Assetto Corsa is a title for which I’ve been waiting a very long time. After being disappointed by rather lacklustre Project Cars, I simply couldn’t wait to put my hands on a true racing simulator. And after numerous delays, which have taken place over the course of the past few months, I’ve finally had a chance to experience it firsthand. And as a ”hardcore” racing simulator, Assetto Corsa is outstanding.

The driving model in Assetto Corsa is as real as it gets; even inclusion of all the available assists, doesn’t take away from the experience. ABS, traction control, and tire blankets, all make racing more approachable, however, inexperienced drivers will still feel alienated. In-game assists make certain aspects of the title more controllable, but ultimately they do not take away from the simulation aspect of Assetto Corsa. And such state of affairs may ultimately put some players off, as not everybody can handle a hardcore racing sim, ”straight off the line”.

Approachability in most cases is the coin which tips the scale; it determines who ultimately purchases the title, and who doesn’t. And once some individuals are informed that Assetto Corsa is a much more difficult title than Forza or Gran Turismo, they may decide to stay away from it. But by doing so, they’ll make one of the biggest mistakes they could possibly do.

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Assetto Corsa, unlike other racing sims, doesn’t allow one to turn it into an arcade racer, and the only thing it allows one to do, is tame it. The inability to turn on assisted braking, or other assists alike, forces players to not only learn how to play the title properly, but to develop their own driving style, and there are not many games that will make one do that.

Throughout the duration of the in-game campaign, players will compete in quick races, time attacks, and special events. Each and every single one of the available events will pressure the player into learning new techniques, and adapt to ever changing situations. The diversity in events, which persists through the title, is astounding, as it allows one to constantly develop, but it never lets one get comfortable.

Some could argue that after having a go at each type of the available events, one can develop a general understanding of the driving mechanics, and has to no longer learn. But in reality, Assetto Corsa becomes more difficult with each and every race, as majority of the in game events, forces the player to use a brand new car. And at this point, everything one has learned through the past 30 minutes to an hour, goes out the window, as no two vehicles control in the same way. Players who’ll want to master it will have a lot of learning to do, as Assetto Corsa contains over 90 vehicles.

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All in game vehicles have been meticulously recreated to ensure that the realism is at its optimal level. From cup holders, through vent sliders, to individual diodes in the headlights, everything has been formed in an image of real vehicles. The level of detail is truly impressive, and there will surely be some who will spend hours just by looking at them. However, as detailed as all the vehicles are, they are still not as impressive as some of the cars that players had a pleasure to drive in Driveclub or Forza Motorsport 6.

All the graphical imperfections come to the light of day, the more the title is exposed to one’s eyes. And after hours, which most will spend with Assetto Corsa, flaws such as inconsistent lighting effects on the body work, or low resolution images used throughout the menus, will become jarring, as they clash with other, high quality aspects of the title.

Varying visual fidelity, may be rooted within the fact that Assetto Corsa was initially released back in 2014, and has simply aged since then. Or perhaps in the fact that it was developed by a team of around 20 individuals. But nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that such takes a lot away from the overall experience and the lethargically dull career mode which takes the centre stage, doesn’t help the title either.

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Over the years Gran Turismo was built upon its iconic career mode. A career which allowed players to truly experience the thrill of being a semi-professional driver. It took players from the lows of competing in the Sunday leagues while driving a Daihatsu, all the way to the 24 Le Mans race with the high end LMP1 vehicles. It was a success story, which has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, as players had to progress in terms of finances, and skill. Some would spend hours modifying their cars hoping that this time they’ll make it, whereas others would simply grind in order to afford the car which would ultimately lead them to glory. But regardless of the approach, both types of players would make it. And unfortunately this doesn’t happen in Assetto Corsa.

Assetto Corsa‘s campaign boils down to competing in predetermined races, with predetermined cars. And while not having to buy a specific car, for specific events will make some players happy, as simplicity breeds progress, it ultimately is counterproductive. Within hours the career becomes stale, and leads one to lose interest, and the second it happens, it becomes an afterthought. It becomes another brick in a wall, or a box in the menu, as most will simply jump into a quick race where they can pick whichever car they want, against fair opposition, and with equally good AI bots.

In a way, Assetto Corsa’s quality resembles popularity of Pokémon GO. Its hardcore nature makes it a gem like no other, and plants a seed of addiction within players’ minds, a seed which is slowly growing as the player goes on. But as it grows it withers, and more one is exposed to Assetto Corsa, the lesser is his/her interest in the title, as the questionable quality, and drab career eclipse the mechanical excellence, subsequently making it non-essential for the average consumer.


Disclaimer: The following review of Assetto Corsa has been written prior to the release of the day one patch (24th of August 2016). It has been written as is, and the final product may differ in terms of UI, special events, and multiplayer once it hits store shelves on the 26th of August, 2016.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.