While there aren’t too many racing games on the PlayStation 4 at the moment, there are still some really good ones dominating the console. With the likes of Project Cars and Driveclub which are my personal favourites, DiRT Rally and F1 2016 are adding quality for the racing fans. With Gran Turismo Sport also on the way there is great anticipation for that release. With this in mind where does Assetto Corsa sit in the list of racing games?
Assetto Corsa feels a little more of a simulator than an arcade style racer, which means that straight away there is a steep learning curve when racing. With 90 cars to drive over 15 famous racing tracks there is a lot of variety for the driver and the cars do look good. The problem comes when you start to take a look around the car and at the quality of the circuits and the presentation of the game itself.
When comparing the game to games such as Project Cars and Driveclub the problem here is that it feels a little drab. The onlookers on the track as well as buildings and the scenery are really not to be taken notice of. They are lifeless and have blurry textures making them feel like they are just placed there as an afterthought, which is a fair thing to say when the focus has been put on the physics on the track itself.
In racing games, I like to have fun, I’m not the type who looks to turn off all the assists and to look for a more realistic and tough racing experience. The problem with Assetto Corsa is that the assists that are there are underwhelming and don’t really help. What this forces you to do is to learn quickly how to adapt to the different cars, and how to make some progress in the game. One big problem I found was with the racing line assist.
In many games, even on previous less powerful consoles the best racing line has given an adapting hint as to if you are going too fast for a corner. The idea is that you then brake until the line goes green. In Assetto Corsa the line stays red hinting that this is the breaking area, then another block of the line is greener, hinting to accelerate. It’s a shame that this doesn’t adapt, but it is something that you do learn to live with in time.
While I have sounded negative for most of this review, these are issues you can live with. The fact is, there are elements that will keep you playing. One thing I enjoyed for example is the Time Attack mode where you try to set the best time possible before the time runs out. This can be an interesting style, especially in faster cars, and a good way to collect points. In fact, this is where most fun can be had, while the races themselves (especially in early career mode) can be an unforgivably hard experience.
Assetto Corsa may not be for the more driving fan, but there is still plenty in the game for those looking for a more advanced racing game. I do feel for those with patience, there is a lot to get out of the game if they are willing to give some time to it. With such strong competition already available though and Gran Turismo Sport on the horizon, Assetto Corsa lacks the sparkle that would set it ahead of the pack.
Assetto Corsa is available on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One now.