Review: Assetto Corsa (Xbox One)

Racing Simulation



By now simulation fans will be well aware of Assetto Corsa and that it’s a simulation racer that’s adored by PC gamers around the world. A game from a small studio that came out of nowhere and muscled its way to the front row grid in their efforts to dice the big guns. It’s now finally ported to consoles, but does it fall into the traditional port conundrum or does it pass the finish line in flying colours?


Only aliens need apply

First things first – Assetto Corsa is a simulation racing game, nothing less, nothing more. If you like arcade racing in any sense of the word you should stop reading this review right now. It’s only made for the hardcore of hardcore simulation racing fans. It’s also only made for those who have supernatural powers from the beyond as Assetto Corsa is easily the most brutal experience I’ve ever had in a racing game. Jump into your first race and you’ll walk away frustrated and downright despondent.

[pullquote_left]In the car setup you can tamper away at everything, but that of course means that you’ll need a very good understanding of motorcars.[/pullquote_left]Assetto Corsa does not have a huge amount of modes, but there’s enough to sink your teeth into. Special Events will set you up with a scenario using a specific car where you have to drive a Hot Lap, Time Attack, Drift or Quick Race. Meet the time, position or score and you’ll be awarded a bronze, silver or gold tier medal. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to head to the Career mode, and this is where you’ll pull your hair out and throw your wheel spanners. You see, Assetto Corsa is so difficult that I’m still, after 15 hours of racing, stuck on the Novice Series. Change the default difficulty, that was on hard (it goes up to ‘Alien’), to easy and you’ll feel a relief when crossing the line in fourth place. It’s a tough game. So how do you get around this? There’s no way of upgrading your car with improved parts. Your only way to improve your car is to tweak away at the car setup.


Tune this game before it tunes you

In the car setup you can tamper away at everything, but that of course means that you’ll need a very good understanding of motorcars. Head to the suspension and you can set the pressure of each wheel, the camber, toe, height and springs. Also be sure to set your dampers by adjusting the bump, fast bump, rebound, fast rebound, packer rate and travel range. Ensure the gear ratio is just perfect and that you have the right tyre selection and pray that it’ll help you succeed. Not sure what on Earth you’re doing? You’ll find some great setups online that’ll help you setup each car for a specific track. Problem is that after doing all this I was still stuck and could not continue the career as the AI was just far too aggressive and fast for me to catch them. After 3 hours of frustration I moved over to the Drive menu… where I finally found ‘the game’.

Here you can Practice (oh, you’ll need it, that’s for sure), enter Quick Races, a Race Weekend, the online multiplayer (which wasn’t yet functioning), Hotlap, Time Attack and Drift. Suddenly I was having fun and before I knew it I had entered a 100-lap race driving a Nissan GT-R GT3 around Mugello. The feeling of gaining one position is just about unmatched by any other racer I’ve ever played before as you have to work so hard for it. No rewinds to correct your mistake – make sure you hit your brake point or make peace with the fact that you’ll end up in more sand than David Hasselhoff. There are however some other serious setbacks that spoiled that experience.


Consoles receive some of its own medicine

Forget about the 60 FPS the developers were aiming for. It’s all over the place. There’s also a serious case of screen tearing and, when you’re racing in bumper cam view, you’ll notice some jaggies on the cars – something I’ve not seen in a game for years. The roadside textures look bland by today’s standards. Sadly these issues all scream one thing: PORT! There is some good though.

[pullquote_right]The thing with Assetto Corsa is that you can see there’s lots of heart that’s gone into it, and you really want to love it, but it keeps fighting back.[/pullquote_right]The sound effects are actually quite good. Perhaps not up there with what we’ve heard in Project CARS, but it’s next level when you think of something like Gran Turismo. The tracks in the game include Spa, Silverstone, Vallelunga, Zandvoort, Nordschleife and more. It’s a fantastic track selection and some of the older tracks, such as the Monza 1966 course, are just sublime to drive on when using an open-top oldschool F1 car. All-in-all there are just over 100 cars, though I was surprised to see some DLC cars showing up in the menu. All these cars are exquisitely detailed and you won’t find the ‘standard car’ nonsense (that plagued Gran Turismo 6) as each car has its own interior detailed right down to every stitch.


The thing with Assetto Corsa is that you can see there’s lots of heart that’s gone into it, and you really want to love it, but it keeps fighting back. It’s in dire need of a patch to fix the difficulty, but unfortunately no patch will solve the screen tearing and frame rate issues… and in a racing game there is no bigger sin.



