In a world of big-name racing franchises like Forza and Gran Turismo, any newcomer has an uphill battle getting into pole position. That said, it’s doable. 2015’s Project Cars managed to deliver on multiple fronts and found itself amongst the favourites. Now, a PC game with somewhat of a cult following has drifted onto Xbox One and PS4 this month, aiming to shuffle the pack and cause some disruptions; but is Assetto Corsa a racing experience you should take note of?
While Assetto Corsa may sounds more like a fancy Italian dish than a racing game, the reality is that it’s one of the most robust simulators around, but one not without its faults.
There are over 20 car manufacturers to choose from, but the number of cars from each is limited, with different versions of the same car making up the count. Likewise, there are 26 different track variations included, but many of these are the same courses with slightly different layouts – or are simply reversed. On a good note, the tracks are well designed, with little bumps and dips included to add some variety to the driving lines.
But where other racers might dazzle with their numbers, Assetto Corsa aims to deliver solely on the track. There isn’t the overwhelming embarrassment of riches that something like Gran Turismo offers, but the cars that do feature are well-crafted, optimised accordingly, and individually tailored. Every car feels and sounds entirely different from the last, lending a unique identity to each.
The cars themselves look absolutely stunning, and are meticulously modelled after their real-life counterparts. Watching them speed and screech around the tracks is great, but the tracks themselves don’t do any justice. Buildings, trees, and onlookers by the side of the road aren’t well modelled and look a bit out of place amongst the speeding parade of vehicle-porn.
This leaves a bit of a dichotomy for Assetto Corsa. On one side, it’s an accomplished racing sim that will offer a tough but rewarding learning curve for those looking to test their driving skills, and on the other side it’s an unpolished drive through an arguably last-gen vista. Aside from its enjoyable career mode and online component, Assetto Corsa offers some interesting ideas and driving tweaks often overlooked in other games, but it doesn’t have the visual horsepower to back it up.
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