Alternate Reality rFactor: The Review of Project CARS 2

Disclaimer: I work for Slightly Mad Studios. If that triggers you, go here.

Imagine for a moment, that we’ve all entered some sort of bizarre science fiction vortex, and landed in a parallel universe in which Image Space Incorporated were miraculously able to become a multi-million dollar entity, using their status to acquire every last meaningful vehicle & track license, along with hiring a massive staff to actually push out a title that can be deemed “feature complete” – and not the dreaded eternal science project.

While straight out of left field, this analogy accurately describes both the highs and lows of what you can expect to discover during your time behind the wheel in Project CARS 2; this is a simulator that’s almost exactly what PC sim racers have been dreaming of in terms of content, licenses, and features, but also comes with the identical blemishes exhibited by the titles which inspired it. Absolutely loaded with genuinely captivating content that eclipses what other sims offer – and then some – Project CARS 2 is easily the best smorgasbord simulator presently on the market, yet also demonstrates that maybe the current crop of developers are chasing a false lead by cramming as much as possible into one package.

The original Project CARS was an impressive mess, in that the successful crowdfunding campaign and guerilla marketing tactics were offset by an end product known more for its’ technical ineptitude and inability to match expectations than for what it got right. This was a game touted by financial backers as the hardcore answer to Gran Turismo and Forza, only for us normies on the outside to discover the force feedback configuration menu was a university level engineering course at the very least, and cars had a tendency to explode into the air at the most inopportune of times.

To their credit, Slightly Mad Studios listened to a lot of customer feedback, even the stuff laced with heavy profane vocabulary, and there’s a tangible change in atmosphere from the moment you start Project CARS 2. Menus are easy to navigate, exhibiting a very EA Sports-like feel that should be right at home for those who indulge in Madden or NHL like myself, the force feedback menu has been simplified to just four sliders, and button mapping is no longer an ugly list of options all presented at once, but again streamlined into four distinct categories as you expect from something like rFactor 2. The level of polish given to the user interface extends to the in-game setup menu as well; this is the best car setup screen in any simulator – a hybrid of rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa – and the heads up display now resembles more of a professional television broadcast than floating semi-transparent black squares. And yes, unlike the first game, you now have the ability to save multiple setups per car, as well as name them, load them, and manage them across multiple tracks as you would in a traditional simulator.

Pit strategies can be configured while in the garage area, and again the process is a lot more streamlined, and there’s now an in-car management functionality similar to the Codemasters’ F1 games, where you can use the D-Pad to alter your race strategy, prepare for an unscheduled pit stop, or play with the car’s engine mapping. It’s essentially a black box as you’d see in other sims, just presented in a much more aesthetically pleasing manner. There’s also the ability to save what are called Motorsports Presets, allowing you to eschew the session configuration process every time you want to jump in for a race weekend, and just get right to the track with as little fiddling as possible – a nice touch.

I’ve been personally impressed with the game’s attention to detail in some areas that were previously overlooked; we’ve now got animated pit crews, the game is pretty stringent about your pit entrance & exit procedures, and manual rolling starts are pretty flexible in regards to what you can do, and when.

The game also goes the extra mile to provide you with a virtual crew chief companion in the event you’re lost when it comes to car setups. The whole thing plays out like a very basic text adventure, and obviously there’s no substitute for actually knowing what each option in the garage area does, but this is the first simulator that actually tries to meet uninformed players halfway and walk them through basic adjustments to ensure their race car handles just the way they want it to. It certainly makes the dark art of race car setups much more approachable for the average user, and ideally this’ll lead to more people racing competitively and actually doing more than just driving in isolation – as so many sim racers tend to do – because they’re not whining about getting destroyed by a dude with an elite setup. It’s certainly not a be-all, end-all magic fix for sitting down during a lunch break at work and reading about race car setups on Google, but it’ll get a lot of the gentleman drivers among us much further than they were previously.

Unfortunately, genuine improvements to the overall package – the most notable of the bunch being the substantial optimization tweaks – come with an equally diverse list of setbacks. And while they aren’t as crippling or mind-blowing as some of the stuff we saw with the first game, they will indeed ruffle the feathers of those who were hoping Project CARS 2 would blow the doors off the competition and invalidate the need for a lot of other games they’ve got currently installed.

There are some hiccups with loading and saving setups, as I’ve noticed in the game’s online Time Trial mode, the game will load the preset default setup for the car instead of your most recent setup upon restarting the session for another shot at the track. No, it’s not game-breaking, you just need to always re-load your setup before climbing into the vehicle, but it’s something that really shouldn’t be an issue for a game of this magnitude. Suspension of disbelief issues aren’t game-breaking either, but they’re certainly noticeable. Though Slightly Mad Studios have acquired the rights to several major motorsports championships, such as the Verizon IndyCar Series, the AI drivers are still given the names of random WMD members – so even if you’re chasing Scott Dixon’s car at Indianapolis, the leaderboard will actually refer to him as Tiago Fortuna. Again, not game-breaking, but extremely goofy given the fanfare of signing such a high profile license.

The quality of tracks also differ significantly between new and old. Brand new additions like Portimao and Circuit of the Americas are absurdly good; the same cannot be said about historic Spa, which was originally created for the first game many years ago, and as a result it just looks really out of place. You can physically see the LOD on models in the distance change, which quite a jarring effect considering it happens when you’re fairly close to them. Watkins Glen has been given the same facelift it received in real life, and it’s probably the best rendition of the track in any video game to date, yet Sonoma Raceway is still just as inaccurate as it was two years ago. That’s not to say the textures are poor or the model itself is of a substandard quality, their lack of accuracy is just that much more noticeable when you head to something immaculate like Fuji Speedway immediately afterwards.

