Project CARS 2: Fixing the Predecessor’s Engine Trouble

Project CARS 2 is driving onto store shelves soon and aims to impress with a blend of realistic physics and razor-sharp visuals. The same was said of its predecessor, Project CARS, which launched in 2015 after a prolonged (and turbulent) development period.

Though the finished product turned out to be a success, Project CARS suffered several flaws that its sequel urgently needs to address. These drawbacks spanned the gambit from artificial intelligence to the game’s penalty system.

Some might say that to play a Project CARS game solo is to play it incorrectly, but the game’s heavy emphasis on the single-player career mode means that studio is at least trying to draw lone wolf drivers. Project CARS’ career mode was pretty fun, and was always amusing to see fictional racing fans tweeting about how awesome the player is, but Project CARS 2 needs to spice things up.

The monotony of playing the same tournaments over and over again over the course of a fictional season needs some livening, maybe by more frequently switching up which tourneys the player can participate in over the season.

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Another issue that plagued Project CARS’ career mode was its artificial intelligence. Though human racers made challenging opponents, Project CARS’ AI left a lot to be desired, both amusing and annoying players with its erratic behavior.

In Project CARS, it wasn’t uncommon to see AI-controlled racers drive in a conga line on both straightaways and turns. Additionally, computer-controlled cars had a hilarious tendency to swerve as far away from approaching human drivers as possible, as if avoiding a contagious disease. Project CARS 2 needs to implement less unorthodox AI in its bots as much for the sake of realism as presenting a real offline challenge.

Project CARS’ other flaws had less to do with career mode than the game in general. A tutorial wouldn’t have gone amiss; even though Project CARS bills itself as the simulator for the serious motorhead, it never hurts to put in a few more road signs pointing to game functions and how they work.

Project CARS gave players an incredible amount of open-ended configuration, but just dropped it on players’ plates with a “have fun” sign taped to it. Project CARS 2 needs to do a better job explaining its modes, its menu options, and providing a bit more exposition on how each car configuration affects driving.

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Perhaps most urgently, Project CARS 2 needs to revamp its predecessor’s penalty system. One of the most maligned features of the original game, Project CARS’ penalties were, to put it mildly, inconsistent. The game would often overlook players who cut through grass to roar ahead of the pack, but lightly brushing a buffer meant instant disqualification.

Likewise, players could often total an opponent’s car with impunity, but get forever exiled from the track for butterfly kissing someone else’s bumper. Slightly Mad Studios has acknowledged this issue and pledged to fix it in Project CARS 2; hopefully it happens.

Project CARS had its flaws, but it ran well and presented one of the best racing simulation experiences on the market. Here’s to hoping that Project CARS 2 can fix its predecessor’s engine trouble and build upon its impressive legacy.

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