Review: A Fresh Look At Assetto Corsa For PC
Game

Review: A Fresh Look At Assetto Corsa For PC

August 14, 2016
2080 views
Driving Immersion
8
Visuals
9
Realism
7
Multiplayer
6
Sound
9
Hardware Friendliness
7
Content
7
7.6
very good

ASSETTO CORSA

Gran-Turismo killer? Forza Dominator?

Some of you who are reading this may be new to the world of sim racing, and may be wondering what Assetto Corsa is. No, it’s not your new local Italian joint. It’s a serious racing simulator which has been made available on PC & Consoles and is a real challenger to the market dominating Forza and Gran-Turismo franchises.

The small and plucky Italian dev house in the form of Kunos Simulazioni have put together a very ambitious racing game here. The aim can only be to tackle the bigger franchises and start eating the lunch they’ve been leaving on the table for so long.

Assetto Corsa is ambitious, but does it deliver? Let’s find out.

Driving Immersion

Assetto Corsa feels great in the hands. The driving physics are believable and the general car behavior is relatively realistic. Each car and track also has it’s own unique nuances, with each being somewhat distinguishable from the last. The driving in Assetto Corsa is almost never monotonous, and each lap provides a new challenge. No two laps are the same in this title.

The sounds and the visuals add to the immersion along with the physics and the detailed force feedback through the wheel. You can feel, hear, and see when a car loses grip. You just know what the car wants when it wants it. This allows the driving to feel natural instead of synthetic or artificial.

The tracks are laser-scanned and every bump and crack is accurately represented as a result. All noticeable landmarks are included, and really add to the atmosphere. All in all, from an immersion perspective, Assetto Corsa nails it.

There is one glaring hole in the immersion department in Assetto Corsa though. The AI can sometimes race around like headless chickens, and can weaken the racing experience on Assetto Corsa. Thankfully this isn’t all too common though, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll be able to have a real blast going toe to toe with your PC.

Visuals

Assetto Corsa has absolutely wrung the peach in the looks department. Each car is incredibly detailed both inside and out. Each track is a near perfect representation, only falling short of not being the real thing. The colours are all very natural and almost never look arbitrary or out of place.

Inside the car the developers have gone to great lengths to represent each button, each roll bar, each nut and bolt as accurately as possible. This is really a welcome sight, as many car racing game developers tend to neglect the interior all too often.

Assetto Corsa Review

Photo Credit: assettocorsa.net

Realism

As we’ve mentioned in our Driving Immersion section, Assetto Corsa boasts driving physics that are believable and general car behavior that is relatively realistic. Assetto Corsa does sometimes fall short however when you learn how to manipulate the physics in your favour. We have observed drivers using a variety of unusual setup tweaks, and certain car characteristics in ways which are unnatural in order to gain an advantage.

Apart from the setup tweaks and exploitation, our only other gripes in terms of realism in Assetto Corsa is the absence of a day/night cycle and the absence of wet weather. We would love to have the ability of hosting very wet night races around some of the most established racing circuits in the world, all from the comfort of our living room. These two points were the main reason for our Realism score of 7.

Multiplayer

Assetto Corsa’s native multiplayer lobby system is OK. It does leave a lot to be desired however. Having said that, there are third-party modding teams who have done an excellent job at synergizing the multiplayer experience a lot more. These systems allow players and communities to schedule and join popular online race sessions. The apps also allow payers to see which of their friends are racing, as well as what and where they’re racing.

Driving online in an un-moderated server is currently cause for frustration. Players are better off seeking active online racing communities to race in, or well moderated leagues to compete in if they want to keep their sanity when racing online.

Sound

We believe Assetto Corsa to be the best sounding racing game currently on the market. The developers have really paid a lot of attention in this department, and it has paid off. Every car sounds unique both internally and externally. From the roar of the Mustang, to the scream of the Lotus Exos, players are really treated to a thrilling audio experience when playing Assetto Corsa.

Going on an off-track excursion, you can hear the gravel flick up into the wheel wells. The same can be said when driving over the rubber marbles which generate off the racing line. Every backfire, every tire squeal, every mis-shift, all of it, it’s all just been done so well. You’ll often ask yourself whether you’re really in the car, or whether you’re really standing beside the circuit.

Assetto Corsa Review

Photo Credit: assettocorsa.net

Hardware Friendliness

Assetto Corsa will not be playable on max settings with a potato PC. This is understandable however as the game is constantly doing a number of calculations and graphical representations at the same time. It would be impossible for the game to cater to hardware in every price category. Assetto Corsa doesn’t require the latest and the greatest hardware to run well either.

You can very easily get by with an old i5-2500k and a GTX 680 and still have acceptable frame rates with acceptable visual quality. For results of the best value however, we’d recommend an i5-4690k paired with an nVidia GTX 970.

Content

Assetto Corsa boasts a plethora of great content both in the form of circuits as well as vehicles, including the perilous Nordschleife. There are hundreds of possible combinations which should allow for hours of driving pleasure all from the comfort of your own living room. From Small Hatchbacks to GT3 Monsters to Open Wheel Beasts, Assetto Corsa has just about enough content to keep you distracted for hours on end.

There are one or two places in which Assetto Corsa is currently lacking in terms of content however. There is no Oval racing content natively available in Assetto Corsa. Now whilst it may seem as though Oval racing is irrelevant, we can tell you that after just one high-intensity NASCAR race at Charlotte your mind will change very quickly. Adding Oval racing circuits and vehicles would greatly enhance the already very enjoyable experience of Assetto Corsa.

Assetto Corsa is also lacking in the branding department. With currently only a handful of manufacturers to choose from, it would be great to have a wider variety of race cars to choose from. This isn’t solely in the hands of the developers however as these licenses can be very expensive. Whilst we do want the variety, we can understand the current lacking and remain patient.

We are happy to say though that the developers are constantly looking to expand their content offering, and have announced a few partnerships which should bolster their content offering and allow them to compete directly with the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo. There have also been 3 budget friendly DLC Pack releases with great new content to add to the Assetto Corsa experience.

Checkered Flag

At the end of the day, Assetto Corsa has won us over and is currently in our top 3 favourite racing games on the PC. We love the sounds. We love the Visuals. Assetto Corsa is really great value for money with a plethora of cars and tracks to keep you entertained for hours on end. There are one or two issues which need sorting out, but the developers are constantly working to make the game better, and each new release has been a reflection of that hard work.

Assetto Corsa can be picked up on Steam right now, and is due to be released on consoles soon. We’d recommend purchasing a copy if you’re a true car or motorsports fanatic. You won’t be disappointed.

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