But now, we dive into the heavier stuff. For a couple of months, we’ve heard how Project CARS 2 would ship with full online league integration internally within the softwareinvalidating the need to monitor scores from each event on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and manage the championship externally on a private forum – with the game taking car of everything from scheduling to scoring to stat tracking. This is completely absent from the launch-day version of the game, and I’m extremely disappointed. I had a ton of friends really excited to put this functionality to the test with their own endeavorsย  because it gives league owners a much needed break from the management side of things – and hell,ย I personally was hoping to make use of it – and it’s just flat-out non-existent at launch. I wish I could use my internal connections to reveal when we can expect this to show up as a post-release addition, but I haven’t been privy to that information. So as a sim racer I’m pretty choked on this front.

The single player AI are also a point of significant concern, though while a lot of other websites claim the AI competence is “random”, there’s actually a pretty distinct method to the madness. When driving any modern car that makes use of proper racing slicks, the AI are on par with the current crop of simulators, and this year there are both skill & aggression sliders to ensure that if you’re a talented sim racer, you’ll have a decent field of bots to battle with. I took a fleet of GT3 cars to the Nordschleife, jacked up the skill slider beyond 100% – which is new for this game – cranked up the aggression as well, and received an on-track product that was a night and day difference compared to the first iteration of Project CARS. No, it’s absolutely not a replacement for human competition and shouldn’t be treated as such unless you’re stupid, but it’s in-line with what you’ll experience from other simulators, and for a lot of people, that will be absolutely fine.

Oval racing, another new addition that was left out of the last game, is also quite good. I hate using footage from an older build to prove my point, but this is more or less what you can expect from slugging around the IndyCars – they’re respectful of your space, and put up a good fight.

Where the AI falters, is when you take away mechanical grip. If you’re talented enough to wheel any historical car, such as the ever-popular Lotus 49, you will outright murder the AI on 120% skill / 100% aggression. The AI just cannot cope with such a drastic reduction in traction, to the point where in a short race at Oulton Park in which I started on pole, I couldn’t see the cars behind me after a single lap. At the Nordschleife, I was coasting behind the pack, the AI bots so concerned with giving each other room and adhering to the track limits, they ended up scrubbing off copious amounts of speed. Unfortunately, this is a by-product of creating a smorgasbord simulator with cars of all shapes and sizes – the AI have clearly been optimized for one general type of car, and the outlier vehicles suffer the consequences in pretty drastic ways. Again, all this really does is make me advocate for simulators that focus on a very core group of vehicles, as stuffing a product full of cars that drive fundamentally different from each other and hoping it all works clearly isn’t the right way to go about things.

So what’s going to happen is that some sim racers who race only modern endurance content will more or less come away from Project CARS 2 quite pleased with the AI improvements, whereas fans of historic content or cars that don’t use full-on modern racing slicks will be absolutely furious that they’re stomping the field – or experiencing situations like the video above. It’s very rFactor-like in that you’re going to have to figure out manually what works, where, and what difficulty settings should be used. I’m not a big fan of this, but I certainly look forward to the rFactor fanboys slamming Project CARS 2 for this very reason, only to retreat to a game that exhibits the exact same problems.

Also drawing parallels to rFactor, simulating to the end of a qualifying session prematurely generates lap times for the AI cars that are downright impossible for them to achieve under normal qualifying conditions, so there’s essentially a button in Project CARS 2 that under no circumstances should you ever touch. The workaround here is to just schedule a qualifying session that lasts around ten minutes or so – as once you’ve logged a few laps, you’ll have a minute or two for a piss break and then the event can proceed – but for longer tracks like the Nordschleife you basically have to skip qualifying altogether and just pre-select your spot on the grid.

Yet for all of the babbling about features and functionalities that are either improvements, reductions, or omissions, obviously at some point we need to discuss how Project CARS 2 feels behind the wheel.

Over the summer a lot of personalities got their hands on the game and started throwing around words like “planted” and “simcade”, and it kind of generated a meme proclaiming Project CARS 2 to merely be Need for Speed: Shift 4. I don’t wanna slag off people specifically in what’s supposed to be an informative review, but there are two easy ways to dispel this unjustified reputation: First, some of these online personalities were upwards of seven seconds off pace at the tracks they demonstrated for their YouTube audience – so of course the car will feel planted at 65% attack – and second, the PC version of Project CARS 2 has actually shipped with Pro default setups that cut into the corners like crazy and rotate extremely well through the center, essentially tailoring the PC version specifically for the hardcore sim racing crowd who don’t need an understeering car out of the box, as they’re not playing on a gamepad.

Not only is it a great gesture on the part of Slightly Mad Studios to bundle the game with setups that are pretty decent out of the box, it certainly helps to display the competence of the underlying physics engine and tire model in a more profound way. I think a lot of people will enjoy how much they have to wheel these cars, because it’s certainly not what sim racers are expecting from a game so many labelled as simcade before they’ve even turned a lap themselves. Setup adjustments also generate a tangible difference in vehicle behavior when out on the circuit – compared to the previous game, which felt like a total crapshoot in the garage area – and exploit setups have been more or less erased. There’s no zero camber bullshit or zero aero stuff here; the stuff I’ve been running for testing purposes both in WMD and on my own externally for the review, it’s all stuff rooted in real world techniques.

What’s even more surprising, is that the hit-to-miss ratio among cars in the game features significantly more hits than misses. There are a lot of vehicles where you can turn laps in time trial, hit up the respective series’ official results page, and actually be bang-on with the real drivers’ qualifying times. This doesn’t apply to every car across every track, but it was certainly cool to absolutely blast through Long Beach and be half a tenth off Helio Castroneves’ track record set earlier this year, then take the Ford Fusion stock car to Texas, get Dustin’s help with the car setup, and land eighth on the real world practice charts. I also matched Kobayashi’s Le Mans record this year with one of our prototypes, and in doing a side-by-side of his on-board video it was impeccable how close we were for the entire three and a half minute lap. Not every vehicle in Project CARS 2 is like this – again, a symptom of developing a smorgasbord simulator – but the ones that are, really serve to undermine the detractors.

