Tag Archives: Simulation

Project Cars 2 review

The racing genre is nowhere near as saturated as it used to be, at least in regards to the sheer amount of titles out there. However, finding a gap within the genre to focus on is more difficult than ever, with the majority of racing titles covering every aspect of racing so thoroughly as to narrow or entirely eliminate most gaps. Project Cars 2 has therefore concentrated on delivering a true simulation for players to enjoy; covering a large variety of different disciplines but keeping the experience as realistic as possible. Still, the competition is strong and the timing of Project Cars 2’s release may limit its overall appeal.

Indeed, Project Cars 2 improves on the original by stepping up its realism to an impressive level. The huge variety and amount of cars each offer a unique set of handling challenges to master, making every aspect of a race a thoughtful endeavour. Simply pulling away from the starting grid requires forethought: do you gun it or ease into it? Where’s the sweet spot for traction and acceleration? What’s the turning circle like at different speeds? How does the weather affect the handling? All of these questions are thrown at you. You are driving in a simulation of immense realism and it therefore requires deep consideration.

It’s exhilarating stuff. There’s a mastery to conquer for each car and for each discipline that keeps you busy and engaged for countless hours. Learning how to drive through streets is a very different lesson to driving on a raceway, even if the cars are the same. Meanwhile, rally driving, etc. offer entirely different challenges for you to suss out. There’s so many things to learn, and with Project Cars 2 offering such as a wealth of cars, tracks and disciplines, the potential fun is endless.

Of course, this fun is only the case if you’re a driving enthusiast. Project Cars 2 has a niche market in mind. If you own and regularly use a full steering wheel setup, then this is definitely the title for you, otherwise, this focus on simulation driving is going to frustrate you hugely.

It’s a fight from the very first race. The aforementioned wealth of things to learn is an overwhelming burden on the average player. You’ll spin out simply from trying to pull away quickly from the start. Meanwhile, the dynamic weather can turn a clear day, with favourable conditions that you’ve mastered well enough to finish in a respectable position, into a wet or cold day, sending you flying off the track due to a misjudged corner or overtake. It’s a punishing game where each overtake is hard fought, each corner is an obstacle to be studied, and your car’s handling is best analysed through experience. Indeed, if you mean to master Project Cars 2, it’ll cost you considerable patience and time.

However, for some this exhausting and comprehensive schooling will certainly be worth it. There aren’t many titles quite this dedicated out there right now, or indeed even planned for the future. This is a title that you might otherwise expect from Codemasters, for its excellent attention to realism and detail. And even the likes of the imminent Forza 7 can’t quite compete at this level of authenticity. But of course, this is also where Project Cars 2 is likely to fail. Forza 7 will be far more welcoming to all levels of racing players. Project Cars 2 is purposely niche, and so its player base is specific, and you may very well not be their target audience.

For those that do live and breathe driving; that own steering wheel setups that put their actual cars to shame, and for those that drive not only to compete for position but for the love of mastering the machines, then Project Cars 2 is right up your alley. Moreover, you’ll be able to enjoy a remarkably attractive simulator at that. The vehicle models are exceptionally well detailed and realised, with equally well imitated cockpits to boot. Meanwhile, excellent lighting and weather effects brings the terrific variety of tracks to life, whether they’re the real raceways or fabricated ones. Additionally, the engine sounds almost force you to bite your lip in anticipation for the horse power you have the privilege of driving. However, the AI does occasionally let it down, with some odd behaviour when cornering creating an, often comical, sense of unpredictability, as well as the AI switching suddenly between aggressive and passive driving styles. Otherwise, Project Cars 2 does a marvellous job visually and audibly, bringing the experience of driving these cars in these wonderful locations to your living room.

There’s also plenty you can do outside of racing. Tuning your cars to suit your driving style, the raceway, or the weather you’ll be fighting against, is a considerable pastime in itself. Fortunately is very easy to do, with everything explained to you in plain English. In fact, that’s something Project Cars 2 does very well: explaining things. Each new screen greets you with a short, narrated explanation to help you on your way, and thanks to a clean and accessible UI, you’ll be diving into the career or playing quick races offline or online, with tuned or stock cars, swiftly and without confusion.

