“Assetto Corsa Competizione” – PS4 and Xbox One review

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When Italian developers Kunos Simulazioni released Assetto Corsa for PC in 2014, they quickly attracted a healthy community of racers and modders and carved out a niche among a plethora of sim racing titles.

While lacking the presentation levels of the bigger budget games on the market, Assetto Corsa’s driving physics received praise from veteran simracers and even real-world drivers.

Kunos refined their simulation mechanics and released Assetto Corsa Competizione for PC last year. Now, console players finally have the chance to get behind the wheel of what could well be the most realistic racing simulator ever brought to PlayStation and Xbox platforms.

So how successfully has the transition to current-gen consoles been made? First, a word of caution. On console, Assetto Corsa Competizione has performance issues that can, at the worst instances, significantly affect your ability to play the game.

In terms of frame rates, Assetto Corsa Competizione runs at far fewer frames per second than its peers like Forza, Gran Turismo Sport, Project CARS or even Codemasters’ F1 series. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if the lower frame rate was locked at a consistent rate, but on the base PlayStation 4 that RaceFans reviewed Assetto Corsa Competizione on, the frame rate varied noticeably even while lapping circuits alone in practice mode.

‘Assetto’ has finally arrived for consoles
Also, when it comes to the enhanced consoles of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, frame rates are closer to 30fps than 60fps, which will be disappointing to owners who may have invested in the upgraded hardware exactly for this kind of game.

Across a number of online forums, Assetto Corsa Competizione console players report varying levels of consistency in how smoothly the game runs for them, so it may simply be a case that your mileage may vary in how the game runs for you.

In the worst example RaceFans experienced while reviewing the game, an attempt to run a simulated Spa 24 Hours over an hour-long race had to be abandoned as the frame rate fell to simply unplayable levels while approaching Eau Rouge lap after lap. In fairness to Kunos, this particular instance does seem like an outlier compared to other reviewers and players’ experiences with the game, but that doesn’t change the fact that it affected our ability to play the game as intended.

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A patch is planned to address some glitches
Kunos have confirmed they are working on patches for the game to improve its performance on consoles, so the situation should improve down the line. However, the fact that a game can be released for £34.99 with these kinds of performance issues possible is certainly a major concern. If you’re considering buying the game during this launch period, it’s important that you’re aware of these potential pitfalls and decide what’s right for you.

With that said, let’s focus more on the qualities of Assetto Corsa Competizione as a racing game and, more importantly, as a simulation.

Rather than the mishmash of circuits and cars of the original Assetto Corsa, Kunos opted for a far more focused approach to Assetto Corsa Competizione.

The game only simulates the SRO-promoted GT3 racing series of the GT World Challenge. All cars and circuits from both the 2018 and 2019 seasons are present, with various models of GT3 cars from the Bentley Continental, Ferrari 488, Honda NSX and more to race with around tracks such as Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Misano and Zandvoort.

This laser-focus on a single form of racing is to the game’s benefit, as it has allowed Kunos to make arguably the most impressive virtual representation of authentic GT3 racing we’ve seen in simracing. As possibly the most successful category of motorsport of the 2010s, GT3 cars offer a fantastically fun challenge that are easier to get to grips with than, say, Formula 1 or prototype Le Mans cars, but require a lot of practice to get the very best out of.

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But what of the highly-lauded physics? Is the handling model really worth the price of admission?

The game’s handling is a joy
You truly can feel the difference in Assetto Corsa Competizione. Much like the step in graphical quality from standard-definition to high-def, the physics in Assetto Corsa Competizione provide a degree and clarity of feedback that is simply unmatched by anything on console.

We all know that motorsport is about precision, subtlety and driving that fine line on the edge of control and no other racing game demonstrates that as vividly as Assetto Corsa Competizione.

Driving those first laps in the game is reminiscent of your first time karting. You quickly develop a sense for the grip levels of the tyres. It’s communicated well, especially through a decent force-feedback steering wheel. It feels like pulling a rubber band – demand too much too quickly and things will snap, but if you’re smooth and gradual, you can often lean more on the tyres than you’d think.

If you’re willing to invest time into it, Assetto Corsa Competizione really will make you a better driver – and not just in terms of pure lap time. There’s a heavy emphasis on driving consistently in the game. You’re constantly told to ‘drive to your pace’ and are actively rewarded for being smooth and disciplined.

At all times, the game is assessing your driving and rating you using a numbered system in areas such as car control, track competence, consistency, racecraft and safety. The more you drive, the more rating areas you’ll unlock. It all adds up to give you an overall driver classification, identical to the same system the FIA use for real world GT racers. You start off as a Bronze category driver, but with discipline and speed, you can ultimately aim to earn Platinum status.

It means you have to drive like this is a real car, with real consequences for making mistakes and crashing every single time you get behind the wheel. If it sounds like Assetto Corsa Competizione is taking itself seriously, it is. This unapologetic approach to realism is what sets this game apart from others on console and means the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. In a smart move, you can always ‘pause’ the assessment system if you want to let a friend have a go or if you want to just thrash about.