And this is why, despite some of the AI issues that hamper the single player experience, the prospect of racing Project CARS 2 in a competitive online league – whether it be managed through the yet-to-be released in-game functionality, or a third party site – is so enticing; definitely a selling point. The default setups and physics engine refinements generate handling characteristics much more in line with what you’d expect from a traditional sim, the enormous list of marquee cars rivals – in some cases surpasses – one’s custom rFactor install of all the best mods, there are tons of tracks to ensure you can go at least two or three seasons without treading over familiar territory, and from a user interface standpoint, the whole in-game experience of going to the track, building setups, and monitoring the session’s progress is much more streamlined and representative of titles like rFactor 2 or Automobilista than its own separate thing you need to learn all over again. This is what a lot of sim racers have wanted from a modern simulator, and that’s what they’ll get in Project CARS 2 – a good league platform with a ton of content and no fiddling or extensive third party mod collecting required.

In my time testing Project CARS 2, especially the most recent event prior to launch, online events more or less mirrored what you’d expect from a solid isiMotor league race – the netcode was fine, the menu layout gave a sense of familiarity, and it didn’t feel like a drastic change of pace after several seasons in Stock Car Extreme.ย  So I think adopters of Project CARS 2, who are coming over from other sims, may be surprised to find that online events no longer feel foreign or confusing because the layout of the session screen is just so abstract – Slightly Mad Studios have paid close attention to what works in this environment, so there won’t be any stumbling around or learning curve to joining an online event.

The same could not be said about the first game.

And while we aren’t privy to the built-in league functionality at launch, the game does track your ELO rank, though it remains to be seen how this will play out. Currently, the online scene for the original Project CARS features a lot of chaotic six lap sprint races, and entering these will be suicide for your ranking in Project CARS 2 if that casual-oriented mentality continues, so those who actually care about their online rank should avoid public lobbies altogether. On the plus side, it’s nice to see Slightly Mad Studios bring back ELO from the days of Xbox Live on Microsoft’s first console, but I actually predict a drop in online activity as people become paranoid about their online skill rating and refuse to race unless it’s in a structured league with proven clean drivers. The ability to lock people out of a lobby who are under a certain skill rating will also play a role in this as well.

And then there are the gimmicks.

A lot of people aren’t fans of rallycross for several reasons, but the inclusion of many RedBull Global Rallycross vehicles and locations – as well as some historic content for good measure – have actually shown off that Slightly Mad Studios can create objectively fantastic loose surface physics. The rallycross vehicles are honestly some of the best race cars in the game, exhibiting more convincing dynamics than what you can find in DiRT 4, but from a content standpoint it just feels like they’re a bit out of place in what is a primarily tarmac-based racing simulator, and maybe it’s time for Slightly Mad to extend into off-road racing as well to give these cars the spotlight.

On a positive note, every car in the game can be equipped with either dirt or ice tires to try and extend some extra life out of the off-road tracks, and experimenting with the right cars can lead to some awesome combinations. Slap dirt tires on Mark Donohue’s Trans-Am Camaro from the late 60’s, and you’ve essentially got a Duke’s of Hazzard simulator. It’s great fun, and I’m thankful that Slightly Mad Studios did not pull a Codemasters by restricting what content you can drive and where – as was the case in ToCA Race Driver 3.

And as you’ve probably learned about via the promotional material, Slightly Mad Studios have not just gone out and created their own dynamic track technology, they’ve also replicated a full twelve-month weather cycle. And while it works, for the most part, I can’t help but think this would have been put to better use in a different game. As cool as it is to drive the Nordschleife in the snow as a throwback to Project Gotham Racing 4, or host a one-off winter championship with the rallycross cars on purpose built circuits, I’m unsure about the staying power this may have on the userbase. I feel it would be great to implement in an off-road game, but I’m just not sure why there’s a need to drive Monaco or Daytona in the snow. Yes, it extends the life of the rallycross cars and sort of justifies their placement in the game, but save for that one class and the meme-worthy YouTube videos it will generate, when are people honestly going to use this feature on a regular basis?

Thankfully, the dynamic driving line and standing water physics mostly hold up their end of the bargain, but in my experience I found the rubber to accumulate in an extremely slow fashion, with it taking almost thirty minutes for the dynamic driving line to become as prominent as the default racing line texture. So I actually expect a lot of people reporting that it outright doesn’t work, because you’ll be turning a pretty extensive number of laps in a full field of cars before you become aware of its existence. A patch or two could easily fix this, and it’s certainly not game-breaking, but I was definitely hoping this feature would be a bit more prominent after all of the publicity surrounding it. The dynamic water physics fare much better, with wet-weather driving being visually stunning while giving off a believable experience behind the wheel.

3,800 words later, what’s the verdict on Project CARS 2?

It’s a great league platform, a sort of alternate-reality rFactor 2 in which the physics are still firmly on the hardcore simulation side of things (aided by great default setups), yet the obscure car and track list of rFactor 2 that actively works against the title – marred by fake tracks and irrelevant vehicles – have been replaced by what’s basically an all-star cast of locations and race cars featuring appearances from all of the major players, and then some. Basically, if you’re a sim racer who patiently awaits for updates from Studio 397 in the hopes that the next lone piece of content they announce is even the least bit captivating, or for general UI improvements, or… well… anything that isn’t a blog post, Project CARS 2 offers a permanent solution to those willing to cross over.

However, it also comes with some of the problems found in rFactor 2, and on a wider scale, problems that appear in basically every other racing simulator on the market today. The offline racing experience varies wildly depending on your vehicle of choice, and like rFactor, there are hiccups with the underlying AI simulation engine when you try to accelerate through a session. But at the same time, the phenomenon of cars in rFactor 2 being wildly out of sync with each other in terms of quality, doesn’t exist here – there are exponentially more hits compared to misses, and it’s definitely an upgrade compared to the other sims available.

