It’s been a little while since I reviewed Assetto Corsa. The number of vehicles in the game from the outset is staggering and it’s an amazing simulator. Kunos Simulazoni and 505 Games have since released three new DLC vehicle packs for the petrol heads among us. Here are the details.
The Japanese Pack will introduce seven new cars in a total of twelve versions. These are spread across different classes, types and ages.
Mazda MX-5 2015
Mazda MX-5 CUP
Mazda RX-7 Spirit R + tuned version
Toyota Supra MK IV + time attack and drift version
Toyota AE86 Trueno + tuned and drift verson
Nissan 370Z NISMO 2016
Nissan GT-R R34 Skyline V-Spec
The Prestige Pack appeals to tastes of those who like the finer things in life, including some high-octane powered supercars. Nine new vehicles are included in this pack.
Ferrari 488 GTB
Audi R8 V10 Plus
Corvette C7 Stingray
Ford Mustang 2015
Lamborghini Gallardo SuperLeggera
Nissan GR-T NISMO 2014
Audi A1 S1
BMW M4 Coupe
Now, the eagle-eyed among us may have noticed that there are some vehicles included in the Prestige Pack that were offered as a Pre-Order incentive. Fear not, brave Pre-Orderers, you can still obtain the rest of the Prestige content, by purchasing the Performance Upgrade Pack.
I’ve played racing games for as long as I’ve had a suitable platform to play them on. From Out Run to Gran Turismo, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge to TOCA, they’ve all held a fascination and dragged out my desire to win at all costs. To call Kunos Simulazioni’s Assetto Corsa a racer is a little inaccurate. To compare it to the adrenaline rush of other racers is a touch unfair, but really, in all honesty, there’s nothing else that I can compare it to.
The first thing you should notice about Assetto Corsa is that it looks stunning. The colours are bright and vibrant and the cars themselves all have that showroom spit and polish that you come to expect from racers of today. This isn’t to say that they can’t get down and dirty on the track though and they do, but I’ll move on from this as I’ve a few issues with the damage dished out to the cars.
After a short intro, you’re presented with a simple-looking menu with three raceday options, Special Events, Career and the mysterious Drive option. In truth, its not so mysterious. This is simply the quickplay option that contains a shortcut to the main types of play modes available in the Special Events section. I’m going to put this right out there from the start, this is a simulation. If you have a full wheel and pedal setup, use it. You’ll get a much more positive and rewarding experience.
OK, so, this is a full on simulation. Let’s get that right out there. The game is not a racer in the traditional sense that Forza or the F1 franchise is. There are so many settings that you can tweak when you’ve picked a car and a track and the usual track temperature, weather, ride height, tyres, tyre pressures, fuel load and a multitude of other settings. It’s a little bit daunting at first, but if you’re patient then you can find the exact setup that will suit your driving style.
Onto the racing then. Assetto Corsa has a huge list of available cars. Mercedes, BMW, Abarth, Audi, Ferrari to name but a few, you can find a full list of available cars, here, although some of the vehicles on release are download only and some were not available, even in the store. There are also a large number of tracks, from racer mainstays like Silverstone, Nordschleife, Brands Hatch and Spa, to lesser used tracks like Black Cat County. More info on the tracks can be found here.
Jump into the game and the first thing that hits you is the detail of the car. They’re beautiful to behold. The tracks are also detailed to the max. The one thing that bothers me about the environment was the lack of rain in the weather options. On a track like Silverstone, its very rare that you’ll get a full race weekend without a few showers at least. Getting to grips with your vehicle is the hardest thing about the game. This in itself is one of the most disappointing aspects of the title. I know it’s a simulation, and believe me, I have to keep telling myself that as I play it, but there are aspects to Assetto Corsa that simply don’t make any sense to me.
Touch the grass at high speed and you’re very likely to slide into the gravel. Kiss one of the sausage kerbs and you can kiss goodbye to a tyre. Touch one of the AI during a race and they’re likely to be fairly unaffected, you on the other hand may find yourself spinning into the barriers. Its all just a bit unforgiving, even if it is glorious to behold. The in-race camera is also a little on the drifty side in third-person view. The racing side of Assetto Corsa feels like it’s been tacked on to what is an astonishingly technical simulation. This is a massive shame.
As a simulator, the game is fantastic. You want to get involved in the bumper to bumper action on the track though, and this is where the game is let down. The AI settings can be dropped a couple of notches but even on the easiest of these settings the computer racers are bullies. They also appear to have the ability to simply power away from your seemingly bogged down charger. You’ll need a lot of practice to get used to the way each car handles and the way the cars chop and change from event to event do not help this. The various Event modes do mix the fun up a little, although trying to get a ton of BMWs to drift round a short drift track is pretty frustrating. Something else that you might find yourself tearing your hair out at, is the Hot Lap mode.
