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Project CARS 2
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Project CARS 2 is a racing simulation game set on closed-circuit tracks, which means no pedestrians or civilian traffic is ever in harm's way. Crashes can be violent and show realistic damage to cars, but drivers aren't injured, which may send the wrong message about car accident consequences to teens learning to drive. Players can customize the name and nationality of their avatar, but are limited to racing as what would appear to be a male driver. Parents should note that the names and logos of real-world car companies and automotive parts manufacturers -- including Mercedes, Toyota, Michelin, and more -- feature prominently throughout the game.
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What's it about?
PROJECT CARS 2 is an authentic car racing simulation game focused on providing players with a highly realistic driving experience and an enormous array of customizable options. It features dozens of tracks, nearly 200 branded cars programmed to mimic the handling of their real-world counterparts, extensive customization, tuning options to match tracks and conditions, realistic progression, and event planning. The career mode allows players to work through multiple series of events in varying disciplines, starting off with street vehicles and professional karts and ranging all the way up to the fastest cars on the planet. Along the way, players will sign contracts with various companies and gain access to prestigious special races, including proving grounds and invitational events. Players can customize and tune not just cars, but also the events themselves, setting race length and whether to participate in qualifying rounds. Online racing, meanwhile, is geared for competitive play, with an array of customization options that allow players to create the exact type of event they want to race, with special consideration paid to the requirements of eSports matches.
Is it any good?
Sometimes incremental progress can be just as satisfying as a huge, innovative leap forward. The original Project CARS created a rock-solid foundation for an authentic racing simulator, and Project CARS 2 builds on that foundation in the best ways. It provides more content and more ways to customize that content than most players can fathom, with seemingly endless options tucked away in every menu. It looks good, too, with gorgeous car models -- including realistic cockpit views -- and highly authentic seasonal lighting and dynamic weather helping to both set the mood and, in some cases, provide an added challenge. And the car handling -- the most important part of any racing game -- is just dreamy. You'll feel the weight of your car, changes made to tires, steering, and suspension, and differences in engine and drivetrain layouts. If you want to experience what it's like to drive a touring car, open-wheel car, or vintage IndyCar without actually stepping into one, this game may well be your best bet.
Most impressive, it's not nearly as intimidating to casual racing fans as one might expect, given its focus on realism. It's undeniably geared for serious racers, but less hardcore players can turn on a variety of assists and crank down opposing racer intelligence and aggression to gain a very good chance of experiencing success. You can also adjust event duration and whether or not to deal with considerations like damage, fuel, and tire wear, and allow race engineers to handle all of your tuning in difficult conditions, such as rain and heat. There's still room for improvement in some areas -- the ideal race line option isn't as accurate as in other games, and radio instructions aren't as helpful as one might hope -- but the range of players who will be able to enjoy this racer is impressive nonetheless. If you want to branch out beyond Xbox Forza games and PlayStation GT driving sims, Project CARS 2 is a great choice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Project CARS 2 can be easily parceled into manageable play sessions based on the number of events raced and by customizing the length of each event, but how many races do you need to complete to feel satisfied without cutting into other activities in your day?
Talk about driving safety. What are some of the drawbacks of a racing game that doesn't realistically depict the human consequences of high-speed car crashes?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.