Regardless of whether you plan on entering a league right away, or will be holding off until the built-in functionality is up and running, Project CARS 2 is the simulator a lot of people wanted – great handling, lots of marquee cars, lots of world-renowned tracks, and online lobbies that naturally lend themselves to league play – but at the same time it also demonstrates why the smorgasbord approach is getting a bit long in the tooth. When Project CARS 2 is firing on all cylinders, it’s objectively a great racing simulator, warranting the positive reviews received from the more mainstream outlets while making genuine improvements in several key areas that sim racers would be hard pressed to dismiss. When it stutters – figuratively, not literally – you understand it’s because the dev team just couldn’t possibly refine every last car on every last track, and maybe it’s time to collectively rethink where the genre is going.


203 thoughts on “Alternate Reality rFactor: The Review of Project CARS 2

          1. Blame darin gangi for that, he’s the one who picked this guy as his successor and main presenter of the show. thank god darin is out of sim racing business and he’s doing other stuff now.


        1. Ian Bell

          You’ll be surprised to hear that only about 20% of the rendering code is retained. We rewrote most of the engine to dredge a little more efficiency out of it. On physics it’s probably 30% or so new. That being new drivetrain and differential code, new throttling code and two new aspects to the tyre modelling code. The audio is a new system using revs on fmod. AI is probably 30% new.


          1. Was actually pretty impressive for you to pop into that stream , well done and as a person a pretty impressive attitude towards life you have .

            Was a nice change from the usual streams , laughing , drinking , singing and just enjoying the moment by the sounds of things ๐Ÿ™‚ pretty funny . Well done .


      1. Given your two previous posts about games that are spectacularly broken, would you say the same about the fact that the Xbox version of Project Cars is undriveable with Logitech and TX wheels and, according to some users, even with Xbox controllers? The wheels shake and wobble spectacularly and you have to turn FFB off in order to drive. Project Cars 1 for the Xbox was already a disaster, and this is beginning to look like dejavu.


        1. I had the same problem with my t500 on PS4 pro .

          It took me a day to work out what the problem was , reset the wheel to default ” don’t calibrate the wheel ” or the pedals and everything is working as it should .

          I think there is a problem with the calibration as you need to push the wheel hard to get to the 100 mark on the calibrator and that makes the wheel all wonky in the game .

          Hope this helps . James can you let SMS know what i have found as I am band from the forums .


      1. You make yourself the guru of the genre because you are SOO much better than all other reviewers, media etc but you cannot do a simple comparison of FFB feel….
        I guess SMS sponsorship will be ending soon so you may be able to give your true feelings.


          1. “Everything still gets a 0/10 when compared to a real car.”

            Tell this the racing-drivers who are practicing with sims. But looking at you rig, it’s probably a lack of proper sim-gear as well. And when an oval-car feels like a car for track-racing, it’s not properly setup either.


          2. Real cars often have horrible “FFB” (ie steering feel).

            Few of us have any idea what a modern race car feels like. For me, the FFB is “good” if it gives me accurate info about what the car is doing. Anything else is bullshit speculation.

            AC and R3E, in particular, allow me to translate my real-life car control skills the best without a period of acclimating myself to the peculiarities of their physics/FFB systems. In other words, I can step out of my car after a Saturday at the track, and straight into those 2 sims, and it feels “right”.

            Examples of, IMHO, great FFB:

            AC: MSF FW24, ASR F2004, URD EGT Aston Martin, VRC FW31, Lotus Exos, Anything by Bazza.
            RF2: USF2000 and Nissan GT500.
            R3E: DTM 2016, Gr5 BMW 320 and M1 Procar.
            PC1: Trans Am Mustang (after hours spent on custom files/tweaking – not worth it).
            AMS: Stadium Super Trucks, Formula Classic.


      2. There has been no improvement with ffb apart from gui. So it will be like the first. That’s why James has conveniently skirted around one of the most important issues.


        1. It’s nothing like the first game once you find a point you are happy with and even with so few sliders this can take some time , had a play on the t500 running a gt40 for a few hrs and it’s a complete joy to run , I can feel the rear breaking lose and generally don’t have too many issues catching it , I can also feel when the front tyre leaves the ground if I’m too harsh on large tight curbs , also feels really good when breaking ” you can feel that you’ve come in too hot and the fronts are locking up .


  1. “the PC version of Project CARS 2 has actually shipped with Pro default setups that cut into the corners like crazy and rotate extremely well through the center, essentially tailoring the PC version specifically for the hardcore sim racing crowd who donโ€™t need an understeering car out of the box, as theyโ€™re not playing on a gamepad.”

    Pretty sure all the version of the game has this. It’s just that with a wheel you have the loose setup by default and with a gamepad, you have the stable setup.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I appreciate the review, I see Eurogamer and other websites stating more of the same AI issues from the first game.

    Gamersyde clips are below (not mine):

    Flooded tunnel in Monaco:

    Gamersyde livestream showed GT3 @ Nurburgring with AI & they had to restart after two corners!

    Already had one 10GB patch and issues still exist.

    Version 1.03 patch notes:

    Reenabled HDR.
    Several enhancements and improvements to Career Mode.
    Several enhancements and improvements to the in-game HUD.
    Enhancements and improvements to Time Trial, Director and Broadcast modes.
    Enhancements and improvements to Photo Mode.
    Support for larger saved replays.
    Several enhancements and improvements for online play.
    Several enhancements and improvements to AI.
    Smaller tweaks to Motorsport Presets, car handling, pit stops, vehicle graphics, rendering and special effects.

    Are we sure the QA testing way better than the original pCARS?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. What’s funny about the sorry state of the classic content in the game is that for a very long time, it was the only type of content worth playing in rFactor 2 before they redid the tire model to make the modern cars behave normally.

        If it means I’ll get modern multiclass that works well, I’m glad the slick tires received all the love for Project CARS 2.