Even getting things wrong feels so much more realistic. There’s a violence to collisions, bouncing over kerbs and running onto the grass that just feels so much more like you’re driving a real, fragile racing car than most other games. After accidentally putting two wheels on the grass on the run to Stirling’s Bend at Brands Hatch and careening straight into the barrier, it’s striking how even crashing in Assetto Corsa Competizione feels authentic.

Even crashing feels authentic
With the actual driving experience the key focus of Assetto Corsa Competizione, the game isn’t exactly dripping with features and game modes compared to other racing games. You can set a fully customised race weekend from a short 20 sprint to a full 24 hour endurance, take part in free practice test sessions, drive in ‘hot stint’ challenges to train consistency and more. You can pick a licensed car to compete in either the 2018 or 2019 GT World Challenge seasons, or you can drive as yourself in career mode.

The career mode takes an interesting approach to evaluating your skills in a series of tests before putting you into the championship with the AI level set depending on how you perform in these tests. It sounds like a good way to acclimatise you for the mode, but it doesn’t always work in practice. After dominating the first two races from pole by a ridiculous margin, there was no way to change the AI difficulty for the subsequent race weekends. It’s good that there is a career mode in the game, but don’t be surprised if you spend most of your time setting up your own individual race events instead.

Multiplayer is where a lot of players will be investing in Assetto Corsa Competizione for and Kunos take a boldly discinplined approach to racing online. You are forbidden from competing online without first earning a minimal safety rating offline. It sounds harsh, but it shows how seriously Kunos expects players to take racing online. You should hopefully find far fewer ‘rammers’ and better overall sportsmanship with Assetto Corsa Competizione than other racing games.

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When it comes to presentation, aside from the matter of performance, Assetto Corsa Competizione lacks the polish of other racing titles. The on screen HUD isn’t as sharp or attractive as F1 2019 or Gran Turismo Sport, but there is a clear emphasis on function over form, which does ultimately suit what Assetto Corsa Competizione is trying to achieve.

There’s plenty here to keep GT racing fans happy
From live tyre pressures and temperatures, a live timing timer, session information, race control information and even more data available from the onboard monitors of the cars themselves, there is a wealth of information at your demand. Perhaps the most valuable guide is the radar that sits slap in the middle of the screen and gives you an exact idea of how close you are to your rivals. With no VR or multi-screen options for console players, this becomes a valuable tool for keeping that safety rating up and it would be good to see other racing games adopt it too.

As a port of a PC game, the menu system isn’t at all optimised for navigating with a controller. It’s not unusable by any means, but it can be easy to get lost trying to find the right option at first.

While the car and track models themselves are definitely pretty and look great in replays, there’s an overall lack of style in the game compared to F1 2020 or GT Sport, especially when it comes to pre-race and podium presentations – although, of course, that’s not really what Assetto Corsa Competizione is aiming for.

You can make a series of customised cars for you to drive using a fairly basic livery editor that comes included with the game. Again, it’s nothing compared to GT Sport or Forza, but considering Kunos could’ve simply not bothered to include one, it’s certainly welcome to have.

It’s not an entirely successful port, but has its qualities
Ultimately, Assetto Corsa Competizione does its job as a proof-of-concept for simracing on consoles fairly well – even if it can feel like playing a game on the bare minimum recommended specs at times.

With a pack of DLC tracks expanding the circuit roster to Mount Panorama, Laguna Seca, Suzuka and Kyalami, GT4 DLC on the way and inevitable patches to help improve the game’s performance, it really does feel like Assetto Corsa Competizione is a game that will only improve over time.

Despite some technical quirks, Assetto Corsa Competizione shows that ‘hardcore’ simracing is possible on consoles and, hopefully, will show that an audience is there for it too. It is sincerely hoped that this isn’t the last time Kunos opt to port one of their games over to some of gaming’s most popular platforms.

RaceFans rating

Rating three out of five

Assetto Corsa Competizione – PS4 and Xbox One

Author: Kunos
Publisher: 505 Games
Published: 2020
Price: £34.99

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 17 comments on ““Assetto Corsa Competizione” – PS4 and Xbox One review”

    1. They should have waited for the next-gen consoles to come out, won’t be long now

      1. @pastaman I don’t think they should release a console-version at all, as that can lead to people falsely viewing consoles as a viable platform, and it drains resources from further developing the game itself.

        1. @crammond consoles are not viable platforms?

          I play the original Assetto Corsa on PS and have a good time. Don’t get your point.

          1. @m-bagattini

            You can always have a better PC for the prize of a console, or an equally performing PC for cheaper. Then you do not have to deal with subscription services, a single shop, the very limited scope of what you can do with a console or the non-upgradability of the hardware. Consoles haven’t been a good decision to buy for two decades now. Which obvioulsy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them, overprized mediocre pizza is still pizza.

