AI can’t even race?

        Liked by 1 person

            1. No prob. My opinion on PCARS isn’t quite written in stone anyway. It’s enjoyable, but it depends on the car. And on some tracks the AI seems sorta-kinda OK, but overall you just can’t trust them.

              So, basically like racing online in Forza 6 😉

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  7. Oh dear Austin…

    You have been ‘played’.

    Ian has played the long game with you, and you have fallen for it.
    Whatever you say about PCars1/2 will now been seen as, ‘paid for content’.
    PCars people will be lining up, or have been lined up to fill your comment box.

    Your credibility has gone.
    Ian has played you beautifully.
    You have put yourself in a box, a box that Ian opened for you.
    And you ran in.

    Credibility; nice chat with iracing management, via the telephone, and you get $755.60 refunded to you.
    Iracing does not do refunds to banned members, however you got one…

    Perhaps you could explain, exactly how you got the refund, you know to help other ‘banned’ members, because if they refunded you, they have to refund every other banned ex-member.
    You could write a nice piece about the process.

    Still, you got to buy a nice new helmet.

    Credibility; member of your team testing PCars, ‘unpaid worker’ for Ian Bell.
    Really?
    So how does that work?
    And how does that look, when you consider your credibility.
    I know you have tried to explain why your guy, is now Ian’s guy, however you really should of respectfully declined the offer.
    To preserve your credibility.

    You have been burned by someone who does it for a living. Mr Bell plays with big boys everyday.
    Making money is easy, if you are prepared to use and abuse people.

    Austin, you have been used.

    Game over.

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    1. 100% spot on, this site is now the laughing stock for selling out to the very people SMS that you despised so much, what a back flip of olympic proportions for a few bucks.
      Ian knew it would destroy your credit too, youve been played on many fronts PRC, that you are not embarrassed and ashamed says it all.
      I like it how when your getting hammered with the truth you put another blog up real quick james, dont think its not noticed, to get the attention away from you getting hammered you cant get a new blog up quick enough.
      All credibility gone, one can only joke about PRC, its not even worth dropping in for a troll any more.

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      1. Get the hell out. Since PRC’s inception, people have been crying that it’s all negativity and bad for the community because they just point out the bad stuff and do nothing about it.

        Now they actively try and do something about it and suddenly they are shills.

        Drowning the witch…

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        1. They still point basically just negativity, they still don’t do anything, but with the twist of the shilling disguised of positivity.

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          1. The whole shilling meme on here is utterly fucking boring. This place is over-run with insecure little friendless sim plebs unable to form real world logical thoughts, because they are trapped in an underwhelming cycle of negative cognition over driving games & chronic masturbation.

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  8. Good article James, how can SMS have a legitimate online competition with all of pcars ridiculous exploits? That fact alone deligitimizes the whole franchise for me, but to stay unbiased it is a good looking game.

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  9. Agree with the first half of the article & is well put but second half is not really a reason to feel sceptical. Not really sure why they would push through features that are clearly not going to work.

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  10. Have you seen Blackpanthaa play? He steers like Uncje Jesse in The Dukes of Hazzard and plays with the outside camera view. No wonder he is fucking shit at everything.

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  11. Today the latest build for pCARS 2.. 33GB…. yes thats right 33GB.
    pCARS1 cam in just under 23GB when completed with all patches ?

    While pCARS 2 is 1 with allot of Extras like Tracks and Cars. 33GB B537 (28/02/17) build is going to take anywhere from 5hrs to a few days for those depending on Net Connection. (me its saying 3.4hrs)

    Currently as of today before this build pCARS 2 stands at 56.9GB.
    For a game that previously had Shit AI and the same shit AI features still here, im not holding hope that those features will be corrected as pCARS 1 still has the same shit AI issues
    Most times at the start of the Race the AI will dive bomb and cut the 1st corner (3-4) at once or just run up ya ass.

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    1. They put in a new compression method to reduce size

      Compared to BF3 (2010 – 70+GB) or recent BF1 (50+GB) this is nothing.

      AI is still WIP … judge it when PCARS 2 is released … if its still bad then write it like that then

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  12. You should stop watching retards like Panthaa James. There are actually places out there “going into detail as to why the product is allegedly inferior to other modern auto racing simulators” as you put it.

    I would recommend these videos I came across for those interested to see why PCARS was indeed shit… in detail.

    I will stay away from PCARS2 for a couple of months, that´s for sure, and will only buy once I gather some info from someone who knows what he´s talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SMS deserves all the skepticism. They promised the moon on Project cars and failed to deliver. When they announced pcars2, lists of new features were announced only to never hear of them since, as stated.

    They promised fixes for their broken game, which never came.

    This company doesn’t care about the consumer and those giving them money to make another game, when they never even finished the first one are blinded by some weird obligated alligence.

    The fact they crowd funded AGAIN after selling over 2 million copies of pcars2 tells you a lot. Why spend your money to create a game when suckers will line up and pay to beta test for us.