    1. I don’t see why you feel the need to repost videos that are already in the review itself. It just makes you look like you didn’t actually read the article and just assumed I gave it 12/10 GOTY ALL YEARS because I’m a paid shill or something.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. โ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆโ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–‘โ–ˆโ–ˆโ–ˆ


          1. Simulation Totally Fucked Up!

            Indeed, Forza Motorsport 7 footage is out there and not looking good at all. Holy Flintstones tires Batman.


                    1. Man, I just do not like these physics and ffb. I used to love Forza too. Was it always like this? There’s no weight to the vehicles, no feeling of connection with the track surface.

                      Comment from NeoGAF


                    2. 1)
                      the cars don’t handle like they should at all, if you go slightly over the limit on sim steering and FFB is still not true self-aligning based. No FOV options on PC… I’m out.

                      They can’t do anything without leaving Xinput behind and going to motherboard USB TouchSense API. And since it will never happen, I guess they will forever do emulation.


                    3. Uhm, yea. It did feel better than Apex and FH3. But you can feel that it’s Forza and that they don’t take the FFB from an actually modeled suspension geometry with caster and kingpin correct. steering ratio and linearity also seemed incorrect, but I couldn’t be bothered to try the other 2 cars. But you can be sure this FFB is baked from some telemetry and tire values.

                      I could feel a bit more suspension movement and tire load, but even if the FFB would have felt fantastic, you still can’t drive a car on sim steering as you should be. On a controller you can’t achieve these vastly different steering accelerations and unideal angles at certain speeds and that is what this game was made and tested for. I’m sure it plays great on controller and normal steering, but with a wheel it doesn’t drive like a sim and definitely not like a real car.



                      I don’t know what they’ve done to the physics, it doesn’t feel like Forza Motorsport anymore, it feels quite odd. (danowat)

                      I have to say that maybe I was expecting too much from this game.
                      But I’m very disappointed. This have nothing to do with “sim racing”.

                      I had great fun with FM games on 360. I don’t understand what happened. (Bluforce)


      1. hilarious. like verything that sucks will miraculously be turned into sheer awesomeness on day 1, because the devs like releasing something shitty and fixing it in 1 day.


  3. It doesn’t sound like a must-buy for me right now, but I’ll keep my eye on how things develop. Was very disappointed with the first game and the behavior from SMS a couple of years ago.


  4. “The dynamic water physics fare much better, with wet-weather driving being visually stunning while giving off a believable experience behind the wheel.”

    So does the racing line go from being grippy in the dry to slick in the wet, or is wet-weather just a graphics change and less overall grip?


      1. I saw someone drive off the racing line in the wet on entry of a turn by two car widths and was still able to pull off a spectacular pass! Maybe it was just the crappy AI, but I was amazed.


  5. Looks like it’s got what I care about the most, some kind of worldwide Le Mans Series thing. 4 classes + Algarve, Brno, Catalunya, Donington, Hock Classic, Imola, Le Mans, Nรผrb, Monza, Silverstone, Spa, COTA, Daytona 24H, Long Beach, Laguna, Elkhart Lake, The Glen, Dubai, Fuji… how ridiculous is that? And all at roughly the same quality with the same features. Madness.

    If there are indeed more hits than misses, I might even try some of the other stuff that was disgusting in the previous game.

    I was hoping for a bit of technical PC coverage, like Totalbiscuit does when he’s not being triggered by memes and tranny-haters. I really wish they would add CMAA as an option, because it does wonders in Dirt 4 and keeps your frame rate high and stable with minimal fuzziness in the distance. Project CARS was a shimmering disaster no matter what, depending on the time of day and cloud layer.

    All I’m waiting for really is an official statement about Denuvo. It’s not in SteamDB yet, but who knows how late they can cram that in.


    1. Ian Bell: We don’t have Denuvo. We looked at Denuvo back in February and we decided that it was too restrictive and would annoy our users, so we dropped it.

      There it is. Bring the noise, hopefully with Steam pre-load.


    1. And no yellow flags. What legitimate racing sim doesn’t include yellow flags? Is there even a safety car? Why bother to include stockcars or indycars when you don’t even include the rules for those series let alone more than a few tracks?


        1. As it should. That shit is tedious and boring. I like the formation lap idea, but they could speed it up some. It gets boring as well, especially if the field explodes before turn 1 and you have to start over.


      1. Question how people play, when you cannot even give a FFB comparison. I can see the sponsorship drying up now. Oh, and from all accounts, having you on board has not help with the oval side of things…


  6. A few decades ago, we had Jewish Marxists infiltrating the school and university system in order to brainwash a generation of white kids into being self-hating degenerates. That was pretty bad.

    But now, weโ€™ve got straight-up terrorists taking care of middle school children. :

    Public school teachers are behind a leading far-left militant group that is part of the Antifa network that federal officials say is committing โ€œdomestic terrorist violence.โ€

    These violent subversives claim that White patriarchal culture controls America, yet take no pause when the entire system defends them as good boys fighting injustice after they commit one of their terrorist acts. If America was really a fascist state, all these people would be rounded up and executed as soon as they started agitating for a Marxist revolution against the White race.

    The cognitive dissonance antifa experience must be mind-numbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Are Indianapolis and Texas Raceway accurate compared to iRacing version? While there is evidence of all other new tracks to PC2 being laser/drone scanned on WMD2 forums (with exception of Hockenheim RX, which is not LS), I cannot find any screen-shots of these 2 tracks.


  8. I will be back to read your article James , at the moment I’m cramming on YouTube watching some gameplay of project cars 2 .

    Watching some of these guys play this game is painfull to say the least , it looks nice enough so far but the Ai man it’s bad , I do hope some of them are nothing playing the final version .

    Be back later ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Does the AI still not have individual talent files? The FFB, AI, handling and optimization for AMD cards were already terrible in PC1 and it sounds like the former 3 haven’t been touched on enough (or at all in the FFB’s case), so if there are still no talent files then it sounds like this won’t even be worth getting at 90% off.


