Pro­ject Cars 2

Bat­tling el­e­ments in the sim racer that’s all tyre and ice

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - Paul Tay­lor

Slightly Mad Stu­dios is do­ing it­self a dis­ser­vice. The game should re­ally be called Pro­ject Tracks, be­cause there are more cir­cuits here than in a box of Scalex­tric. Forty-six lo­ca­tions with over 100 routes, span­ning the globe from Aus­tralia to the Azure Coast, Cal­i­for­nia to, er, Cald­well Park.

Or per­haps Pro­jectT ime And

Weather Per mu­ta­tions thanks to the stag­ger­ing com­bi­na­tion of sea­sons, and con­di­tions that turn a swel­ter­ing sum­mer’s day race into a bliz­zard. The ef­fect is spec­tac­u­lar, a real back-ofthe-box highlight. Other rac­ing games of­fer weather ef­fects, but see­ing the chang­ing weather and shift­ing shad­ows is a tech­ni­cal mas­ter­piece.

There’s 180-odd mo­tors at launch, with a clutch of dis­ci­plines to please mo­tor­sport en­thu­si­asts. We say ‘en­thu­si­asts’ de­lib­er­ately: This is no place for any­one who wants a quick and easy fang. You’re in this be­cause you want to be in­volved in the jour­ney of rac­ing cars and carv­ing out a ca­reer punc­tu­ated with dis­tinc­tion, no mat­ter whether you want to strap on your L-plates in karts or the one­make Ginetta Ju­niors and work your way up from there, or go straight to the fe­ro­cious IndyCar open-wheel­ers.

Ice, man

That’s part of the Pro­jec­tCars DNA, though. Like its pre­de­ces­sor, ev­ery­thing is open from the off—cars, cir­cuits, the lot. The con­cept of grind­ing out race af­ter race for puny cred­its isn’t the way here.

So where’s the chal­lenge? That’s up to you to carve out for your­self. Seven ‘Life­time Goals’ await, where you win the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours, and be­come fac­tory driver for Fer­rari or Porsche. Lofty goals, though they’re marked out for you. The true ad­ven­turer in­stead aims for com­pe­tency at the new, night­mar­ish ice cir­cuits. Th­ese are of­fi­cially mod­elled on Mercedes Benz’s test tracks, a wor­ry­ing set of curves that swing back and forth around each other in the Arc­tic Cir­cle, with Aurora Bo­re­alis on the hori­zon. Clip a snow bank on the edge and you’re cooked— there is no rewind, just a hard restart.

Like many sims, you need a del­i­cate hand if you’re play­ing with a pad, but a de­cent wheel is un­doubt­edly the way to go. The han­dling model is best de­scribed as be­ing ‘agree­able’ rather than ‘tamed’ when com­pared to the 2015 re­lease: You’ll know where you went wrong, and you’re likely to make the mis­take again, as we did, bury­ing the nose of our Lancer into the pow­der. Over, and over. There is one wor­rier: Forza

Mo­tor­sport7, out a month later and op­ti­mized for Xbox One X. Pro­jec­tCars

2 prom­ises to run at 1080p60, even with a full ar­mada of 32 cars on track (de­pend­ing on the dis­ci­pline and lo­ca­tion), and with its sheer wealth of

stuff jammed in, it’ll be a race to your ‘Box’s hard drive.

“This is no place for any­one who wants a quick and easy fang”

above Pick the length of your se­ries, and whether you’ll bother with prac­tise ses­sions. We rec­om­mend you do.

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