If you define a racing game as one that sees you traveling at high speeds in an attempt to outrun the competition, then Assetto Corsa Competizione is not a racing game. Yes, it is a licensed simulation of the 2018 and 2019 Blancpain GT series, and yes, you get to drive some amazing vehicles that have been finetuned for speed. But, ACC forces you to focus on precision and technique rather than just going fast, so be prepared to pull the left trigger just as much as the right one.
ACC presents you with a range of game options before you start your engines. You can jump straight into a race and choose the car and track to drive on, compete in a championship season, test your skills in special event challenges, or see if you’ve got what it takes to have a career as a driver. Multiplayer is also available if you want to learn where you rank in the world. The depth of options available is impressive as there are plenty of ways to customise an event to your liking. If you want to test your ability on a track, then you can. If you feel like trying your luck in a quick race, then it’s easy to jump in. For hardcore fans, you can even test your endurance in three-hour, six-hour, and 24-hour events.
Once you’ve jumped into your vehicle of choice, you can make the necessary alterations, such as switching between an automatic and manual transmission and adjusting the camera angles. In each view, you’re presented with indicators for your tyre pressure, fuel, and breaks, so you know when you need to pull into the pits for a tune-up. As you drive out on the track, you can reach insane speeds in seconds. However, if you try to maintain it as you approach a corner, then you’re going to have a bad time. Mastering a track requires you to find the right speed when approaching straights and chicanes. If you’re going too fast, then you’ll spin out, go too slow, and your opponents will use the opportunity to overtake you. Losing control and going off-road will impact your score for mastering a track, even if you mess up once. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can drive safely consistently. You’re assessed on each sequence of the track. Screw up once, and your progress resets, and you’ll need to start over. It makes for an additional challenge rather than just trying to capture the chequered flag, but it can be frustrating when one slip-up causes your progress to reset, although it is satisfying when you finally nail it.
What’s also frustrating is some of the technical issues. It’s not uncommon for frame rates to drop during races when there are several cars on the track, and graphical glitches can appear when it starts to rain. The vehicles themselves contain a lot of detail and look amazing, but everything else from the roads to the environments to the spectators, look a little plain. On my first attempt at kicking off the career mode, the video introduction that featured Italian driver Mirko Bortolotti didn’t play. Instead, I had a black screen with the option to press X to continue. When I reset my progress and started over, the video played. While many of these issues may get patched up, it’s something you’ll have to endure until an update comes along
Assetto Corsa Competizione will challenge your racing ability by assessing you on technique and precision in an extensive collection of events. But your patience might also be tested by its technical flaws that can make driving carefully harder than it needs to be. If you’re a hardcore fan of the GT series, then you’ll be more than satisfied with what ACC brings to the table. But for other racing simulation fans, you might be better off getting your need for speed elsewhere.
Assetto Corsa Competizione was reviewed on PS4 with a review code provided by the publisher.