Cars become quite twitchy, and the lack of force feedback means they lose much of the sensation that the physics model has created so well. It becomes hard to identify a slide, or tell when brakes are locking, or even distinguish between a low kerb and a sausage one at times. Feedback development is also an issue when using a wheel, but it’s not as bad and is translated better, but nowhere near the levels of something like PC2.
There are other things that ruin the immersion also, such as the terrible animation of your driver’s virtual arms, which appear to fling the steering wheel left and right erratically with the slightest input. It’s distracting to the point that you’ll likely never use the driver-eye view again after trying it once. Fortunately, there are many other camera options.
It’s likely that most of these are compromises made by porting to a less powerful processing tool in either the PS4 or Xbox One, either that or a clear sign of rushed development.
Even though many will buy this game knowing full well it’s a one-championship only title, the lack of content is also quickly apparent.
For one example, at launch there are no private online lobbies, meaning users cannot organise private online races for leagues or clubs, which is surely the entire point of a game like this? KUNOS and publisher 505 Games is working to rectify this and add private lobbies in soon, but they should have been there for launch.
You can play single races, both solo or online, do a full championship season, or start a career, which is essentially the same but with a few skill test sessions in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo beforehand before you’re flung into the full GT Challenge. It would have been nice to have some sort of story in the career mode, such as a warm-up season in the Trofeo to earn your stripes, or some form of contract negotiation, but instead it all just feels like a tagged-on afterthought. There’s also no livery creator, so you’re stuck with a largely plain black car. Another missed opportunity.
While the GT3 cars are hugely impressive themselves, the lack of wider variety is troubling for longevity. The developers know this and are already extending the license with SRO to bring in both GT4 cars and some variants from British GT also. Sadly, both will be additional paid-for downloadable content scheduled from this winter and into next year.
When you do get racing though, there’s a lot to enjoy. With a wheel correctly set up, ACC’s handling model is class-leading, and its AI is competitive and aggressive without ever coming across as brainless. There are also real-time incidents. Rivals can spin off on their own, or get into incident. You also have a spotter on the radio to help notify you when cars are close or of any changes to the condition of your machine. It can be tough to hear him though, with so much glorious engine noise drowning him out. And there’s no way we’re turning that down.
Damage feels accurate, even if at times it may not look it, and some of the animations are great, such as pitting and watching your crew go to work changing all four tyres. Some, however, are less interesting, like the way the same crew stands idly beside your car while a repair timer counts down however many minutes to rectify the damage you’ve inflicted. There’s also no option to fast forward to the end of any given session, which is a tad irritating.
There’s the usual huge range of setup options that most will either need a degree to understand or to spend hours analysing the impact of each small tweak, but some of the pit menus behave strangely, or are broken entirely, as asking your team for a strategic change on the fly is rather difficult.
Overall, Assetto Corsa Competizione is a mixed bag. On one hand it’s a superbly rounded, hardcore racing simulator with a fantastic real-world license and excellently accurate car models. On the other, it’s rough around the edges in many areas, feels a bit too stripped back and should really have hit the shelves in a more complete condition than it is now.
We will have to wait and see if the coming developments can allow this title to live up to its true potential.