Rajan Khanna and Vipul Telang
Staff Reporter, Photo Editor
2017 was a year littered with racing video games. Many were just editions in a series where nothing major was changed and only a few cars were added. Project Cars 2 was expected to be just another boring sequel that did not add much to the prior title. It completely blew the expectations away. Although it is marketed as a racing game, it does not handle like one. The developers set out to create an accurate driving simulator, and they accomplished it very well. However, the game is only meant for serious racers, and casual gamers will not have a good experience with the game.
Rajan’s opinion, driving with a wheel. I raced three specific scenarios to test most of the game. The game was touted as the official game of INDYCAR, so I raced Will Power’s number 12 INDYCAR on Texas Motor Speedway. Initially, the car handled so poorly I considered uninstalling the game, but after a while of experimentation, I was able to get the setup of the car to handle the challenging oval well. They include a useful “Race-Engineer” interface where the player can choose options on how the car handles and then correct it with guidance. The feature proved useful throughout every session I raced. The force feedback provided in the game was very strong even with my lower end Thrustmaster T150 racing wheel. INDYCARs, I wanted to test out rally cars. I chose the Honda Civic rallycross car on Daytona International Speedway. The track was accurately depicted in the game and proved to be an enjoyable experience even without any setup. The car slides and handles just as anyone would expect it and does not have much of a learning curve. Although they are easy to drive, they are hard to master. The transitions between different racing surfaces are easily noticeable. The car shakes much more when going from asphalt to dirt and becomes much freer. The wheel vibrates violently just as it would in real life. Overall, rallycross was very well done and is quite fun. The final scenario I played was the Ford Fusion stock car on Watkins Glen International. In the prior title, stock cars handled poorly and did not feel like a real car. In Project Cars 2, the cars handle much better. They feel heavy, steering is very direct, and the power delivery feels linear and satisfying. I found myself taking the “Esses” section faster than I have in any other racing game, iRacing included. The bus stop section felt very good as well. The car slid into the corners and was easy to catch before it spun. The whole experience was great and one of the best stock car experiences I have had in a video game. The experience with a wheel was overall very good but with a controller, the experience was extremely different.
Vipul’s opinion, driving with an Xbox One controller: When I played on a controller, however, the game felt so much different, and not in a good way. The steering lacked the proper inputs, and the car felt super sensitive. It reminded me a lot of the first iteration of Project Cars, which was heavily criticized as being non-controller friendly. Although the graphics looked great on the Xbox One, the handling was slippery, and after driving out of a turn the car was nearly impossible to control. I found myself glumly driving out of the grass or gravel in last place in more than one occasion. In fact, I only had the game for a few hours before I got frustrated and went back to Forza Motorsports 7. Until Project Cars can figure out their dismal handling, I’ll stick to my Forza series.