Have you ever played Need for Speed, Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport and felt like the experience just wasn’t realistic and perhaps a bit too arcade-like?
If so, Assetto Corsa is probably the racing game for you. This clinical, no-frills racing game was designed for the racing enthusiast who is looking for an immersive, realistic driving game that works well with their force feedback steering wheel and pedal set. When we say no-frills, we mean it. There’s a career mode with a progression ladder to climb, but there’s no real rewards system and it doesn’t entice the playing to keep playing with goals to meet or unlocks. The AI is a bit dimwitted, and there’s not a whole lot of included vehicles and real-world tracks. Progressing through the career ladder is a bit of a slog, if we’re honest. This is a game for the person who wants to shave seconds off their lap times, hone their driving skills and be significantly challenged while they’re doing it. Period.
Some have described Assetto Corsa as a hot lap simulator due to the AI’s erratic behavior and lack of spatial awareness, and this is mostly true. If you’re playing offline, this game is best enjoyed driving in single player mode around an empty track as you try to improve your driving technique. This may sound boring, but for sim racers – it’s far from it. The game’s developer, Kunos Simlazioni, has developed some amazing driving dynamics for the game. You can feel the tire sidewall flex through your force feedback wheel and the turn-in response feels direct and realistic. It’s definitely a challenging game, but when you can get it right, driving feels oh so good. It’s potentially the best driving feel of any game available for PS4 and Xbox – better than even the highly rated Project Cars 2.
Another strong point of Assetto Corsa, apart from the satisfying driving experience, are the nicely rendered tracks and backgrounds. The recreations of real-world tracks not only feel accurate when you drive them, but look great doing so. The vehicle noises are also good, but are perhaps not as strong as those in Forza Motorsport 7 or Project Cars 2. They are certainly nicer to listen to than the vacuum cleaner like noises featured in Gran Turismo Sport, however.
As for the online experience, it’s much stronger on PC, where sim racers flock to the title thanks to the aforementioned driving dynamics. On PC you’ll find an abundance of players who are ready to race, but player participation is a bit lacking on console, in our experience. Another strong point of Assetto Corsa on PC is the seemingly unlimited amount of community created mods for it. There are so many high quality, player-made add-ons for AC that you don’t even have to tap into the downloadable content, which, for what it’s worth, is comprehensive, feature great cars and tracks and is reasonably priced. Our favorite bit of DLC is the Ferrari 70th Anniversary Pack, which includes the 2017-spec Ferrari SF70H F1 car. If you can keep it under control, it’s a wonderfully satisfying car to drive.
Speaking of the cars, Assetto Corsa features a good mix of GT cars, like the Mercedes-AMG GT3, for example, along with F1 cars, vintage race cars, modern and vintage road cars and many, many more. The track mix is good as well, but we’d prefer a greater abundance of real-world locations. There are still some iconic circuits to drive, though, such as Monza, the Nurburgring and the Red Bull Ring.
Q & A
Our Final Verdict
Asetto Corsa is a hardcore driving simulator with a wonderfully satisfying driving dynamics system that you must experience if you own a racing simulator wheel and pedal set for your PC, PS4 or Xbox.
If you prefer a game with an immersive career mode, a car customization system and a wide breadth of tracks, cars and challenges to complete, you’re probably best left buying a game from the Gran Turismo series or Forza Motorsport series. But if that’s you and you at least own a wheel, we implore you to give Assetto Corsa a shot. It’s great fun to turn hot laps with, is inexpensive to buy and features a ton of inexpensive DLC. And if you play on PC, the game is worth it for the active community and free player-made mods alone.
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|Single Player Experience||5.0|