A little over a year after the official release on PC, the phenomenal simulation of Kunos has also landed on consoles.
Just over 12 months have passed since the release of the final version of Assetto Corsa Competizione on PC, one of the most popular and realistic driving simulators currently available on the market. Since then many things have changed: there have been widespread improvements to the physical engine, some intercontinental tracks arrived with great pomp, including the complex but rewarding Suzuka and the tortuous Australian circuit of Mount Panorama. The competitive lobbies have also arrived, much sought after and coveted by the most hardened sim racers, those grown on bread and iRacing.
The possibility of concentrating all efforts on a single category of car has also made possible more targeted interventions on tire models, suspensions and aerodynamics in general. The result is an even more credible and satisfying driving model, clearly better than that of the ride. The fruits of this production commitment have obviously also been incorporated in the console version, which can boast the exact same physical model as the “older sister“. An enviable goal, which makes the last effort of the Italian team the best racing simulator currently on the console.
We are back on track
Playing with the pad Although it is possible to play with our beloved controller, we strongly advise against it. Thanks to the good number of aids available to us, we can reach quite interesting times, but in the long run, it is really difficult to maintain a constant rhythm, avoid going over the opponent or adapt the braking point to accommodate the presence of any opponents in trajectory. These difficulties derive mainly from the poor precision of the triggers and from the excessive sensitivity of the analogues. Racing and winning with the DualShock 4 or with the Xbox One pad is not impossible, in short, but clearly more complicated than the average of the courses currently available on consoles.
To tell the truth, however, some small differences between the PC and console editions are easy to notice. Our copy for PlayStation 4 shows the reference version 1.3.7, released on the personal computer a few months ago: in short, they are missing all the latest updates from March 2020 onwards, and it is certainly not a negligible detail. However, it should only be a temporary problem, most likely born from the need to carry on the conversions for PS4 and Xbox One parallel to the updates arrived in the “main” version starting from the month of April. Even in terms of content, there are no big differences compared to the PC version: there are the same identical game options that we told you about a year ago in our Assetto Corsa Competizione review, including the inevitable career, the personalized championship and a free mode in which to practice, enter the hotlap mode or, more simply, organize a personalized race weekend. Contrary to what happens in many congeners, however, the career is not at all the fulcrum of the whole experience. Indeed, it seems rather a filler, an unconvinced attempt to approach the playful offer of traditional students.
After a slightly more structured introduction, useful above all to establish our ability and modulate the difficulty of our adventure in the GT World Championship, the differences with a simple personalized championship proved once again almost nil.
Assetto Corsa Competizione, moreover, it is a particular product, of those who usually find it hard to make their way into the console world: a real hard and pure simulator, ruthless and eager to re-propose the behaviour of each individual car by the wire and by the sign. The product branded Kunos Simulations aims to breach the hearts of the most hardened sim racers, those who do not care much about the outline, the superstructures and all the “playful” dynamics that have always embellished the main courses of Codemasters racing games, Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo. The focus is solely and exclusively on the races, on the search for the setup and the perfect lap.
To properly master each of the 24 cards you will need patience and lots and lots of training. Far from the permissive poetic licenses of F1 2019, GT Sport and Forza Motorsport, Assetto Corsa Competizione is a complex racing game, which rewards constancy and dedication and tries to discourage any type of excess or incorrect behaviour on the track: forget the curves “of bank “of the old chapters of GT or to be able to make decent times without having first learned to know every single inch of a track.
Compared to a year ago, we also noticed greater attention to the behaviour of the cars on the curbs and a much more developed and realistic tire management model, refined patch after patch. Great attention it was obviously also reserved for aerodynamics, one of the areas in which Assetto Corsa Competizione still seems unrivalled today. Not a small matter, given how much this aspect affects the performance of GT3 cars. Incredibly positive sensations also with regard to dynamic weather: Assetto Corsa Competizione is probably the most effective in transmitting the feeling of precariousness deriving from the accumulation of water on the track, not simply reducing the overall grip, but going to the point of simulating in a realistic way the potential for tire drainage and any aquaplaning phenomena.
The Kunos product, however, it is still far from perfect. Despite constant improvements and work are done over the past twelve months, several problems with collisions continue to be observed, often slightly inaccurate and all too punitive. These problems are obviously accentuated slightly, during online races, by the lag factor, which does nothing but makes the most agitated phases of the races even more unpredictable.
The soul of the competition
One of the most criticized components of the game has been, since its launch a year ago, the multiplayer one, accused of be all too rough due to the lack of a real matchmaking system.
While not being able to completely bridge the gap with sacred online racing monsters such as iRacing, over time the local team has tried to buffer it by introducing a system of “official” competitions, with a predefined start time, accessible via the special game menu button. A somewhat crude but all in all functional system, which obviously finds space also within the console version. Finally, a further cold shower comes from the lack of private lobbies, a defection that will certainly displease all those who are used to competing in external ex leagues or who like to organize competitions with selected participants. However, this is a temporary problem, given that the developers have already confirmed that they are working on this feature, which should arrive soon. Net of this important shortcoming, the multiplayer mode of the console version of Assetto Corsa Competizione is identical to that of the PC version, with all its advantages, such as the excellent rating system, and its defects, among which it is impossible not to mention the total lack of actual filters in the server list.
The developers did everything they could, but to transpose such a complex and “cumbersome“On consoles it is always very difficult. Assetto Corsa Competizione – at least from a technical and optimization point of view – has somewhat accused the leap towards less performing hardware. On the PC, after all, you need decidedly powerful machines to run it as not to mention the services, even less exciting than VR offers. In short, some compromises were almost inevitable.
The first step was to make a small graphical downgrade, making the general glance visibly less defined and bright. In all honesty, we have not suffered much from this change: the game still looks beautiful and full of details. The second major limitation concerns the image update frequency, blocked at 30fps on each platform.
In particular: the game runs at 1080p and 30fps on the base PS4 and at 900p and 30fps on the Xbox One S; on PS4 Pro the resolution will reach 4K through upscaling, while the owners of Xbox One X will be the only ones who can enjoy native 4K. If we play through one of the two “enhanced” consoles on a FullHD TV, we will be able to enjoy a higher draw distance and some further graphic improvements. In no case will it be possible to enjoy the game at 60fps, a feature that could make more than one enthusiast desist, given the importance that this aspect has in the simulation racing games. The last major limitation concerns the maximum number of cars in the race, set for all console versions at 20: therefore, abandon all hope of participating in online championships with fifty machines on the starting grid.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
Analyzed Version PlayStation 4 ProAssetto Corsa Competizione is nice to play on consoles too. Net of some inevitable compromise, the work is done by the development team to keep the game’s physical engine unchanged on PS4 and Xbox One is truly incredible. Needless to deny, however, that limitations such as the lack of private lobbies in the multiplayer and the framerate blocked at 30 frames per second on all versions, even on mid-gen consoles, are quite heavy in such a precise, advanced and punitive product. If you manage to overcome these defects, however, you will find the most authentic driving experience available today on the Sony and Microsoft platforms, a true milestone of modern sim racing.