Racing games that are advertised as simulation software typically aren’t very pretty or polished.

After all, when the point of a game is to hone your driving skills and race others, how it looks is hardly the focus of most players. Project Cars 2 manages to pull both off rather well, however, offering up pretty-looking cars and tracks and a realistic force-feedback system that will leave even the stuffiest of sim racers impressed.

The second installment in Slightly Mad Studios’ wildly popular Project Cars franchise, Project Cars 2 picks up where the first game left off. It has even more real-world race and road cars to choose from, a massive array of tracks and even prettier graphics than the first title. In our opinion, one of this game’s strongest points is the track selection. Name a famous racetrack and Project Cars 2 probably has it. The Nurburgring? You bet. Laguna Seca? Oh yes. Silverstone? Mmm hmm. Spa Francorhamps? Need we go on? Project Cars 2 will allow you to sample accurate recreations of just about every good racetrack on planet earth. For hardcore racing fans, this will prove to be one of the game’s strongest points.

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And then there’s the cars. Project Cars 2 has even more road cars on offer than the first game, including recently introduced products such as the McLaren 720S  and Mercedes-AMG GT R. The road cars are actually some of the most fun-to-drive cars in the game and should attract less serious sim racers and gamers to the title. The racecar selection is predictably massive as well, ranging from real-world LMP1 and LMP2 cars to Honda and Chevrolet versions of the Dallara DW12 IndyCar. Most feel great with a force feedback wheel, especially some of the slower stuff such as the GT4-spec racers and the Formula Ford replica car. No matter what series you’re a fan of, you’ll be able to sample the same cars on real-world tracks, allowing you to carry out your racing driver fantasies in your living room.

Another strong point is the weather system. You can simulate just about every weather/track condition scenario possible with Project Cars 2. The in-depth weather system and day/night modes make for endless hours of entertainment. Want to drive an IndyCar in snow tires around Road America? Or how about a Toyota TS050 LMP1 car at Le Mans in the pouring rain at night? Think of a weather/car/track combination and Project Cars 2 will allow you to race it. Some games would put limitations on the ridiculousness, but SMS is happy to let its players race with any car, at any time and in any weather conditions. This is no clinical simulation game. It’s actually fun!

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There are a few negatives, of course. The game was a bit buggy upon launch and was fixed with a number of patches. This turned a lot of early buyers of the game off, but the patches have managed to fix most of these annoying little issues and make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Take our word for it: this game runs and operates much better now than it did when it launched last fall.

We’ve also been let down by the downloadable content available thus far. The ‘Japanese Car Pack’ didn’t add many interesting cars to the game and disappointingly did not include any extra tracks. The ‘Fun Pack’ only included two rallycross tracks and number of rather silly cars for a sim racing game, such as an off-road Ford Bronco and a Ford Mustang RTR. It seems every racing game has a ‘Porsche Pack’ now, so we weren’t left wanting to buy the Porsche-themed add-ons really. The recent ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ pack was a lot more interesting, though, and actually added some good content, in our opinion, such as the Porsche 919 LMP1 car, a number of vintage Le Mans racers and the vintage Le Mans circuit layout. All in all, we would have liked to see some more interesting tracks included with the DLC and more modern-day racecars.

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One final criticism of this game is the single-player experience. Project Cars 2 doesn’t do a good job at making the player feel rewarded as they climb the single player career ladder, making the whole thing seem a bit pointless. A car unlock system or some other type of rewards system would leave us feeling much more content after having raced for 2 hours straight trying to beat a career mode race, but this is a simulation game after all. Driving is the point, and if you go online, you’ll likely have a wickedly fun sim-racing experience. It’s worth noting that the AI has also been improved massively with the aforementioned patches and are actually quite fun to race against.

Oh yeah – we also recommend playing Project Cars 2 with a forced feedback wheel – it’s much too hard to control the car with a standard controller.

Q & A

The most frequently asked questions about Project Cars 2
Will this game support VR?
Yes! And it looks great in VR mode!
What consoles is this game available for?
PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Is there downloadable content?
Yes, there are currently four DLC packs, with a fifth pack set to be released later this year.
Will this game work with my racing wheel?
It will work with all racing wheels available on the market today.
Can you play it with a controller?
The game allows it, but you'll find it very hard.

Our Final Verdict

Project Cars 2 is a pretty and polished simulator with a massive amount of content. The vast array of real-world tracks and cars, along with the changeable weather, dynamic night/day modes and evolving racetrack surfaces will leave sim racers entertained for hours. Like many simulators, the single-player experience is a bit unfulfilling and bare, but if all you want to do is race against the AI and hone your driving skills, it should prove to be plenty of fun for most players.

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This title is a must-have for sim racers, in our opinion – especially when you consider that it can be purchased on Amazon or by other means for cheap. It’s worth it for the accurate track recreations alone, not to mention all the other great content you’ll be getting. Even the most experienced and hard-to-please sim racers will be entertained for hours by this title – we guarantee it.

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Graphics 9.0
Content 9.0
DLC 6.0
Force Feedback 8.0
Online Experience 8.0
Single Player Experience 6.0