Project Cars 2 is aimed squarely at driving simulation fans, to the point where playing it without a steering wheel setup feels somehow sacrilegious. And it recreates the thrill and expertise of driving super cars, rally cars, F1, and multiple other disinclines exceptionally well. It is, however, also a difficult game to play, highly inaccessible to those less practiced with simulation driving. Meanwhile, Forza 7 is also about to be released, a title that will feature many of Project Cars 2’s strongest features with added accessibly, making this already niche title an even harder sell. If you’re a driving sim nut, then don’t hesitate to pick up Project Cars 2, otherwise, best stay clear.

Thanks to Xbox and Bandai Namco for supporting TiX

Airport Architect coming to Xbox One in 2017

UIG Entertainment have today announced that their forthcoming management simulation title, Airport Architect, will be coming to Xbox One in early spring of 2017.

Airport Architect is a casual simulation game with a unique art style challenging you to construct, design and manage your very own personalized airport. Offering advanced and realistic simulation features, your task is to create an international multi-terminal airport catering to numerous agencies accommodating millions of passengers.

Real airport designs are included as starter-kits, such as LAX, VIE and LHR. Or you can craft your very own airport from scratch using the large number of interior and exterior items included with the game. Hangars, airstrips, control towers and airport vehicles and planes are just the beginning.

Dovetail Games Euro Fishing review

Dovetail Games Euro Fishing is another simulation title from the makers of Train Simulator, offering a digital facsimile of lake fishing that’s far more realistic than the majority of other fishing titles currently available. However, does its authenticity damage its enjoyment?

It will for some, Euro Fishing’s recreates the experience of fishing realistically enough so to make it unappealing to those not enamoured by the sport. However, if you’re looking for some out of season fishing or don’t fancy the weather outside, Euro Fishing is sure to provide a great substitution.

A comprehensive tutorial offers an accessible, multi-stage set of lessons to teach you not only the mechanics of the game but also the tricks involved in the real thing, introducing you to bait and float types, showing you how to cast your line, and educating you on what to look out for and how to best reel in those precious fish.

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Meanwhile, outside of the tutorial you have the choice of singleplayer fishing against the AI in all manner of tournaments or overcoming challenges, free fishing simply for the fun of it, and an online offering allowing you to competitively fish against your friends or in tournaments against the wider player-base.

It appears to be a fairly barebones set of options but what’s here encapsulates the sport of lake fishing nicely. There are five real-world lakes to fish in: The Observatory, L’arène, Digger Lake, St John’s Lake, and Presa Del Monte Bravo. Meanwhile, seven species of fish – Roach, Bream, Tench, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Leather Carp and the Wels Catfish – test your skills and wits. And indeed this simulator truly does test your abilities. Casting to the right area of a lake, baiting your hook with the right bait, fighting the fish should you be lucky enough to get a bite, picking the right peg to cast from, and managing multiple rods at the same time, all require some thoughtful preparation and strategy for you to find any success. As such it’s a remarkably competent simulation.

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However, some issues do damage the enjoyment and sense of realism. Lengthy load times are frustrating and it’s common for the camera to be obstructed each time it tries to celebrate a fish you’ve caught with a panning shot. Meanwhile, a lack of fine details makes the environments look overly bright and gamey. However, the gamification with the named ‘boss fishes’ which are highly prized but difficult fish to catch, is a nice touch, and if the tricky, analogue stick realistic casting gets on your nerves it can be changed to a more arcadey button pressing option.

It’s disappointing that your fishing antics are restricted to lakes and only seven species of fish, but it’s a strong foundation for more content in either DLC or a sequel. It’s certainly a bit of a niche title but one that caters to its audience splendidly. If you’re a keen fisher then Dovetail Games Euro Fishing is going to suit you wonderfully, if fishing isn’t really your thing, then you’ll find this too weighted toward simulation to enjoy.

Thanks to Xbox and Dovetail Games for supporting TiX

Forza Motorsport 6 review

As the Forza Series reaches its 10th year, we got our hands on Forza Motorsport 6. With Project CARS getting a good reception from racing simulation fans, can Turn 10 Studios grab some traction back? Let’s see.

Forza Motorsport 6 returns with an impressive roster of cars (460 to be precise) for you to experience across a wide range of disciplines. The Cover star, the 2017 Ford GT is also the first car you’ll drive in the game. You’ll spend the first hour or so being guided through a tutorial, before being cut loose to play the game how you want.

One of the first things you will notice is the redesigned UI, it looks great and is very simple to navigate, it also shows off just how much there is to do in the game. You’ll also receive snippets of information from Richard Hammond, James May, Tanner Foust and the soothing tones of Forza’s voiceover lady.