  10. So far I generally agree with your review and the similar words written by Eurogamer. I’ve looked at the positive reviews along with the ‘bug’ videos and contradictions. After watching a some longer streams including the good bad and ugly of pcars2 my conclusion is that it is good enough to buy, especially with excellent VR so I’m sticking with my preorder. The only thing that could cause a refund now is if the FFB is undrivable (unlikely from what I’ve seen).

    Sure there are issues to work around but that is true of all current racing games.

    I’m glad to see you were more objective in your review than I expected.


  11. Holy shit, that Monaco video is unacceptable. I was hoping for a solid single player experience, but I guess I’ll have to wait for Project Cars 5 or something.

    And yeah, I know it only happens with certain tracks and cars, but I don’t want to launch a combination I might find interesting while having to pray that the AI is going to work.


  12. Reasonable unbiased review James – appreciated.
    Im wondering if I should buy this game – but can somebody answer 2 simple questions?
    1. Is it possible to paint your own car?
    2. Is it possible to record and later play a replay?


        1. Thank you.
          So it should principally be possible in as example an online league to see others custom car paints if everybody uses the same car roster/custom liveries.

          BYTheWay: Most reviews are (somewhat:-) positive but then I saw this video about the AI behaviour with AI agression settings to 0(zero)!!!


          1. Jesus christ lord almighty! This is what happens when people going to work in short buses make a video game. Same AI as the first one, unplayable garbage.

            I cannot for the life of me understand why they have spent vast resources on fucking snow-physics, all the while you cannot get past turn 1 offline without having a 12 car Bill Cosby anal orgy experience. Fucking hell!!


  13. I’m with you Kesim , I put up with that enough in the first title . Open wheelers were the worst but pile ups are looking like a major issue again , being smashed up the rear seems ever present , wobbly Ai look as if they are using a controller .

    Again I’m not convinced some are using the final build with day one patch . Would be a hell of a patch to fix what I have seen this afternoon .


  14. So you got this burger, you know some parts of the burger tasted awfully fishy and bitter and yet you ate it anyways and though this burger got you to puke afterwards youยดll still claim after finishing that crap, that it was the best burger you have ever eaten in your entire life and that you can only reccomend to others to eat it too. GUESS WHOยดS BROKEN


    1. more like “here’s a burger, it has cheese on it, and some onions. the onions aren’t that fresh, so avoid them if you can, but the rest of the burger was good so i ate it.”


  15. Project Crap is still steaming, its the same old terd just with a 2 attached. I cant wait for version 12 to drop, so SMS ( Super Magnificent Shit) can fix all these non issues. Great job unfucking this mess Austin.


  16. Well, it’s exciting to hear that *maybe* we now have a decent racing sim with proper weather. For me, that’s the only unique attribute that only PC2 currently has.

    Nordschleife in the wet with Group 5 cars at dusk is the ne plus ultra of Sim Racing IMHO.


  17. Sounds good. Glad i preordered. The only thing I am bummed about is the lack of custom offline championships. Otherwise, i can’t wait for some quality Group A and GT1 action


  18. So thinking about what you said earlier about the multitude of cars/classes wouldn’t the best case scenario be a base operational core, like a car OS and then have add ons for the various classes of cars? It seems like a studio could do that much better. Also it could provide long term revenue like the DLC’s do now to an extent. Well just a thought to go with the train of thought from the article.

    Thanks for the thoughtful write up.


      1. I only recently built my play system and I can’t help but tweak tweak tweak, the kids had gotten me a PS4 a few years back and up till a few weeks ago that was my gaming system. Long story short I’ve yet to load it up.


        1. You can now test drive any car you want for as long as you want on one fantasy circuit. I suggest you do that before buying anything, because the old stuff is really bad, while the more recent content is fantastic.


            1. I meant the old content of the early Simbin era of R3E, like GTR2, GTR1, DTM 2013, etc. Before the major overhauls in the physics. I was in the closed beta, late 2012, I think? Everything was total fucking garbage. They should be ashamed to still charge for that shit.

              Remember when they were trying to defend their giant arcade arrows everywhere? ahahahahah

              M1 โค


              1. Ok, got it. I never drive the GT2’s or the old DTM’s. I was also in the closed Beta, back when they had the weird old “round” interface (looked good, hard to use).

                Their FFB also used to be the absolute worst. Any idea who helped them with that?


                1. I just stopped paying attention to R3E until ADAC GT Masters 2014 came out, and it was already a bit better. They’ve been improving ever since. I know KW was dictating a lot of stuff behind the scenes before SimBin went bankrupt. I’m not sure if they got outside help or they were just allowed to do things as they please after that. Feels3 was already with them at that point, but I don’t know the physics people.


                  1. I also took an 18 month break and only resumed playing around late 2015 IIRC, but it was due to the horrible FFB they had for a long time. I was really stunned to see them go from “worst” to “arguably best” on the FFB.

                    If they had weather (and Super GT), R3E would be close to perfect.


                    1. Yes, my wheel loads up nicely, has enough detail, it’s very enjoyable and feels solid in your hands. I wish they still did the experiences, they could keep adding stuff left and right and do a better job than almost anybody. Indycar, V8SC, Super GT, Mini Camaros and Mustangs from Australia, etc. They also do the best FWD FFB I’ve ever felt. WTCC Volvo โค

                      I changed the MOOD file from default to xproc and it's also more atmospheric and gritty-looking now. And all that obscure content is amazing in a world of Monza-Spa-Silverstone games.

                      I'm a bit worried about Unreal 4, especially about the AA and performance, but we'll see!

                      Liked by 1 person

  19. James, if rFactor is crap, never ending science project, a mismanaged mess – why attack it so hard? What are you so afraid of? I don’t get it.

    Sure. I am biased, as I am deep in rF2, but I don’t care about it deeply – all those programs are just games, pretendracecars ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s no loyalty, it is just a matter of where to spend little precious time one has.

