Assetto Corsa Competizione Review – Sim Racing Refined

Developer Kunos Simulazioni has released their eSport centered racing simulator Assetto Corsa Competizione onto consoles worldwide. We have been putting in track time for over a week and are ready to share our thoughts.

Is the game track-ready or should it be sent back to the pits?

Read on to find out

Developer Kunos Simulazioni has been creating racing simulators since 2006. As a company, they were established in 2005 at the ACI Vallelunga Circuit near Rome, with the goal of developing software for varying needs from solutions for professional racing teams to consumer software. This has translated well into the physics and gameplay for past racing games such as the original Assetto Corsa title released in 2016.

Racing at its Finest

For racing video games, titles fall into two general categories: Arcade and Simulators. Assetto Corsa Competizione clearly falls into the simulation category, and sets the bar in realism in the physics of car handling, tire wear, car damage, and fuel consumption (when those are enabled). You can also use a dynamic driving line to help you and we strongly recommend you start with it tuned on. The line not only changes color as needed, but also has a 3D effect to assist you in throttle control. As the line gets thicker, you need to give more throttle, and vice versa. With enough practice, you should be able to memorize each track, or at least just need a few refresher laps to jog your memory. The game does a great job of allowing you to set the depth of simulation you desire, and you can always adjust it later, as you learn how to better handle each vehicle and how to better handle each track.

The Race Cars

Assetto Corsa Competizione has a decent variety of vehicles to choose from, but their previous title had considerably more. This release focuses on vehicles mainly from the GT World Challenge, and as such you won’t be seeing anything from American manufacturers. There are 24 different vehicles to choose from, though, so it’s not like there isn’t some variety. Names like Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche are represented so there are plenty of power house cars to drive around. It would have been nice to see some other manufacturers represented, though, and maybe they’ll add them in later via DLC. One could hope.

Each car has its own identity, and they handle differently much like in real life. We found that if we stuck to one vehicle, and try it at several different tracks, it led to better and better lap times. We went with the 2019 McLaren 720s GT3 because we loved the acceleration, braking, and overall handling. The 2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 was our second choice. For those that don’t own a racing wheel and decent pedals, you may have a hard time with precision throttle and brake control. We tried the game first with our Dualshock 4 just to see how it handled and then plugged in our Thrustmaster based racing set-up to get down to the business of actual racing. The T150 wheel with the three pedal T3PA add-on coupled with the nifty Wheelstand Pro gave us the ability to better control the car through the many twists and turns of the varying of venues.

The Tracks

Assetto Corsa Competizione focuses on the GT World Challenge so we weren’t too surprised to only find 15 different tracks. These are from the courses used in 2018 and 2019. Not exactly a huge number of tracks, but as with the cars, we can hope more will be added with DLC later on. As in real life, each track has its own unique characteristics and can change based on weather, time, and temperature. From the famous cork screw at Laguna Seca in California, to the 571ft vertical difference of Mount Panorama in Australia, each track requires different set ups and varying techniques. The tracks are recreated using laser scanning, and as per personal experience at Laguna Seca, they did an incredible job.

Each car has set-ups pre-designed for three different settings at each track. There’s a Safe set-up, an Aggressive set-up, and a wet set-up. Each have varying settings which you can alter yourself, or just jump in as-is. The level of realism here, again, sets this game apart from any other racing sim on the console market. You can adjust alignment, suspension, body roll, shock strength for dampening, aerodynamics, brake power, brake bias, and more. The level to which one can deep dive into the settings is as close to real life as we have ever seen on a console.

Career and Championship Modes

Once you feel like you can be competitive enough, you can jump into either Career mode or one of three Championship modes. Championship mode gives you the options of racing the Intercontinental GT Challenge, or the Blancpain GT Series from either 2018 or 2019. In this mode, you can choose which car to race with using either a customized livery or team livery. Career mode will start you out at Monza in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3, needing to get a good lap time in order to determine your skill level. Both modes can be adjusted to be as sim as you want them to be.

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Beautiful Game with Flaws

The original Assetto Corsa game used an in-house gaming engine that was improved over time, but lacked the complexities that the developer desired. Assetto Corsa Competizione switched over to the Unreal Engine 4 for better support for night races and realistic weather conditions. The graphics for the game really are top notch, with only a few exceptions. Cars are replicated beautifully, with spot on curves and eye catching grills. Carbon fiber parts are incredibly detailed, matching up to steel and fiberglass, leaving us with vehicles that almost look like they could drive right out of our 4K TV. The fatal flaw, and weak link comes when you have sponsor stickers and driver names on the car. All that attention to detail that was spent making these cars look gorgeous, is marred by the pixelated stickers that look like they were copied over from an old PS2 game. It’s these little details that make the game look sub-par, even though if you played the game with zero stickers or fancy paint jobs, it’s clearly not.

 

With Assetto Corsa Competizione developer Kunos Simulazioni has created a game that not only sets the bar for other racing simulators, but also leaves room for growth within itself. Their expertise in racing simulation is clearly evident in every aspect of the game.

8


Assetto Corsa Competizione review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS4 Pro using Thrustmaster peripherals. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.