Written by Kieran Rudrum and Jake Dewbery
For those who have craved a racing game on 4th generation consoles, this month has been the gaming month for you. Firstly the aptly named Slightly Mad Studios released its pretender to the throne Project Cars 2, before Microsoft Studios released Gran Turismo 7 Forza Motorsport 7. With Sony finally joined the party earlier this week with its premier racing simulator game series, Grand Turismo, onto the PS4 for the first time. As we have both played the games since picking up a PS1 controller we were both excited when it was released and were obviously always going to buy this game the day it came out. However, as fans of the original Project Cars, which, in many ways was a game changer in the way these simulators are released, we have decided to buy both, and give you a comparison of both games. If you were hoping for a Forza review then sorry, we are more inclined to laugh at you for owning an Xbox over Playstation #PlaygroundRivalries. To start, we will go on Project Cars 2.
In 4 years, Project Cars has come from nowhere, and released a sequel doubling upon the prequels capabilities. The cars all feel unique, they sound amazing, the force feedback is more detailed and can be controlled (even on a controller, shame on you project cars 1), the tracks progress like they would in real time, the weather system is incredible, the car classes are quite extensive and varied – from basic Supercars to Old School Formula One cars to state of the art le mans cars, and online just works. The ranking system, allowing players to see the reputations of drivers through their ability, and also ability to ruin races by causing a humungous crash, is particularly pleasing. In terms of the game play itself, the racing is just addictive to the extent that it made us desperate to get back on the racetrack again and again, on both on console and real life.
Obviously not all would be up to scratch with the level we play, but Project Cars 2 has built on its original innovative difficulty slider which goes from 0, where cars basically float around you in 2nd gear, to 125, which is nigh on impossible; a setting which Codemasters also adopted for F1 2017. To add to this, Project Cars 2 has also added a scale on the aggression of AI competitors, as well as having more traditional aids such as braking assist and traction control. All of this combined with an extensive career mode and Project Cars 2 only falls behind possibly Race Driver Grid in its pursuit for the perfect racing game.
On the negative side, Project Cars 2 is let down by it’s now famed bugs and glitches which again make an appearance here. The visuals too pale in comparison to its rivals, and its lack of official race series does let it down compared to the ultimate force it could be with British Touring Cars or DTM licences for example. Having said that getting Indycar rights is a coup and hopefully this is something Slightly Mad Studios can develop through this entries revenue.
So if Project Cars 2 has raised the standards of massive multi-series racing games, how does Grand Turismo Sport compare? Well the first thing to note is that despite its heavy advertisement and hefty price, this is not a full game. This is effectively a prologue with a fancier name essentially. I would go as far to say this game could be considered as fraudulent at the price it has been advertised at and its lack of explanation for its lack of content.
Compared to Project Cars 2 the visuals on Grand Turismo Sport are on another level; its super pretty, almost to the extent that it doesn’t feel like a game, but it almost feels fake, with no on track marbles and retina burning brightness from the combination of excessive sun and surrounding scenery. It doesn’t have that gritty wet Tuesday night away in Knockhill feel that Project Cars 2 has, and we kind of miss that. There is no weather system in GT sport, the sounds still aren’t great, with too many cars sounding similar and lacking throatiness. The cars themselves don’t feel unique and the force feedback, whilst heavy, isn’t detailed. This is fine on a controller but on a wheel it is disappointing, especially when compared to Project Cars 2. It should however be noted that the Project Cars handling model is still a little unpredictable and lacks the consistency and incredible detail that is present within Assetto Corsa. Maybe these are issues that will be addressed in the full GT 7 but for now it’s not good enough. 4 years has been spent on this game but it doesn’t appear that they have noticed the competition, appreciated that they needed to develop and change, they’ve instead just done their own thing, and it just isn’t good enough.
Finally, the biggest issue – Content. There just aren’t enough tracks, and the ones that there are don’t feel of the same quality of Project Cars 2. Even comparing to Grand Turismo 6, GT Sport has 72 fewer tracks and over 1000 less cars. There are officially 160 cars in the game, but there’s more to the car list than that. There are 5 main classes, around 70 road cars, all very good. But then to fill the roster they’ve made fake GT3 and GT4 versions for almost every car. There’s a GT4 Bugatti Veyron with 400hp, and it’s great, unique, but it kind of misses the point. The few classes that there are really good and in depth but they’ve cheated, they need more cars and diverse groups. The vision GT cars fill the rest of the roster and again we are not big fans. Oh and there’s not really a career mode, which I’ll ignore because it’s a prologue, but for £50 you need more of a game, it’s crazy. The online mode is quite good, but it’s not enough to base a full game on. I don’t know the plan, but it reminds me a lot of Star Wars Battlefront two years ago, it’s very pretty, there’s a lot of potential but it is crying out for more single player and more overall content. Split screen is good, a nice addition for sure, but this is not worth spending upwards on £40 on, it is barely worth half of that.
Our recommendation, if you have PS4 or Xbox, is to buy Project Cars 2, and get Grand Turismo Sport only when its price comes dramatically down.
Project Cars 2 … 9/10
Grand Turismo Sport … 5/10