Assetto Corsa Competizione
Assetto Corsa - The Real Racing Simulator?
Racing games are expected to see a growth in their player base within the next couple of days thanks to heavy hitters Gran Turismo and Grid. With Gran Turismo 7 and Grid Legends around the corner, it feels like the perfect time for Kunos Simulazioni to get a piece of the driving pie. The release of the next-gen upgrade for Assetto Corsa Competizione certainly paints this picture, yet the original has always served a specific niche within the genre.
I'll let curious players know this now. The Assetto Corsa series is meant for sports racing fanatics and is not meant for "driving" or even "car" enthusiasts. The intro video shows off everything the player will encounter during their time with Competizione. Packed racing, overtakes, and the occasional wreck is the name of the game. There is no story with witty commentators, no car customization, and no rewind features. Cars behave as close to their real counterparts as possible. Even the presentation is no frills.
For The Undeterred, Assetto Corsa May Have Something To Offer
Competizione, as opposed to the original Assetto Corsa, focuses more on GT championships, specifically the GT3 Challenge. As such, its drivers, cars, and courses all reflect the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Players who purchase the Day One version will receive the 2020 season plus its included cars for that season for free. All it adds is a new season with new races that reflects major events of the season.
This is a major reason why it's difficult for me to recommend Assetto Corsa Competizione as fans of car racing will not be impressed by the lack of courses. Famous European tracks including the Nurburgring GP course, Monsa, and Spa are included yet some of the most famous courses like Suzuka and Laguna Seca are locked behind DLC. That's like having a Street Fighter game and locking Ryu and Ken behind a paywall.
The Car Selection Suffers The Same Fate
From here we reach the territory of other competitive racing games, where the car selection isn't as highlighted as much as the teams themselves. In total there are only 27 cars with half being two or more makes of a different year. This brings the total down to the teens, yet makes up for it by having cars with different liveries and teams. While each team has a different composition and build, at the end of the day, a Huracan is a Huracan.
This isn't as bad as Nascar Ignition where there were only two brands, but don't expect a robust roster like Gran Turismo or Need for Speed. The Gran Turismo team is included in this game, however, which I felt was a nice touch. It made me wonder if the same team was included on other non-Sony platforms. Again, in this game, it's all about competitive racing and playing your favorite teams over your favorite cars.
Remember When I Said "Racing Simulator?"
Well, Competizione cuts no corners in letting its player base knows who leads pole position in competitive racing simulation. In fact, it will punish you for even cutting a corner as warnings and penalties run amuck. While having experience with games like AC and even Project Cars, I knew it would be in my best interest to make the game as lenient as possible for my sake. That's the beauty of Competizione, it lets you play on the easiest difficulty without penalizing you for it.
Once the player feels comfortable with the game's system, only then does it up the ante. Even on its easiest, it's on par with other games' normal difficulty, so keep that in mind. The weather effects are dynamic, with rain showers one lap and the sun breaking the clouds on the next lap. Tire wear, temperature, and overall ability of the cars are affected by these track conditions.
The simulation even goes as far as the game audio, with sounds for the car's chassis and tyres all being separate volume sliders. It's impressive the amount of detail Assetto Corsa Competizione achieves, but this one is strictly for the diehards out there. The curious may settle for the original Assetto Corsa as it runs cheap these days.
The next-gen upgrade for Assetto Corsa Competizione is released on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.