I recently upgraded my racing/gaming computer. For some stupid reason, I still had a spindle on the main drive. With all of the programs/services running in the background these days, it’s pretty terrible if you don’t have an SSD. I decided to do a clean install of Windows and all the rest of my software. I’ve had a lot of racing games in my library over the last year including Assetto Corsa, Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally, DiRT Rally 2.0, GTR 2, iRacing, Project CARS, Project CARS 2, RaceRoom Racing Experience, rFactor, and rFactor 2.
Out of all that software, I only installed Assetto Corsa and DiRT Rally. Let me explain why I didn’t bother installing anything else.
- Assetto Corsa Competizione is focused on a single racing series that I don’t give a shit about. I like older, analog cars without nannies. I also like racing on tracks I visit in real life.
- Automobilista does not have nearly as many cars or tracks as Assetto Corsa. That said, if AC didn’t exist, I think AMS would be my main sim.
- Automobilista 2 doesn’t have any modding and the control configuration is wonky.
- DiRT Rally 2.0 isn’t as good as the original.
- GTR 2 is too damn old and the handling is weird.
- iRacing requires a monthly subscription, and I’m not willing to pay that right now.
- Project CARS is nice to look at and the driving is mostly ok. But it doesn’t do anything better than AC.
- Project CARS 2 is even nicer to look at but the driving is mostly not ok. Why are sequels so often worse than the original?
- RaceRoom Racing Experience doesn’t have any modding and the microtransactions are annoying.
- rFactor is good for nostalgic reasons, but it looks a bit too old for my tastes.
- rFactor 2 recently upgraded their interface and completely broke the game for many users (like me). Also, the GUI sucks, so congrats on making unprovements. The studio announced that it was being acquired by another company. I don’t know if that’s good news or not.
One upside to having only 2 platforms is that I only had to configure my controls twice. Both AC and DR have really intuitive config tools, so I was able to get everything set up in a matter of minutes.
Assetto Corsa and DiRT Rally were released in 2014 and 2015. These are so old that you can pick them up on sale for a few dollars, and sometimes even for free. It’s sort of shocking that nobody has really improved on these despite several attempts. In some ways, that’s good news. People who are new to sim racing can pick up a cheap used computer and still have a serviceable system. A decent wheel (Thrustmaster, not Logitech) and load cell pedal set will set you back $600-1000 though. Considering how much everything else costs in the racing world (e.g. I just spent $700 on tires), sim racing is dirt cheap in comparison.