    That said, curious – does pCars2:
    * has safety car?
    * has penalizing damage?
    * flat spots?
    * do GT3 and GT2/GTE classes have real world skins and driver names, or fantasy?



  20. James, if rFactor is crap, never ending science project, a mismanaged mess – why attack it so hard? What are you so afraid of? You almost set it as benchmark to beat, claiming it is crap. I don’t get it.

    Sure. I am biased, as I am deep in rF2, but I don’t care about it deeply – all those programs are just games, pretendracecars ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s no loyalty, it is just a matter of where to spend little precious time one has.

    That said, curious – does pCars2:
    * has safety car?
    * has penalizing damage?
    * flat spots?
    * do GT3 and GT2/GTE classes have real world skins and driver names, or fantasy?



  21. So disappointed that this game is not up to par.I was so hoping for it to be “the” racing sim.Even if they fix everything else they are never going to fix unresponsive AI,which in turn,breaks the game for me.๏ปฟ


  22. Do you filthy racists realize that every time a black person sees cotton, it gets flashbacks of the tens of millions of black slaves who were cottoned to death in cotton chambers during the Cottoncaust?

    Have a little respect, you fucking nazis!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Seems to me like a developer using the ISI engine should know the limitations of said engine. I kind of always felt that the ISI sims need vehicle-specific AIW files. But in this case, with the AI always crashing into turn 1 at the start of the race, I’d question the quality of the AIW that was made for that track.


  24. “Hey we want league racing to take off in this game so that is why we are not including the league tools at launch”

    Ok then. I’m not a league racer but the side effect of it could have hopefully been a multiplayer scene that didn’t die after a month. Oh well.


    1. “This is what a lot of sim racers have wanted from a modern simulator, and that’s what they’ll get in Project Cars 2 – a good league platform with a ton of content and no fiddling”

      It will be a great league platform but that feature will be completely absent from the launch-day version of the game.

      In other words, once we have your money we’ll release a buggy league manager at some point before we release NFS Shift 5!


      1. It does not matter, it would just be an exploit fest anyways. Who would put any faith in these Charlatans to run a legitimate operation, besides the WMD (We Manipulate the Dumb) rubes?


  25. “but this is the first simulator that actually tries to meet uninformed players halfway and walk them through basic adjustments to ensure their race car handles just the way they want it to”

    Wrong Cart Precision Racing from Microsoft has this 20 odd years ago but given I’m probably the only person who owned a copy I’ll let you off the hook for this error.


  26. Did they ever fix the “floaty” feeling of the street cars? This was a major problem in Shift 1/2, PC1 (where it got even worse) and continues even in the (completely unrelated) AC with certain cars (or rather, certain tires). All of those games managed to turn modern hypercars into something that felt more like a 57 Chevy with deflated tires.

    “Wobbly” is an understatement.

    Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun there was a guy who’s actually run a CLA45 at Willow Springs and was part of the PC2 beta. He mentioned that the A45 in-game was (essentially) an understeering, floaty mess compared to his experiences at the real track, in basically the same car (body style difference only, weight distribution identical). You could tell he was being diplomatic, but the inference was clear re: the street cars.

    My copy unlocks tonight, so I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough. So far, I’ve yet to play a single sim that feels “right” with street cars except for the sublime Honda NSX on rF2 (courtesy of Neils Heusinkveld).


    1. RPS still exists? Holy crap.

      I knew you would mention the NSX at the end. I saw it coming ๐Ÿ˜›

      I won’t be wasting time with road cars tonight. I’m preparing a nice little 2-hour testing program with my favourite content.


    2. Just played a few races.
      The whole game feels wobbly and bouncy.
      Play rf2 indycars at indy road course then same combo in pc2. How the fuck anybody draws parallels between the two os beyond me!
      Drugs? Money? Cock?
      Who knows but this shit has nothing to compare with rfactor 1 or two.


  27. Ian Bell is bald and works out at Jinjja Chicken, Singapore.
    He’s trying hard to impress Vin Diesel and maybe even The Rock
    ===> Fast & Furious game by SMS confirmed!


  28. Just pasting my Steam review here.

    Project CARS 2 is the Witcher 3 of racing games, but instead of role-playing as Geralt de Riv, you roleplay as Tommy Milner.

    AMD Ryzen R5 1600 @ 3.75 GHz
    16 GB DDR4 2933 MHz RAM
    Kingston HyperX SSD
    Windows 10 64-bit
    Thrustmaster TMX
    2560 x 1080 resolution, 75 Hz
    Offline single-player

    > Very nice-looking visuals, with natural colours, dynamic lighting, good textures and a realistic impression, even at night. Still bright enough at gamma 0.80, but with increased depth.
    > Good performance (60-75 fps) with maximum MSAA, high shadows and low reflections. This keeps everything sharp and clean, with minimum flickering. You can still see some twitching stuff on circuits like Watkins Glen and Oulton Park, but itโ€™s gone for the most part.
    > Intuitive force feedback, with three main presets and a few sliders for adjustments. I selected the Raw preset and increased the Volume and other sliders by a bit. Itโ€™s solid, communicative and allows you to drive intuitively. It resembles rFactor 2 and Raceroom depending on the settings, but it is its own thing.
    > Superb list of accurate circuits so you can have fun with enduro, touring cars, single-seaters, stock cars, etc., including Algarve, COTA, Daytona, Knockhill, Fuji, Long Beach and the usual stuff.
    > Most cars tested drive very well with the same FFB settings, like GT3, GT4, LMP2, touring cars, IndyCar.
    > Proper multiclass support for up to 4 classes with separate rankings. Very immersive and groundbreaking for authentic enduro fun.
    > Ridiculously good weather and dynamic surface implementation, with moving cloud cover, great rain effects, puddles and aquaplaning, lighting transitions with customizable weather states per session. It truly affects gameplay in a significant manner.
    > Complete list of options with menus that are easy to navigate, including Motorsports presets per type of racing series.
    > Clearly made by people who love motorsports, with the great amount of liveries, the subtle flexibility in the drivetrain which allows you to hold your speed and angle and play with engine resistance depending on the gear selected (try the Corvette GTE at Watkins Glen), great mix and match of content, sharp menus, informative radio chatter, just attention to detail all around.
    > You can tell the professional drivers were used for feedback and not just marketing reasons.
    > Fuck EA.

