Throughout this weekend I’ve been playing Assetto Corsa with various buddies of mine, and have been absolutely loving the improvements made to the overall driving experience. There’s a huge changelog to go through, so I’ll try and list the three main positive aspects of the Version 1.2 update first.
The tire model – I know it’s a buzzword – has been tweaked substantially. I don’t know of any colorful phrases to use to describe it; the sim is now out of this world when it comes to the sheer behind-the-wheel experience. We’re talking Assetto Corsa is now a full generation ahead of the competition. You just want to keep running lap after lap. The driving physics are virtually perfect. This is how a car drives, and you’re wrong if you think otherwise. The underlying adjustments to the tire model also benefit third party content releases; high quality mod cars from URD and Formula Corsa – hell even the legitimately illegal Porsche payware mods – feel just as good as the default Assetto Corsa content, making it 100% worth your time to explore what the modding community has to offer.
Multiplayer functionality has seen improvements that have caused a nice ripple effect among the community. Servers running content you don’t have installed are automatically filtered out, meaning people like myself don’t have to scroll through hundreds of drift and shitty Russian mod servers to find somebody to race with. The new version 1.2 update also comes with a GUI-based server tool that makes it ridiculously easy for any average Joe to set up a room. The end result is that there are now more people opening Forza Motorsport-like Custom Lobbies than ever before, and you rarely feel as if you don’t have anyone else to race with. In some cases, the group I was with would join a room hosted by one guy, and within five minutes or so, we’d have nearly a full field. Of course, the talent level isn’t exactly there, and most races are still being ended in turn one of lap one, but being able to host a server almost as seamlessly as you’d do for your buddies on Xbox is beyond awesome. Steamcharts says there are over 1,200 people playing Assetto Corsa at any given time, and scrolling through the list of sessions available, it sure feels like it.
Zandvoort is fucking awesome. This track got loads of pre-release flak for being the first modern non-laser scanned location in Assetto Corsa, and after running lap after lap (after lap), the difference between the version found in AC compared to, I dunno, iRacing’s laser-scanned version, is almost non-existent. It’s something people didn’t need to complain about. The track is a worthy addition to AC and nicely compliments the other European circuits already featured. It’s a really fantastic proving ground for the street cars within the sim, as the rhythm sections are unlike anything you’ll see in a Herman Tilke-designed circuit like the Nurburgring or Silverstone.
But dear God, the AI is a mess.
I have pretty limited experience with the AI in Assetto Corsa; in Version 1.2, I ran a few offline laps at Zandvoort to prepare myself for online lobbies, but during my time I indeed saw some crazy shit. Any instance of two AI cars going side by side, one driver would bail into the grass as if they’d nodded out. Then I went online and never touched Single Race mode again for the rest of the weekend.
There will be people who try to discredit this video due to the author; all I can say is “please don’t.” The Version 1.2 changelog hyped up numerous AI improvements, and what you’re about to see are clearly not improvements.
This game kicks all sorts of ass racing with your buddies online in a Forza-like setting, but hopefully this stuff will get ironed out before the game lands on the PS4, as the huge console userbase has already put up with one game that isn’t quite done yet, they don’t need another one: