G-4rce Game Reviews: Project Cars 2 and Gran Turismo SportMcgillacuddy Hey guys, here's to a another exciting game review! An important announcement beforehand is that I am no longer taking requests until further notice. Swellow has requested a film review from me and I have yet to finish it because of my job (sorry bout that Swellow. I'm trying my best). I don't do much on this site at the moment because of this but I'm still going to try to get these reviews out there for you to enjoy. Hopefully you can forgive me for the slow releases, but I just can't help it at the moment, so until further notice, I have to slow these down. Right now, though, I've got a double review for you guys!
Project Cars 2 (Slightly Mad Studios) Metacritic Reception
Gran Turismo Sport (Polyphony Digital) Metacritic Reception
Note: I am reviewing these games based on the state they were in at release. Updates and DLC will not be reviewed.
Okay, so I'm ready to review two of the three big racing games of the year. I can't review Forza 7 because I don't have an Xbox ONE, but I'm just happy that the PS4 even got some worthy racing sims. As for me, I am a fan of racing simulator games. The first one I've played was Gran Turismo 2 way back in my PS1 days. Since then, I've been a fan of both the Forza and GT series. There hasn't been any other racing sims out there that have competed with these two big shots, until now though. I haven't played the first Project Cars which I've heard was a lackluster game and the physics were much more realistic, and at the time, I felt I already had my disappointment in realistic sims when I played Forza 5, which remains to be my least favorite racing sim. Although, the second Project Cars release ended up surprising me, so now, I want to review both this and GT Sport and compare how good they are and which is the better buy. Let's do it.
Graphics and Visuals:
Note: I am not reviewing the 4K versions of these games.
Project Cars 2 has rather decent but disappointing visuals for the PS4. While some vistas look very nice and well-put together, there are some graphical flaws in the game, most notably the trees and weather. Trees and other foliage are copy and pasted in courses, which you may not realize in the heat of a race but if you take the time out, you can see what I mean. It's pretty much like what Gran Turismo used to be in the graphics department, and any GT fan knows that GT has had some awful looking foliage for a long time. Rain and snow is also a problem in this game, mainly the snow. The snow looks very light and unthreatening, even in blizzard conditions. In replays, you can also see that there are small sections where rain and snow isn't falling like it's supposed to be. It can get quite tedious when you're trying to take a race photo in need of rain or snow in your picture. Some grass areas also look very flat and plastic, which is also tedious to look at. Other than those flaws, this game looks great as far as lighting effects, glare, reflections, and detail on cars, and can make for great beauty in sunset or dawn.
As for Gran Turismo Sport, I was HEAVILY surprised by the graphical improvements this game received. For a long time, GT has had very poor graphics compared to Forza, but now, they actually OUTDO Forza in visuals. When I watched videos for this game before it was released, I was worried that the graphics were going to end up very poor as they looked that way prerelease. In the final product, though, the graphics got a MAJOR makeover. Trees don't look like they're from the late 2000s anymore, the lighting is excellent, the and detailing is excellent. I've seen a graphical comparison between Forza 7 and GT Sport, and I can easily tell that GT Sport has the upper hand as far as realistic looks. Forza 7 looked surprisingly more cartoony than GT. I have to give ultimate props to Polyphony for this one.
GT takes the upper hand in graphics for this battle.
Racing Mechanics and Simulation Realism:
If you're used to the handling in Forza and GT, prepare to get sh*t on in Project Cars 2. The handling and mechanics are WIDELY different from both of these series. You can tell the developers really did their homework on the realism here. Small details that are ignored in Forza and GT are utilized in Project Cars 2, and if it's your first time playing, it's going to take some time to get used to. This game is also requires a lot of car tech savvy. You have to tune your car correctly in each race (you could, of course, run with the default setup but I suggest learning how to tune because it you can see some useful differences), exit corners lightly on the gas, let go of the clutch at the start of a race (if you drive manual), watch your torque, check your tires, make use of pit stops, and other things that could make a vital difference in races. Now, one of the bugs that this game has is the tire torque in wet weather. I can't race luxury supercars in this weather because every time I head into a slightly flooded area, my tires don't grab the ground no matter how slowly I try to drive in it. I just continue hydroplaning over the water. Luxury cars work fine in lighter rain but they're pretty much useless in heavy rain. Also, changing tires doesn't make a difference on an icy track. You're just going to continue sliding around without any visible differences. This is one bug that needs fixing in this game. Another problem are the driving supports. The driving line is absolutely terrible as it's poorly integrated and sometimes can't even be seen in some sections, even corners. The braking indicator is also an absolute nightmare as it mostly gives you a heads up way too early or way too late when heading into a corner. With such terrible supports, this game forces you to practice run each track and learn them before jumping into a race. Although, if you get good enough at the game, you can become much better at anticipating cornering and braking without practice runs, which can be useful on very long tracks that are near impossible to learn by heart like Nurburgring and the California Highway.
GT Sport has much more familiar driving mechanics to that of the Forza series and heavily differs from the previous GT releases. Also, unlike the previous GTs, Sport has a much stronger focus on its racing aspect. Racing strategies that were absent in previous games are present in Sport. All cars handle differently and have major differences in speed and handling. The cars are much more easier to drive here than in PC2 as the driving still maintains that arcade feel to it. The supports are much more solid in this game than PC2. The driving line is perfectly integrated and the braking indicator is on point. As far as all out realism, it doesn't quite make it to PC2s level, but the good side is that it's free of tedious bugs.
Regardless of bugless racing gameplay from GT Sport, Project Cars 2 will take the lead in realism. GT Sport is still a very good play.
Features and Content:
Project Cars 2 has the usual modes of a racing sim. There's not much of a progression system in this game regardless of it having a career mode because all of the cars in the game are unlocked for you to use. The career mode is mainly meant to enhance your driving skills, which is okay at times, but thankfully, it really is a career mode and not what I'm going to be talking about for GT Sport. The game also features a useful practice mode where you can practice alone on a track without any hassle. The main dish of PC2, though, is Custom Race mode. In this mode, you have the freedom to create and manipulate a race in any way you want, which makes me spend hours upon hours in this one mode. The best things you can do to a race is manipulate the weather, time of day, and time of year. You can race in clear daylight, rain, fog, snow, thunderstorms, and even blizzards (which can be pretty scary at times). You can race on every single track in a 24-hour period with ANY car (try out some Rallycross tracks with different cars), which is also nothing short of perfect. You can also set the season in the year, and the looks of a track can change based on it. For instance, if you pick Fall, some tracks will have trees with autumn-colored leaves. You can also manipulate the AI such as their difficulty on a 1-100 scale, their race style, their car classes, and more. With all of these different features made for each track, the possibilities become endless. Project Cars 2 also features a Replay mode, of course, and a Photo mode. The replay value in this game is FANTASTIC. This is one of the first racing games where I hardly ever finish a race without watching the replay because they feel simply authentic and immersive. Project Cars 2 is all about the racing. That's the main focus of this game, and they did a marvelous job with giving players the freedom to race with few limits.
GT Sport's main focus is also on its racing. As I said in the previous section, GT Sport has heavily improved car mechanics and realism, adding much needed depth to gameplay. The game maintains its fun racing action and it may feel like you're playing a Forza game considering how smooth it is. Unfortunately, there are no crashing and damage mechanics implemented in the game except for scratches on cars, which is not really a significant problem, but there are times when I do enjoy a challenge with the damage turned on. The unfortunate side of this section, though, is the fact that this game doesn't have a Career mode, which is literally something that pretty much EVERY racing sim should have. Instead, there is a "Campaign" mode, which puts you through multiple challenges and trials that are meant to improve your driving skill. The good side to this mode is that, if you're a beginner player or not that much experienced with driving strategies, it will help you a lot and further challenge you to improve your skills. The bad side to it is that, even though you win cars for completing sections of it, it's a much less significant progression system than a Career mode. It's quite disappointing, to say the least, and this deterred a lot of GT fans from the game. Another problem with the game's offline features is some of its Single Player modes. First of all, 2-Player Battle mode is the absolute worst 2-player mode I have ever seen. You can't manipulate how your race runs. You just pick a car, a track, and go. You can't even set how many LAPS you race. I play this game with my Dad a lot, and to see that this mode is so limited makes me want to cry. This game also has a Custom Race mode which is a better version of Single Race mode. It lets you customize how your race will run like PC2, but it's much, MUCH less extensive. Another main focus with the game is online gameplay. This game is more online and less offline, which is also another bad choice from Polyphony, considering that previous releases had very strong offline features. The most outrageous thing about the game is also that you can't save your data offline (thank God at least you don't need to pay for PS Plus to save, though. You just need an internet connection). You can't race with your garage cars offline either. This is such a major blow for the game and GT fans will be outraged.
Because of the limited offline of GT Sport, PC2 will take this section with its much more extensive offline gameplay.
This is probably the strongest point of Project Cars 2. The game features a total of 60 tracks which is a massive amount for a racing game. I still have yet to try out every track in the game. The track listing is also very diverse, featuring classics like Laguna Seca, Mount Panorama, and, of course, Nurburgring, and featuring a lot of fictional tracks like Bannochbrae, Spa-Francorchamps, and Les Arts which are all fantastic courses. My favorite courses would definitely be Bannochbrae, Spa-Francorchamps, Les Arts, Azure Coast, and the California Highway.
Now, with Gran Turismo Sport, this is probably the game's weakest point. The game has a total of 17 locations with 40 variations of tracks. Let me repeat that. ONLY 17 LOCATIONS AND 40 F*CKING TRACK VARIATIONS. There can be several variations of the same locations, which is disappointing at best. All of these variations of single tracks took up way too many slots in the list when they could've been used for other choices. Also, considering the fact that the previous GT had a killer amount of 100 tracks, this is pretty much a slap in the face to all GT fans. Favorite tracks, though, are Mount Panorama, Alsace, and Tokyo Expressway.
Project Cars 2 is taking the track list trophy by a longshot.
Car Listing and Liveries:
Project Cars 2 has more than 180 cars in its roster, which is quite a disappointing number for a racing sim. Although, what saves this from flopping is the fact that the car choices are heavily diverse, classified into 9 different motorsports and more than 30 different classes. You can drive the usual GT and luxury cars, or you can also try out Rallycross, Indy, R1, Kart, and even old school racing motorsports which became one of my favorites, especially considering the replay value they create. A lot of the car choices are also very good even though there may have been some important ones left out. I'm just happy to see that the HKS Nissan Skyline made it into the game. Unfortunately, this game doesn't have a custom livery editor, although, each car has a list of pre-made liveries to choose from, which is good enough.
GT Sport has probably the weakest car list of any racing sim. It features a little more than 160 cars, which is pretty close to the amount of PC2. Although, the roster is not as diverse as PC2's and the choice made are excruciatingly poor. For instance, Nissan only has several versions of the GT-R and nothing else. No Skyline, no R34, not even a freaking 370 Z. In fact, there's literally only one car in the game that was made before 2009, and it's the Audi Quattro Pikes Peak Rally Car, which is a pretty decent choice but nowhere near cuts it. Much like the poor track roster in the game, GT Sport has a heavily poor car roster, and it's just sad. We're also considering the fact that the previous GT ended up with more than 1000 cars. The only benefit of such a laughable car list is that GT finally has a livery editor in the game. The best part is that it's free to use, you can share your creations on the community and even use other people's creations on your cars. This is definitely something that the series needed for a long time and it's yet another improvement for it.
Regardless of the somewhat similar car amount in both games and the very nice livery editor in GT, Project Cars 2 takes this category with its diverse car choices.
Sound and Music:
Project Cars 2 has very nice sounds on their cars, and they sound best when driving the cars in full car camera view and inside the cockpit. The car sounds even have minor details thrown into them such as gear changing clicks, muffler pops, and exhaust sounds. One problem with the sounds, though, is that there is an exaggerated screeching sound when cornering. The music in the menu is rather different from any other racing game I've played, featuring mostly graceful orchestral tracks that are meant to pose as sort of an admiration for a growing sport. It's the type of music that makes you feel like a true winner even if you've lost. The amount of music tracks in this game, though, is low. The soundtrack wasn't a heavy focus for this game, but for what it is, it sounds fantastic. "Race to Win" was an instant favorite.
Yet another improvement that GT Sport has made to the game is the car sounds. The cars no longer sound like lawn mowers and each sound to the cars are different and real. As for the soundtrack, you should bet your ass that GT is back at it again with the kickass. One thing I was most surprised to see was that they brought back the music that plays DURING races, which hasn't been present in the series since GT2 (as far as I know. I haven't played GT3). Again though, GT Sport has an extensive soundtrack with an incredibly diverse selection of songs, ranging from Jazz, Hip-Hop (I screamed when the game played Dis Generation by Tribe Called Quest), Electronic, Dance, Swing, and Rock. The music in the menu is probably the best, with "Dream Machine" by Mike Farina being an instant favorite.
If you add the extensive soundtrack to the game's improved car sounds, GT Sport is going to take the upper hand in this department.
Project Cars 2 Final Verdict: 8.5/10 Great
It's not the best racing sim I've played, but it's definitely top 3 for me, and take my word for it considering how long I've been playing these kinds of games. The Custom Race mode is basically the be-all end-all. If you want a game that gives you the freedom to manipulate your races in any form or fashion, you must buy this. I love racing at night, in the rain, in a thunderstorm, with 31 other cars on the track with different classes, on mid-level difficulty, with their aggressiveness turned to the max, on the California Highway, with 999 laps... I mean come on, this is perfect. The game also has an authentic racing feel, adding to it's incredible immersive aura. It's a pure dedication to sport, and I don't think theres another racing sim out there that feels this way. It's setbacks are its bugs and somewhat underwhelming visuals, but these downsides don't overwhelm how much damn fun I have playing this game.
GT Sport Final Verdict: 6/10 Average
I won't sugarcoat it: GT Sport is the weakest release in its own series. Everything that was bad in the GT series such as the graphics, mechanics, realism, sounds, and missing features have been completely improved astoundingly, but almost everything that made the GT series GOOD has been REMOVED. Limited offline features, a lackluster car list with an even worse course list, no career mode, and online focus made this game a huge step back in the series regardless of its much-needed improvements. This game is average at best because of its improvements, but that is where I draw the line. Being a part of the GT series, Sport falls flat.
Which is the better buy?
Well, considering my almost polar opposite verdicts of both games, Project Cars 2 is obviously the better pickup. It's simply better than GT Sport content-wise. GT fans will be very disappointed with Sport and I don't blame them one bit. There is a considerable upside to this game, though. Before release, Polyphony has promised consumers vital updates that will improve the game massively, such as 500 added cars, more tracks, and more offline features. It may sound like a desperate move, but the thing we must consider is that this IS Gran Turismo, which is one of Japan's biggest games. This game will continue to be supported, so it's highly likely that Polyphony will pull through, and if they do, the game will be everything that GT fans came here for. As for now, I say hold off on the game until the news actually pulls through. If it does, then it would be a good time to pick it up, because again, the game has many improvements opposed to previous releases, and with the added updates and extra content, this will be the GT that everyone needed.
Good review - Skullkid755
Nice review! - LightningBlade
Nice to see you spice things up a bit with your style in this review. Loved that you did a comparison duo review of both Project Cars 2 and GT Sport by comparing the two games and ranking them on different criteria to see which is the better game. - ModernSpongeBobSucks
Yeah I wanted to make reviews for both games but I also wanted to compare the two so I threw them in one review - Mcgillacuddy