  • Some of the best tracks in the world on offer | The roar of the engine sounds are impressive


  • The difficulty will drive you insane | The frame rate and screen tearing issues is a no-go in 2016 | It feels like a port


A brutal simulation racer port that backfires more than it should.


Gameplay - 6
Visuals - 6.5
Audio - 7
Gratification - 5
Value for money - 6

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I’ll play it, no matter the format.

  • Wikus Van Dyk

    That’s a bit disappointing news. I had high hopes for this.

  • Fox1 – Retro

    Like Project Cars, I don’t see what the hype was about.

  • My heart already belongs to another.


  • Wesley

    Dawid, do you have a racing wheel?
    It makes a big difference for a simulation like this.

    The amount of angle you get from a analogue stick and trigger button is much smaller than a wheel and peddles, so with the wheel you have more feel and control with turning, accelerating and braking.

    In most games, you can start with your foot down, or slow down by fully pressing break a few times, due to controllers being buttons rather than analogue. transfer this to real life in a fast car, and it means unintentional donuts and maybe a bloody nose.

    • Unfortunately I don’t, but you’d also have to consider that most players will play it using a controller. Also, a wheel is not going to solve the frame rate and screen tearing issues. That said the difficulty is honestly set too high. I’ve played many, many sim racers in my years (racing games is what I do) and I’ve never seen a brutal racer like this. If they could get that difficulty resolved this review would have easily scored in the 70’s.

      • Wesley

        Ya, i agree, frame rate is unforgivable, especially for a racing game.

        Im a bit of a racing game nut myself, the reason i asked is that IMO, Wheel vs Controller makes a completely different experience of a game.

        The PC Simulation’s scene is more serious than console, and asseto is sitting at the top of that list, so would think that the difficulty would be in line.

        • I’ve had a look at other reviews, after writing mine, and found that I’m not the only one who struggled with it. I’m sure a wheel might improve the race, but it’s not going to drastically change it into you becoming a winner. The thing is, when playing it on easy it should be just that, and it’s rock hard. I mean, if you want a challenge then it should be from medium, hard and onwards. As I said – when I went to the Quick Race and played 100 laps on Mugello I had the time of my life. Suddenly the difficulty problems were gone, but the class of cars they set you up against in career just drive away from you. You feel hopeless in your efforts trying to catch them.

          • Wesley

            What is the progression requirement to further the career, or is it just about earning money to buy the car required to compete?

          • You have to come first, second or third in each career race to progress to the next tier. Now, the big problem is that you’re provided with a car (you can’t select your own)… and when you get to a specific set of BMW races your car is so outclassed that there’s no chance of you ever winning the race. I’ve tuned the car as best I could and I once nearly came third, but my Z4 was caught on the second lap (of four) every time and that’s that. Once they pass it’s game over.

            I tried that one particular race for 3 hours straight with various setups. Tried everything. Automatic and manual gears (manual of course being better), manual and automatic clutch, ABS and various other assists. Was this on hard I’d completely understand, but this really does not work. Thing is – head to Quick race with the same spec cars and suddenly I’m first or at least competing in a fair race.

          • Wesley

            Ya, that does sound pretty messed up.
            Its a pity that the career is forced like that.
            To me, a career should work on money, buying cars, and being restricted to means such as racing performance, brand or style.

          • A patch could really fix that problem. I really hope one is incoming. If there’s a patch I’ll return to it, bad frame rate and screen tearing or not.

  • ColonelJakesZA

    I was very interested in Asseto, but after this review I think I’m gonna pass. In my opinion, you don’t port a racing game. Not today anyways. A racing game must be as much a part of the system it’s being played on, as a professional racer is with his/her car. It must be built from the ground up specifically with the applicable system in mind. This is why Asseto works so well on pc, and Forza on Xbox One, and Gran Turismo Sport on PS4 (we hope). If you want to take the game to the next system, you got to do it right, or don’t do it at all. That’s just my 2 cents.

    Anyway, aside from the multiplayer hoppers dilemma of Forza Motorsport 6, I’ve fallen in love with that franchise, and I don’t think any other racer will do it for me any time soon. Definitely getting Horizon 3 as well, so yeah, my heart belongs Forza.

    For the Asseto fans, I hope the creators can sort out the problems quickly…

    • Horizon 3 is so close I can just about taste it. Can’t wait!

      • ColonelJakesZA

        Will unfortunately only be able to afford it next year though 🙁 due to BF1 and Skyrim Special addition (decided to delay Mafia 3). But the consolation is Forza Horizon next month on GwG 😀

  • Void667

    Thats a pity, i played this game on PC with a steering wheel and absolutely loved it. It was the first game that really felt like a simulator to me. Hopefully they fix those bugs with a patch.

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