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Forza 6’s Career mode is where you will spend a lot of your time, with more than 70 hours of gameplay across 26 destinations, including Daytona, Hockenheim and Rio Di Janeiro. I’ve previously found the careers of Forza to be rather sterile but this isn’t the case with Forza 6. The combination of the gorgeous circuits, awesome machines and a much improved AI make for some brilliant racing. This year there are packs of mods that can be bought for use in races, they can range from moving you further up the grid at the start of the race, to an extra percentage of credits. My favourite are the ‘dare’ mods, these are like mini challenges, such as having to use the cockpit camera only, or having your braking effectiveness reduced by 10% for that race. They are certainly worth playing around with. There are more specialised mods that focus on the circuit you are at, giving you extra grip for that race. The packs can only be bought with credits you have earned in game.

If you are lucky enough to own a surround-sound headset you are in for a real treat – from the roar of 24 engines at the start of a race to tyres doing all they can to stay on the track as you speed around corners – the noise is always immense, the musical score is superb too.
Drivatars continue to appear in and they are great fun to go up against, what I noticed from this year’s entry is that although they are more aggressive, it causes them to make more mistakes so you’ll take great pleasure in seeing your friends completely mess up during the course of the race.

I’m by no means the greatest racer in the world and Forza tailors for all types of skill levels with several active assists that can be selected, meaning any player can find their level. Removing assists will give you extra credits at the end of a race so there is an incentive to make things a bit harder, you can also define how aggressive the drivatars are as well. It was however disappointing to see that Turn 10 haven’t given users as much control over the HUD like in Project CARS.

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I also thought it was a shame that the car damage isn’t as realistic as Project CARS. While the cars in Forza are affected by crashes and engine parts can be damaged, causing performance issues, you won’t see wheels coming off or cars coming to a halt because of an engine failure.

As you progress through your career you’ll be able to take part in Showcase Events, which does a great job of increasing the diversity within the career and will introduce you to unique areas in the world of Motorsport that you might not have known existed, racing in a 1970’s Formula 1 car was certainly an experience! Other showcases include racing The Stig’s digital cousin, taking on some of Top Gear’s challenges and racing some of the fastest cars in the world in overtaking challenges. Endurance junkies are catered for too with a whole host of races – you can certainly see how Forza Horizon has influenced the Motorsport series.

For the first time in Forza night racing is available and this isn’t just a case of adding a black sky and making the lights look pretty! Each venue feels different, driving at 150mph through Daytona is as bright as driving through day thanks to the stadium floodlights, but at Le Mans you have to rely on the headlights of your vehicle to keep you on track.

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Rainfall and fog also makes a spectacular debut in the game, not only does it look and sound incredible, but they can wipe you out if you aren’t careful. What I found most impressive was that the rain had an effect on the different road surfaces, making them react to your car just as you might expect. Lashing through a huge puddle on tarmac threw my car off course, whereas coming off the track onto muddy grass lost me valuable seconds.

If you are brave enough to take on other Forza Enthusiasts then multiplayer is right up your street. Standard multiplayer allows you to select the type of lobby you want to play in, from racing a certain type of class, or taking part in drag races or special events. The racing worked well, the lobbies are simple to run and out on track there was no lag or performance issues, even in a race with 24 cars.

Forza 6 also introduces Leagues this year, a brand new multiplayer feature. Leagues are scheduled multiplayer race series where players are organised by skill level and temperament. Again you can race up to 24 players whose skills are closely matched to yours. There is also a spectate mode which will be great for casting races. Another mode, Rivals, is a great way to show off your skills and challenge people around the world to beat the scores you set across the different classes and disciplines.

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On top of all the racing there is of course the famous Forza customisation options – budding artists can spend days and weeks creating some amazing liveries and budding mechanics can head over to the garage to tune each vehicle – both can then be sold to the masses around the Forza world. Finally, an upgrade shop allows you to make improvements to your car – each item now shows you what effect it will have – whether it’s extra grip or added weight.

Turn 10 have celebrated their 10th anniversary in style, by creating another excellent title. The new weather effects are superb, the online works brilliant and the career mode plus the showcases are well worth your time.Make sure you experiment with the mods in career too. I’m pleased to say Forza is back on track.

Thanks to Xbox for their support

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