This mode, while fun, is massively unforgiving when it comes to the track limits. Basically, in this mode, if its tarmac, you should be OK. Have a mm of rubber on the grass or heaven forbid, flick a single gravel stone and it invalidates the lap time. Slip one corner, no matter where on the lap, and all of your hard work is scrubbed. People will say that this is true to real life, but if you think about it, it really isn’t. The frustration factor gets higher in a Race. Touch an opponent and you’ll spin with absolutely no chance of catching the pack. Mis-time your braking zone and you’ll be left eating dust. It simply doesn’t feel like a level playing field.
The car on track also doesn’t feel connected to the tarmac. The way the vehicle travels across the tarmac, to me, felt like it was floating slightly above it. As the tracks pitch and yaw the car around, while in chase camera view, it also seemed as if the car was pinned in a particular axis through the centre of the graphic. The end result makes it feel like you’re spinning something attached to a pole.
That being said, the sound that the cars make as you over-rev and slide round track corners is impressive. Each vehicle has a life-accurate engine roar and even tyre rumble and wind rush has been thought of. The in-game menu music is not too intrusive either. All-in-all not an unpleasant experience. The cars are pretty responsive to your frantic stick-twitching too. The issues I have with Assetto Corsa could be far outweighed by the sheer technical detail that Kunos have packed into the game. Sadly, for most gamers, the racing experience of games like Project CARS and Forza will have spoiled the type of racing that Assetto Corsa can currently offer.
All in all, Assetto Corsa is a spectacular, if flawed racing simulator. The visuals and audio are both ultra-accurate. The many tracks that are available are all laser scanned for pinpoint accuracy and you have a massive array of technical settings to play around with if you so desire, to get the most from your driving style, the conditions and the track itself. There are some flaws in this though. Not nearly as much detail has been poured into the wheel-to-wheel racing. What should be the meat and drink of the game is turned into a frustrating tag along at the back of the grid thanks to some poor AI difficulty ramps and some pretty unforgiving physics. The Hot Lap and Drift modes, while fun, also verge on the level of impossible thanks to over-zealous track limits and heavy car settings. If you love racing simulators, then by all means, purchase the game, but make sure, to get the maximum enjoyment from it, that you have a decent wheel and pedal setup otherwise it’s just a frustrating grind.
Thanks to Xbox and Kunos Simulazioni for supporting TiX
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. 505 Games and Kunos Simulazioni have finally announced when you could getting your leather driving-glove clad hands on the stunning-looking Assetto Corsa.
The racing title will feature over 90 high performance cars including Pagani, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. All of these will be battling to win over 27 different track configurations at such places like Silverstone and the Nurburgring.
The game will also feature single and multiplayer modes with customisable race weekends, preset challenges or a full-on career.
So when will you be able to get your racing head on for Assetto Corsa? The game is having a few dents pulled and a final wax and polish applied to the paintwork and should be ship-shape and showroom ready for a 3rd of June European release and a 7th of June North American release, a few weeks on from the initial April released mentioned below.
As usual, we’ll keep you posted if this changes further.
Kunos Simulazioni. Before Assetto Corsa was revealed by publisher 505 Games, I’d never heard of them. Judging by the screenshots that are coming out from the developer, you’ll be hearing a lot more from them very soon I’d imagine.
Today, Kunos has revealed the pack star for the retail edition of Assetto Corsa and petrol heads won’t be disappointed. Featuring on the cover will be Ferrari’s hybrid monster, the revolutionary track-ready FFX-K supercar, and stunning it looks too.
Heading for lights out and go, go, go, on the 22nd of April, Assetto Corsa will feature over 90 high-performance vehicles including the Pagani Zonda R, the Ferrari LaFerrari, Mercedes C9 and the McLaren 650S GT3. You’ll be able to race these around over 20 different track configurations, including Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and the Nurburgring.
With single and multiplayer racing and customisable race weekends, Assetto Corsa may finally be that new player in the field that can challenge the likes of Forza and Project CARS.
Assetto Corsa is due to release on the 22nd of April. I can’t wait.
505 Games have revealed a new arcade racing simulator, released to critical acclaim for it’s excellent handling model on PC, Assetto Corsa will be coming to Xbox One in 2016.
The game will draw upon the PC version’s 20+ track configurations and over 100 high performance vehicles, including the Maclaren P1 and is already drawing comparisons with the likes of Project Cars.
What might be different to the PC version? Well, how about a laser-scanned full version of Nordschleife. Those of us in the know, or who can slam that in a search engine fast enough, can tell you, this is the 14.173 miles North Loop of the Nurburgring. Boy racers will be shaking in their Recaro seats already.
It’s heading to the Xbox One next year then and here’s the trailer, for your total delight.