Assetto Corsa’s tag line is “Your Racing Simulator”. And I guess that’s a good description. It does many different things well. You can race against AI or other people; on asphalt or dirt; in vehicles ranging from karts to F1; on world famous tracks or fantasy creations. There’s a huge amount of community content and most of it is free.
Assetto Corsa Competizione is and isn’t the sequel to Assetto Corsa. It is in the sense that it’s the same developers using an improved engine. It isn’t in the sense that it has a very specific goal: it’s branded as “The Official World Challenge GT Game” (it used to be the official simulation of the Blancpain GT3 Series, but the name changed in 2020). Everything in ACC is officially licensed. The cars and tracks are absolutely gorgeous. But they are also limited by what was actually available in the real world. There are no Miatas in ACC because there were no Miatas in the Blancpain GT3 Series. There is also no Mid-Ohio or fill-in-the-blank unless the track was part of the series. It feels very limiting.
The control setup works very well. ACC had no problem detecting my weird array of controllers and I was able to poke a few buttons to set the floor and ceilings the way I like. The overall look and feel was much more like a console game (or PCARS) than the original AC. However, I think the interface in general is good. Not necessarily better, but usable.
There are several difficulty settings to choose among, and they simply turn on/off things like automatic transmission or traction control. I selected “Expert”, which turns everything off. My favorite test track, Brands Hatch, is available, but it uses the full course rather than the Indy configuration. I find it annoying that they don’t have both configurations, but I guess this is what you get when the game is designed to replicate a real-life series where only one version of the track was raced. I didn’t know which of the various GT3 cars to drive, so I went with the one I’ve seen most often in real life: Audi A8.
The physics felt pretty good without any FFB tweaking. I’ve never actually driven a GT3 car, so it’s hard for me to judge that accurately. I changed the weather to rain, and I wasn’t that impressed with the difference. There’s definitely less grip, but it didn’t have the level of surprise/treachery I’m used to in the real world. It did look amazing though.
It may be a little surprising, but I returned ACC before I hit the 2 hour limit. It turns out I don’t like GT3 cars. I don’t like the way they look or sound from the inside. Too hi tech. The cars also have too much grip. That may reflect the real world, but I prefer something that slides around.
There’s a pattern here. Project CARS, DiRT Rally, and Assetto Corsa are all better than their sequels. I hope the same isn’t true for Automobilista 2…