Early Access Review
Review Update - Assetto Corsa V.08
Short version: I highly recommend bying AC. Although right now it is not a finished game, but still a game in early acces (~beta) and key fetures like MP are not enabled yet.
But what you get right now, is well worth the money and one of teh best racing sims out there.
What the heck is Assetto Corsa?
AC is the work of a small Italian independent Studio: Kunos Simulazione, in sim racing circles around the world known for Net Kar Pro, held in highest regards due to its driving/physic engine and tyre model. Never heard of it? - Just like me. I was happy with the likes of GT 5/6 and Forza, never cared for what was going on on pc and didn't know what I was missing.
Anyhow, Assetto Corsa is a pc racing simulator that tries not only to appeal to its own core audience of pc sim racers, but is aimed at console players too. Assetto Corsa builds up on the predecessor Net Kar Pro, and if successfu,l will see updates, DLC and additional features for years.
Assetto Corsa - What makes it special?
IFUN! - Yes Fun, becausedriving is as much fun in the game as it is in real live. AC is a simulator which gets and provides exactly that.Unlike a lot of otherr sims AC is very accessible, easy to get into but hard to master.
The Driving Experience in AC: Just take a seat in the 1st car you like and start driving (my 1st love: BMW E30 DTM@Mugello) - Within the first round I had a big smile on my face, never before had I experienced such a great feedback and immersion with a Racing Game. - with a pad none the less The cars are alive and responsive, you really feel weight transfer, the tyres, and every part of the track - imho neither the GT Series, nor the Forza titles or the Sim Bin games I tried on pc come even close.
AC's driving/physics and tyre model is exquisit and unique in its way of easing you into it and letting you explore its depths. If you are looking for something in a racing game that is more detailed and refined than what you already know, then Assetto Corsa is without a doubt the right choice for you.
Great improvement with Pad support in the latest update, no issues anymire.Though every Sim Racer will tell you, that you have to buy a wheel to enjoy this game that isn't true at all. To this day I'm driving with a pad and have put 100+hours into AC with a XBox360 Controller and had more fun than I ever had with GT 5 or Forza or any other racing game - i.e. most of the pc simulators sounded like work to me till AC came around. I don't own a 3 Monitor setup, Racing Seat, wheel etc. - just a decent pc which allows me to play on high settings. So you can have fun and lots of it, and the driving experience is still a lot better than GT/Forza.
Amount/Quality of content
Kunos got their hands on some 1st rate licenses, among them Mercedes (not yet in game), Lotus, BMW and Ferrari and more. AC focuses on GT2/GT3 cars and open wheelers like the "almost F1" Lotus Exos S1 and the awesome old "Lauda" Ferrari . But more cars are to come, historicals F1, and much more.
Every car is beautifully modelled and whileForza and expecially GT feature hundreds of beautiful cars from all ends of the spectrum, Kunos is not an industry giant like them and can't ever compete with that amount of original content. But the car selection is still more than decent, all the tracks in AC are laser scanned and the variety is great - i.e.the Nurburgring GP track and it feels and plays awesome!
But here is the main thing: Assetto Corsa is moddable, that means fans are invited to produce and create tracks, cars, skins, Apps and much more - easy to install and a superb enrichment to AC. Just take a look at the beautiful skins or useful apps in the community videos - absolutely amazing, the creators deserve much praise. A big thank you to all the modders and unsung heroes out there!
Very good, but not the very best (upcoming Project Cars) and the performance depends as always mostly on your GPU. I use a Palit Geforce 770 4GB and play it with high settings. But this game is as you know by now not finished yet and will see a lot of improvements on quality and performace - and some of it has already been done. A low level pc with onboard grafix won't do, but with a high end system you can easily play on resolutions beyond 1920*1080.
Sound is above average and good, but is lacking punch in some cars and will improve with future updates. For those who can't wait for that, there are of course already some sound mods out there.
Conclusion - Enough of the rambling rave - be part of Early Access!
There are a lot of things that are not perfect in AC yet, and some that are even quite frustrating at the moment. Some issues like setting up and finetuning controllers have been fixed and teh latest update saw the AI behaviour extremely improves. Almost all the frustrating and unfair behaviour are gone, most races are really great fun now with clean racing. The new AI is certainly among the best out there: they really race, they do not drive in a straight line behind each other and bore you to death. They actually give the very immersive impression that they want to beat you, they overtake you and each other, they make mistakes, defend their racing line and so on. With Update 08 most if not all of the terrible AI behaviour is gone anf there are only minor problems left.
I can't stress enough how impressive the work of the small KUnos team really is. They kept word on every promise they made, gave or announced additional free contet and their updates are coming every 2 weeks - V08 is definitely a hughe step toward a final release version.
The full version of Assetto Corsa game is epected to be released within the next 2-4 months, and the complete content will be available then. That includes Multiplayer, Career mode and certain cars/tracks etc. Till then you get updates every 14 days, which include bugfixes, new features or new content. Until now Kunos stayed true to their word and kept the good things coming.
To me this a must-by for everybody who likes to play racings games on whatever system or plattform. If you want the full time hard core simulation immersion - AC delivers just that, but if you just want to have fun driving or racing without a hassle, just pic a car, and AC delivers just that too.
And while it certainly isn't perfect and unpolished in some areas, it is very stable and relativeley bugfree (2 crashes during 150+ hours of play).
Of course there is much to be done, bugs to be fixed, Controller, grafic performance optimization, adding features like Multiplayer etc. - but I really feel by now that Kunos deserves trust.I will update this review when and if essential features are added and the final version is released.