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Assetto Corsa

First impressions

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Assetto Corsa Unpacked

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I am very happy for Forza 6 and it has taught me so much about racing, but i might have overplayed it lately, and wanted to try something else. Forza Horizon 3 was good, but really not what i was looking for. I like the racing aspect, the technical challenges, and understanding what makes you go faster.

So i went out and bought Assetto Corsa as i have heard that it is better suited for console controllers, than Project Cars which i tried half a year back, and had pretty bad experience with. Assetto Corsa is a pretty big thing as a PC version, allowing users to mod, and add their own content and features. They recently launched a console version, for Xbox one and Playstation. I have an Xbox One, and use the Elite Controller (no wheel). I am a grown up racing enthusiast, that is not too good at it, but trying hard to learn and practice, so i think i am very close to the core of their target market.

Honestly, i didn’t have too high expectations for Assetto Corsa and this is maybe why i am not entirely negative on this first impression post. I poped the disc into my Xbox and got a message that it needed to update some stuff (almost 4GB). My connection is not too fast, so i ended up spending the evening on Forza 6 anyway. When Assetto Corsa was done getting ready for our first date, it was late and i was not too eager to get to know it, but i went along and took a few laps on a really rare Ferrari FXX K. Maybe not the right beginner car, but i did get a feeling for it.

assetto-corsa-3I usually drive using the chase view, and of course jumped right over to that. The car felt difficult to handle, i was having trouble keeping it on track and it moves in a strange way, that didn’t feel too realistic. I decided to leave it there, and do some research on controller settings before i judge it too harshly.

The day after, i got to know Assetto Corsa a lot better, and actually beginning to like it!
The first thing you have to do, is choose the right view. Chase view (neat or far) feels clumsy and really doesn’t do much to the feel of the game. Cockpit is really awesome, but the hands on the steering wheel don’t correspond to the input you give through the stick. A tiny little nudge will make the driver turn the wheel all the way to that direction, and even though the car will react correctly, it is very very strange to look at and at time scary! Luckily they offer a cockpit view with no steering wheel (or hands) that is much better. This is obviously there, for those drivers who have a wheel set up, but will do ok for a controller point of view too. For me, this is one of 3 views that are acceptable to use. The others are the Bumber view and the Hood view. This solved an other problem that i was having, with the steering sensitivity. It turns out that using one of the above point of views, makes it a lot easier to drive the car, and will not confuse you with unexpected reactions on the screen.

assetto-corsa-4Once you get this sorted, and begin getting used to the steering the game begins to, if not shine, then at least look a whole lot brighter! I could now keep the car on track, and start looking at lap times and trying a few races. My next big challenge was the gear changes. There are automatic gear changes available, but they are terrible. As automatic gears are expected to, it will change to a higher or lower gear, depending on the revs but this is terrible for racing, as it will change gears at points where you really don’t want to be changing gears. I already race manual with clutch on Forza, so i was not too scared of this. Once i turned manual gears on, i was beginning to have fun, and focus on my driving, more than the things that felt strange. Now i was also beginning to feel and understand the physics of the game, something that Assetto Corsa is said to be excellent at! One thing that is unacceptable though, is that in the race settings, you can set automatic clutch to on or off, but it turns out that there is no clutch button (or way to assign this) on the controller. I guess this is for for users who have a steering wheel, because it makes no sense when using a controller. I don’t know if it affects your lap times or not, but it did not feel like it had any effect turning that on on or off, when using the controller.

Why you can't use the cockpit view, when using the controller. Minor adjustments, will turn the wheel too much

Why you can’t use the cockpit view, when using the controller. Minor adjustments, will turn the wheel too much

The graphics will not blow your mind. Coming from Forza 6 (and recently Horizon 3), Assetto Corsa feels a bit last year. This is not a huge issue though. Once you get hooked on the racing, physics and lap times, you won’t focus that much on the graphics anyway. On the other hand, the track itself looks and feels real. You also get a better feeling of the speed you are going, and this i think is an important aspect that Forza has been lacking at. What i feel is sad, is the ability to pull content out of the game. It is difficult to take stills and action pictures of the cars and races. Even though there are replays available, i did not yet find an option to export or share them, except by using the inbuilt feature from Xbox one (screen captures and record the last 30 sec).

Lastly, i was slightly disjointed at the available tracks, and even though i could use some tracks that i have missed since the F1 games, and even though there literally are endless configurations to each aspect of the tracks (weather, time of day, temperature etc) there are still not that many tracks to choose from. Even more disappointing is the range of available cars. You really don’t get many cars, and many of them are basically the same car with slight feature modifications. There are cars available as add-ons that you can purchase, and recently even a Porche pack was released, but i would expect them to be included, or at least be free to download.

That said, i would still buy it, after this first run. It is obvious that this is a low budget game, from a small company, that maybe was caught by surprise. It is obviously much better and more flexible on pc and even better for the users who have a wheel. Also it is clear that the physics, and authenticity was more important than making this a beautiful game that appeal to the masses. In reality, it feels like a demo for a PC version, and if i ever was going to shift over to PC, i would not hesitate to choose Assetto Corsa. If they keep on track, and address some of the issues and limitations that users have mentioned, i am sure that Assetto Corsa 2 or 3 might be really really great games, that would dominate the market. As it is now, and if you only race with a controller, i would not spend money on it. But it has been a great experience, and i am sure i’ll be spending some more time running random low class races.

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About The Author

I've been hooked on racing games, ever since the Burnout series back in the late 90s and after going through some painful years trying to learn the F1 series games, i am now hooked on Forza. I am not the fastest on the track, and not a fanatic, but i enjoy sim racing a lot, and try to get better and faster.

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