    > Struggling AI in a lot of scenarios, even after restarting the session a few times. You often have to wait for them to get sorted out and actually start the race in the middle of the first lap. Happens in a lot of racing games, but it is a serious issue here. Some unnecessary slowing down here and there as well.
    > Some cars have very subtle FFB which force you to change your regular settings. For example, I love the Clio Cup in rF2 and was hoping to use it here, but it doesnโ€™t have much feel to it. But that made me discover the world-class Renault Mรฉgane, soโ€ฆ
    > Seems like the FWD FFB is not as well-done as other drivetrain configurations, far from the level of the WTCC cars in Raceroom, still the Mรฉgane is great.
    > Too many cars. I prefer focus and polish, and the amount of content makes it difficult to achieve that. I get it, netKar Pro 2 would not sell and Forza 7 will sell millions.
    > Still favours NVIDIA in the benchmarks by a lot. Excessive tesselation? GimpWorksTM? Who knows. At least they donโ€™t plaster the logo on all the circuits like before.
    > Bugs when going from session to session, like rain or wiper sounds never going away, or cars being all piled up as they spawn in front of you, or spawning as ghosts, various stuff like that. Restart Session always fixed it for me, but the replay was bugged, with the other cars being ghosts that never left the grid.


    Project CARS 2 feels more like a big budget rFactor 3 made by a team in love with motorsports rather than simply simulating car values. Itโ€™s got a ton of great-quality content, little touches that no other racing game attempts and an intuitive road feel with easy-to-adjust FFB. Iโ€™d give up all other racing games for this one. The last time I played a new game for 12 hours, it was Final Fantasy XII. I only stopped because my neck was hurting too much.

    Great fun in my first 12 hours:
    Radical SR3 track day at Algarve
    Formula Renault sprint at Fuji
    โ€œALMSโ€ LMP2 at Long Beach
    Renault Mรฉgane Touring races at Monaco, Brands Hatch Indy and Knockhill, including a sideways slide and save BTCC-style at Paddock Hill and a little moment on 2 wheels at Knockhill.
    1-hour โ€œALMSโ€ endurance race in Corvette GTE at Watkins Glen GP. Finished 3rd in category, was scared many times by AI LMPs, with minor contact only once or twice. Three classes competed for the bus stop and I spun out with two laps to go. Looked like a typical race incident, was not even mad.

    The last time you saw your little brother (Slightly Mad Studios), he was in a shitty semi-pro band (Project CARS) and played the same Nickelback songs poorly like he was still in his high school band (Shift 2 Unleashed). A year later, heโ€™s playing in some new band (Project CARS 2) in a town where youโ€™re visiting on business. Might as well go see him, right? He still has his Flying V, but he changed the stock pickups, replaced his Line 6 with a MESA Mark V, doesnโ€™t wear ripped T-shirs any more and his ex-girlfriend is not the singer and bass player any more. They play November Rain and you donโ€™t even cringe when he starts the solo, because heโ€™s learned to tune his guitar and has started to practice like his teacher told him to. He used to play like Kurt Cobain, now his new idol is Gary Moore.

    If you like pretend race cars, buy this game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice, accurate review. PC2 is all about immersion and emergent behavior. I’ve already seen plenty of cool unscripted events during races that play out like a real race. The weather, in particular, adds so much more than I realized it would.

      Like you said, the AI is especially wobbly (often literally) on lap 1, so I try to behave myself and just wait til lap 2 to really get going. After that, they seem to do a lot better.

      My verdict: Great, not perfect, fixable.


      1. I’ve never cared for weather stuff until this year with Dirt 4 and PC2. When it looks nice and immersive, I bother with learning the intricacies, and it’s a great addition. I’m not really sure if the player and AI are affected the same way, and how come you don’t need to change tires? I can see how the system can be criticized. It was also a mess in F1 2010, I bet it still is.

        The slow-forming puddles are so cool, especially if you set 4 states with some rain and some random, it just varies gradually, amazing.

        I saw your comment on the tire squeal, and although it’s out of place, it’s quite useful as feedback. I’m keeping the game offline for now, let the others test the patches. ;D


    1. Please try this bud . Note reset t500 to default ” do not calibrate the wheel or pedals ” there is a problem with calibration profiles .

      I’m using t50o on PS4 pro

      See how you go . If you need help add me on psn SUBGTRACER



    “…as a consumer I feel lied to. My experience…does not match what others are describing in their YouTube videos in the slightest. I would like to know how not one journalist, hobbyist, or multimedia personality covering the game ran into these issues, despite the game’s…community forums now overflowing with complaints about crippling problems making the game unplayable for a large number of users… there is a fundamental disconnect between what YouTube outlets are saying about this game, versus what the average customer is actually experiencing…”

    Exact same goes for Project CARS 2, but you haven’t mentioned the game’s many technical issues that lots of customers are experiencing.


  30. Defending the honor of the GTP-ZX against all the fancy new LMP’s. Goal is to put it at the top of each major track before the aliens show up. This lap was mediocre at best, using clutch, manual and no aids. I hope people don’t find a way to cheat later on.

    Oh, and with Jack Spade’s custom FFB files, this is the best simulated car I’ve ever driven. Period.


    1. Oh, you gotta be fucking kidding. I haven’t used Photobucket in about 3 years, and here I try to embed a single low-res screenshot – and suddenly they tell me “We’ve noticed you’ve been embedding images in a third party site”, then send me to a page where they want $399.00 *per year*.

      Another soon-to-be defunct hosting site, I’d say…


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