While titles such as Forza Motorsport carefully balance a realistic racing experience with more gamified aspects to reach a larger experience, it just doesn’t cut the mustard for some. That’s where Assetto Corsa Competizione comes in.
The official game of the Blancpain GT series, Assetto Corsa Competizione is all about authenticity. It has the teams, the drivers, the cars and the circuits of both the 2018 and 2019 Blancpain GT series, which alone is likely to excite some. But it’s the actual on-track action that makes the game so compelling.
Assetto Corsa Competizione pushes its players to their limits. To win events, learning the ins and outs of each track is a must, as well as keeping your car under control and having laser sharp focus. Just one mistake can make the difference between a podium finish and crossing the finish line in last place. But it’s not totally at the expense of alienating new players – there are enough assists available to allow novices to have fun and find their feet.
“It’s the actual on-track action that makes the game so compelling”
While Assetto Corsa Competizione does have online multiplayer, it’s the game’s single-player offerings that are likely to capture the attention of those who buy into it. Its career mode, which you can define the length of, is a great place for those new to the game to start. After introducing you to the basics, you’ll be taken through numerous complete race weekends with your performance being measured along the way. It might leave some players wanting, however, as it’s a no frills affair.
Those looking for a long-term challenge are perhaps better to jump into a Championship. Both Blancpain GT Series 2018 and 2019 seasons are available, and players can customise finer details like whether penalties or tyre wear are enabled, the opponent count, and lots more. Players can even choose to take part in only sprint events, endurance events, or both.
“Assetto Corsa Competizione is the game for those who simply like to get behind the wheel and push themselves to be better”
Most players, however, are likely to appreciate Assetto Corsa Competizione‘s quick race options. There are many event types available, such as hotlap, hotstint, practice, custom race weekend and multiple endurance race weekends. After choosing an event type, players can then select any of the game’s eleven tracks, one of 24 cars, and then fine-tune further details such as the weather and assists. Assetto Corsa Competizione is the game for those who simply like to get behind the wheel and push themselves to be better. There’s no money to be won – just the joy felt when shaving fractions of a second off your best lap.
Those with a competitive streak will particularly enjoy the Special Events offered by Assetto Corsa Competizione, which change frequently. Pushing yourself is one thing, but the stakes are raised when you’re competing to be at the top of an online leaderboard. Actual human competition via online races is the best test of skills, however. To face the best racers you’ll have to raise your safety rating though, and unfortunately private lobbies aren’t available.
No matter what content you engage in in Assetto Corsa Competizione, your performance is scrutinised. Your car control, consistency, safety, and more, is analysed and given a numerical value. As mentioned, your safety score is particularly important if you wish to race online, with the best racers able to enjoy events free of unsportsmanlike shenanigans. You’ll vie to increase your rating in all aspects, however, and will feel yourself grow as a driver along the way.
Due to Assetto Corsa Competizione‘s hardcore nature, it’s best played with a steering wheel and pedals. It is perfectly playable with a controller, however, though you might want to spend some time tweaking settings to get the feel just right. If you’re not accustomed to the rules and regulations of the Blancpain GT Series, it’s wise to educate yourself before jumping in, too; the game doesn’t do a very good job of it, and a relatively good performance can be ruined if you pick up a penalty.
“It’s a serious game for those serious about racing.”
Playing on Xbox One X for review, Assetto Corsa Competizione looks stunning. Car models are meticulously detailed, and so are the tracks. Weather effects are impressive too. It’s just a shame that it plods along at 30fps. In some instances you’ll feel it dropping below that target as well. Titles such as Forza Motorsport sacrifice a little graphical flourish to sustain a silky smooth framerate, and the same should have been done here. Depending on your settings, the movement of your car can look unnatural when playing with a controller too, impacting the immersion.
Assetto Corsa Competizione isn’t a racing game for all. It doesn’t provide quick and easy thrills, with a career mode focused on building a garage full of cars and customising them to your liking. It’s a serious game for those serious about racing. Thankfully it’ll hit most of the right notes that sim fans look for. It’s just a shame that graphical fidelity has been prioritised over performance. Other than that, there’s not much to dislike here unless you’re a newcomer to the sport, or are stuck with playing with a controller.