It’s no secret that for most racing fans on Xbox, the go to racer is usually the epic Forza franchise, with their dual series containing some of the world’s most beloved and exotic speed machines, in both an on track and off-road setting across the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon entries.
Sometimes though, it can be nice to see a brewing competition and as gamers we love nothing more than choice. Back in 2015, the arrival of Project CARS marked a new option for racing fans – an option that half of us didn’t even know we wanted. It said to hell with the arcade feel of many other racing titles and threw us in at the deep end of one of the most realistic racing simulators seen on console. That was a few years ago now and in the time since Project CARS’ arrival we’ve welcomed two new Forza titles as well as the fantastic DiRT Rally to Xbox One. They have brought possibly the biggest competition to the table in terms of a realistic driving experience, so with Project CARS 2 making noise – it’s no secret it’s coming, and, if the leaks are anything to go by, there will be a new trailer soon heading our way – here are some of the things we want to see in Project CARS 2.
One thing that was exceptionally impressive about Project Cars was the incredible detail in each of the included tracks. Whilst many of these were indeed lifelike replicas of the most beloved race tracks in real world motorsport, later DLC introduced a few fictitious tracks into the mix. To the untrained eye, these were very believable additions to the already fulfilling roster on offer, and whilst I’m sure the daggers of many racing fans will be sent my way for saying this, seeing the same tracks over and over again in every iteration of a racing game can really take away the experience of learning a game from scratch.
One thing that would make things more exciting would be to introduce a wide selection of fictitious tracks from the off. The original wasn’t exactly short of courses to put the large collection of vehicles through their paces, with over 110 courses across 30 locations available throughout Project CARS, but seeing just as many fictional tracks added with the same level of detail, would really help make the experience all the more engaging for newcomers and veterans alike.
Next on the Project CARS 2 wish list is something you’d expect from any racing simulator, and that’s the introduction of a clever and realistic A.I.
We’ve spent many hours between us here at TheXboxHub with the various racers that have arrived over the years, but one thing that will never be appreciated is overly aggressive and/or excessively unrealistic A.I drivers. Unfortunately, this was something that caused issues more than we would have liked in Project CARS. No matter whether it was the first corner, the last corner or the long straights in between, we found ourselves on the receiving end of shunting behaviour, pit manoeuvres and overly aggressive overtaking from the first race to the last. When those same opponents are seemingly unaffected by track and weather conditions, gameplay can quickly start to feel unfair, whether you’re a master with the steering wheel or starting from the back of the grid for the first time.
One way to fix the A.I issues would be to implement a Drivatar-like system, similar to that of the Forza franchise – something that lets us play against an A.I tuned to the racing behaviours of real people instead of plain and simple A.I. Of course, I don’t mean take the Forza type system directly, as that itself isn’t without issues of its own, but for any engagement to be had this time around, given the current racers on the market, there will need to be something put in place to ensure the A.I. are as realistic as the cars in which they race.
Something that has always had me keeping a keen eye at the latest racing titles is the variation of racing that can be had. After all, cars are one thing, but they aren’t the only four-wheeled vehicles that can be put around a race track. With such a wide variety of racing disciplines out there, it only makes sense that we would expect a game that promises a true racing simulation to include as many of these as possible. What’s to say Project CARS can’t still be a sensation while including all types of cars, buggies, trucks, lorries, and anything else they can think of, all placed into a fantastic selection of disciplines for the ultimate racing experience. Bikes wouldn’t even go a miss and would in turn give Project CARS 2 something unique that (for now at least) hasn’t even been introduced to the Forza franchise.
One further question I have found myself asking a lot through the years is why the weather is always so bland and predictable in racing games – graphics and realism have been making unbelievable progress, but one thing that tends to be forgotten almost every time is weather effects. I honestly have no idea why. Sure, you could argue that titles in recent years have started to introduce some rather varying weather effects, but despite the improvements they bring, it’s rare to see a game that actually gets them right. In the real world of racing, weather can be the make or break of a driver’s race, and whilst I don’t want to see an enjoyable genre ruined by impossible odds due to near impassable weather effects, it would be nice to see more types of it introduced into racing games, especially in Project CARS 2 given the simulation setting. A potentially cheeky sneak peek at what may just be the new trailer already hints at new weathers making their way to the game. Forza Horizon 3 may have just seen the arrival of Blizzard Mountain bringing in the extreme weathers of a freezing climate, but I seriously hope that is just the beginning of what will come to be seen as the norm from top racing titles arriving on our consoles.
I’m not a greedy man, and I don’t come to expect much either, so before this list of must have demands – I mean wishes – becomes too long, I’ll put in one final entry that we can all agree would really provide the much-needed game changer for simulation titles as we know them.
What I’m talking about is off-road racing. And this is something that would really make Project CARS 2 the King of simulation racers, right? After all, track racing is certainly important, but as mentioned above, there are many different disciplines of racing out there – there’s nothing to say any one is easier than the other, so throw them all at us and what do you have? The ultimate in racing simulation. For example, whilst we enjoyed the mix of Endurance, Touring and Kart racing in the original entry, seeing Rally racing and Baja racing join the mix would certainly add to the excitement. With the right level of care and attention to detail, we could see not only the best racing simulator on the market, but potentially the best racing game to ever grace our consoles.
So, there we have it, a list of the things I’d love to see from Project CARS 2. Do you agree with the choices or have some vital features that would really help Project CARS hold its own in the racing world been missed? Let us know in the comments below or via our usual social channels.