            1. I work on different PCs and OSs and I know the issues they can have. On the other hand, I know that I was able to play within a minute every time I turned on my PS or Xbox before. I don’t need multiple stores, I don’t subscribe to anything; I have very limited time to play and want to get the most out of it. Mediocre depends on what metric you’re checking: graphics? Absolutely. Reliability? Easiness? Meh

            2. @crammond Not necessarily true. The specs of the PS5 outperforms almost every PC on equivalent prices. PCs tend to cost a lot more than consoles. But that’s not even really relevant. But why not let people play whatever they please? I don’t understand this whole “we are superior than you” mindset that a lot of PC players have. Just leave it. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but it is entirely possible to see a comment about console gaming without having to deride the commenter about how superior you are to them. If someone prefers the “mediocre” pizza to a “great” one, then guess what? That pizza is not “mediocre” in their eyes. Only in yours.

      2. Derick Steelman
        30th June 2020, 23:44

        I have it on the PS4 and if there is a worse driving game out there for this platform I haven’t played it.
        I have them all from the very first Gran Turismo to iRacing & Raceroom & just about every other racing game ever released & this Assetto Corsa Competizione game is pathetic.
        How can a 2020 so called Sim racer not allow you to change the controller configurations?
        On the PS4 controller you can only change the gear shift buttons & nothing else, what a joke.
        You can’t change the brake or throttle from the preconfigured setup & the cockpit view steering wheel is the dumbest I have ever seen.
        How can they even call this a console game because it isn’t even close to resembling one.
        All I can say about it is that if you bought it for the PS4 or XBOX take it back & demand a refund.

    2. Three out of five? To me this means do not buy this game if you are expecting a new experience.
      Let me know the rating of the PC game when you are ready.

      1. this review sounds like a solid 4/5 but you give a 3/5 at the end. slightly confused!

      2. The PC version is better due to the availability of having multiple screen options and the ability to change graphical settings to ensure a consistent frame rate. Triple screens really immerses you into the cockpit and gives one the ability to use their peripheral vision more, but at a cost of some serious computer hardware. I’ll get stutters every once in a while with a 2080Ti, OC’d i7-5820K and a triple screen resolution of 7780×1080, and that’s not overly ridiculous with the graphics settings. Things have smoothed out a lot in their recent updates, so I feel like the console ports wont see such an improvement esp with the new generation ones on the way.

        As the article states, pretty steep learning curve, but very rewarding once you get it right. The HUD and menu system is what bugs me the most. In the original Assetto Corsa, the HUD components were very easy to add and move around anywhere on the screen, where as in ACC there is no such easy option. The menu system is a bit clunky but above anything else, setting up the car is a huge pain to get used to compared to the first Assetto Corsa.

    3. However, the fact that a game can be released for £34.99 with these kinds of performance issues possible is certainly a major concern

      Isn’t this commonplace in gaming these days? Games are released and then they find out if there’s a problem… I remember waiting for Mafia 3 to be released, as I loved the first one and was hoping the 3rd was better than the 2nd which I didn’t like. I didn’t even buy it because just as it was released, the FPS rate was capped, and they were already announcing patches. It was a total let down and to this day I’ve not tried the game.

      I’ve seen people complain about a lot of unfinished games at release. So, in hindsight, I’d not give it a bad score just for something which is following the industry’s trend.

      That being said, I like that consoles are getting a racing game intended as a sim. The more people that try it, and get hooked to it, the better the whole simracing industry gets. And that’s great!

      1. @fer-no65 you dodged a bullet with Mafia III, other than the soundtrack, it’s dreadful.

        1. @bernasaurus yeap… here’s hoping the re-released version of Mafia 1 lives up to the hype…

    4. In other news, Automobilista 2 is coming out of Early Access today – it’s discounted 20% for 2 weeks (£34.99) and has the upcoming Hockenheim DLC thrown in and then goes up to full price after that (and without the DLC). I’ve racked up 68 hours so far through early access and have absolutely loved it so far. I was worried it would be like Project Cars 2 considering it’s on the same engine but other the graphics and the menus, it’s worlds apart. I’d heavily recommend it!

    5. I have an Xbox One with A Logitech G29 steering wheel and started playing ACC.

      I know the console versions has nowhere near the PC’s graphics and grid sizes but I find the game an immensely enjoyable (not when using the gamepad though, rather avoid that).

    6. The argument over which is the best sim pops up all the time in the sim forums. I’ve never driven it, but ACC pops up almost as much as iRacing and rF2. It has quite a following.

    7. For gods sake the game is only a few weeks released. I bet on the pc release th pc players warent yelling so much. I can understand the people who are upset. I have ACC but play mostly AC atm. Have patience. Kunos is run by humans not robots. I give them tim to fix the issues but on the current state this game is a 7/10 simply cause these wheel and multiplayer issues.

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