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  14. For me its about “how many times can you rip on the company for the same thing.” Weve had our fun shitting on pCars and AC when they were in the spotlight, now we gotta turn the page and go forward. Hence the abrupt halt of AC articles as well. ” From James ”

    James has obviously moved on which isn’t a bad thing but still gets bomb barded with some of the above.

    It is obvious how much time he puts into these articles all be it a personal view from himself or someone else with some of the topics , some I agree with some I don’t. (that’s my opinion) and everyone unfortunately has one .( a opinion that is) .

    I respect James in that he is obviously hugely passionate about sim racing and what can be perhaps changed through some of his thoughts and incites into the sim racing genre.

    As for Pcars 2 I would have to be one of the worst for jumping on pcars forums and giving Ian a pretty hard time about promises and things that were left out or not fixed , eventually to be punted from the forum more than once .

    I’m not saying that I haven’t forgotten the first product they pushed out but I do also have plenty of hope for Pcars 2 , I do believe they should leave the dirt out as they really are or could be stretching the limits of their capacity as a developer as we have already seen in the previous product.

    Within a group of 20 or so guys that I enjoy sim racing together with , we did have plenty of frustrating times with Pcars but we also had a couple of seasons of some pretty dam fun racing also.

    At the end of the day for me I will eagerly anticipate what SMS can produce this time around , why ? because I just love cars / motorsport and sim racing in general .

    If this site wasn’t here I would have been banned from AC site also after that effort on ps4 .

    James I am glad you have this web site to come to and voice opinions bad or otherwise without major retribution , you give a lot of shit you take a lot of shit and you push on.

    Have a good day gentlemen .

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  15. For me, it comes down to the fact that SMS made huge mistakes with the first game. To me, the quality of pCARS was shoddy and it really just felt like a refinement of the Shift games. For all the noise and hype about that first game (much of which was encouraged by SMS themselves), the product we ended up getting was not so good. Furthermore, the attitude of Ian Bell, and some of the things he was saying back in 2015 were just nasty and really made him look bad.

    Is there a chance SMS will pull something special off here? I suppose, but given their history, I wouldn’t count on it. pCARS 2, at least what we’ve seen of it so far, looks like more of the same from these guys. We need innovators and new ideas, not the same old offerings. I don’t want to support a company that keeps making the same mistakes, and I really don’t want to put money in the pocket of a guy like Ian Bell, so this one is a hard pass for me.

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  16. More deep thoughts from the dipshit that wrote a 2000+ word article saying SimBin will need an army of devs to untick this box in UE4.
    h t t p s://s1.postimg.org/64hictmu7/PRC_UE4_Physics.jpg

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  17. Pcars what a colosal fuck up.

    All this was on concole and I’m pretty sure it was never fixed.

    When the cars barely touched each other they would get stucked and neither were able to turn.

    Mclaren MP4, that car was a fucking ramp if the guy in front brakes 25 meters before the usual braking spot and caught you off guard. The MP4 transformed into a Forklift lifting the car in front on top of it´s self. It was hilarious. But incredibly stupid.

    Of course when I brought this things up in the forums I was told that I did not understand real world physics.

    I lost not only money but hours of my life trying to have a clean race only to be dive bombed by AI. Defending? You can’t do that they would just cut the track and hit you. Not to mention AI speed in the rain.

    I tried racing in a league, I was behind I guy I couldn´t overtake even though I was faster. So I pit 2 laps early to see if I could make a difference in clean air and put a few more litres of fuel to compensate. But the game ignored my changes and went with my initial race strategy. I raged and cursed the whole way out of the pits. That meant I had to make another pit stop 2 laps before the end of the race. When I went in to add fuel I reduced the fuel to barely a few liters but the game gave me a giant middle finger and loaded the fuel I changed in the previous stop making me waste an enourmous amount of time filling half a tank for 2 fucking laps. I raged quit the league that day because the game was not in a playable state.

    Of course when I complained in the forums the answers were exactly the same ones James is putting here on the blog. The scope of the game was too big so we are sorry, The AI has to put with open wheel and closed wheel racing. It’s very difficult. we have to move on to Pcars 2 thank you for your purchase.

    How about coding a different AI behaviour for open wheel cars and another for closed wheel cars?

    So on to Pcars 2 now they have cut a lot of the content they initially anounced. Sure it can happen to any developer. But when it happens again with SMS. Well, I am reading between the lines that most likely they are nowhere near their deadlines and QA standard.

    PRC after being employed by SMS happened to shift their focus and try to be more positive and less cynical about Pcars and Assetto Corsa. It seems to me that since they were demanded to change the way they critized Pcars they also changed their views on Assetto Corsa because it would have been too obvious if their tone only changed when discussing Pcars.

    It is a shame PRC has come to this, a shadow of their former self. PRC, even though negative, was interesting because we live in a world where every major gaming site has no idea how to review racing games and when they do, they seemed to receive a different copy of the games with barely any flaws. That is where PRC used to fill in. Well, not any more 😦

    R.I.P. PRC

    Like

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