Jump­ing in the front seat for this speed­li­cious se­quel

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Ben Maxwell

Pub­lisheR Bandai Namco De­vel­oper Slightly Mad Stu­dios For­mat Xbox One ETA 2017

Videogames should be fun. It’s a con­tro­ver­sial po­si­tion, we know, but we just can’t help but go all gooey for the ones that want to show us a good time. That doesn’t mean we’re not up for be­ing chal­lenged along the way, of course, but it’s al­ways more en­joy­able when we’re not gri­mac­ing, shout­ing or, you know, mis­er­able.

That awk­ward dis­con­nect be­tween chal­lenge and en­joy­ment has long been an as­pect of sim­u­la­tion games – and, in­deed, many of the games that sit fur­ther from the sim end of the spec­trum but still em­brace the same ethos – and has iron­i­cally pushed some of the rac­ing games which cher­ish au­then­tic­ity fur­thest from the real ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing.

Tar­mac cir­cuits aren’t slicked in oil, af­ter all, and for the most part real cars are sur­pris­ingly for­giv­ing on track, even at speed. They’re fun to hus­tle, and most mis­takes will just re­sult in a slower lap time rather than an out-of-con­trol spin into the near­est in­de­struc­tible bar­rier. That sense of fun is what Slightly Mad is at­tempt­ing to cap­ture with Project Cars 2. Set­ting out in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 on Fuji Speed­way, the dif­fer­ence is im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous as we find our­selves ramp­ing up the speed we take each cor­ner af­ter an ini­tially ner­vous foray into some of the tighter

“It’s the largest track ros­ter of any rac­ing game, with 50 lo­ca­tions and 200 routes”

turns. Rather than pin­wheel off the track, the car feeds back how much grip we have, the tyres in­di­vid­u­ally squeal in protest de­pend­ing on how much load they’re deal­ing with, and GT3 stays planted all the way around.

Wa­ter re­sult

Tra­di­tion­al­ists and hard­core rac­ing sim fans may cry foul, but this isn’t a dumb­ing down. A new tyre physics model makes Projects Cars 2’ s ap­prox­i­ma­tion of rub­ber con­tact patches the most re­al­is­tic yet, while Live­track 3.0 brings sim­i­larly ad­vanced sur­face de­for­ma­tion and chang­ing driv­ing con­di­tions to the tar­mac it­self, al­low­ing for dirt and gravel to be brought onto the track af­ter ex­cur­sions be­yond the rumble strips. This in turn changes the grip con­di­tions on the next time round.

And all of this is be­fore you add in a dy­namic weather sys­tem – al­lied to sea­sonal and time-of-day changes which mean you race on any track in any con­di­tions – which can un­leash enough rain to turn that dirt into mud. Bet­ter still, dif­fer­ent sur­faces will re­act real­is­ti­cally to heavy down­falls, with grass verges ab­sorb­ing only so much wa­ter be­fore sat­u­ra­tion causes runoff and, sub­se­quently, pool­ing on-track. Thanks to Slightly Mad’s ob­ses­sive track mod­el­ling, the re­sul­tant pud­dles oc­cur ex­actly where they would in real life, and the stu­dio has even cre­ated drainage sys­tems.

Be­cause this is a se­quel, Slightly Mad have has to up its game from the orig­i­nal Project Cars, but the stu­dio have gone above and be­yond when it comes to ex­pand­ing. The game fea­tures the largest track ros­ter of any con­sole rac­ing game to date – more than 200 routes set in around 50 lo­ca­tions – and more than 200 cars to fling around them. Al­ready con­firmed are Day­tona Speed­way and the Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas. An­other big ad­di­tion is loose-sur­face rac­ing, which in­cludes dirt, gravel and ice along with a selection of new driv­ing dis­ci­plines to show­case them, in­clud­ing a Ral­ly­cross mode that will go head-to-head with Dirt 4’ s of­fer­ing. There’s an in­creased fo­cus on on­line play and eS­ports, too, with driv­ers gain­ing li­cences that reflect their skill and be­hav­iour on track. These will be

used for mul­ti­player match­mak­ing.

You won’t lose out if you’re play­ing on an Xbox One con­troller, ei­ther. The new game will in­clude a re­vamped con­trol sys­tem that the de­vel­op­ers say will help play­ers who don’t own an ex­pen­sive steer­ing wheel con­troller hit apexes and set record times.

This is a colos­sal project that looks set to of­fer sub­stan­tially more than the first game. It keeps many of its pre­de­ces­sor’s best as­pects while build­ing on oth­ers. Project Cars 2 has a very real shot at lead­ing the pack when it re­leases later this year.

“This colos­sal project looks set to of­fer sub­stan­tially more than the first game”

right New rac­ing classes are be­ing added, in­clud­ing Ral­ly­cross and Indycar races.

Bot­tom With over 200 cars to try, you can test out your dream ma­chines.

be­low There we were, ob­serv­ing the speed limit, when this dude un­der­took. Tsk.

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