Assetto Corsa Competizione PS5 & Xbox Series X|S Review

Restart your engines.
Assetto Corsa Competizione PS5 Review Header

Assetto Corsa Competizione is an incredibly exacting simulation, but compared to its original PC release, it’s one that didn’t get to shine on PS4 and Xbox One. With the new era of home consoles upon us, it’s time for the full-throated roar of these sublime grand touring vehicles to shine in a way that absolutely matches the game on PC.

Let’s cut to the chase: Assetto Corsa Competizione on PlayStation 5 with a racing wheel is a delight. It’s 60fps, it’s just one patch behind the PC version, there’s new options online… it’s the real deal after the disappointing last gen release.

But what is Competizione? This game is a narrower, more focussed successor to the widely acclaimed Assetto Corsa. Swapping Kunos’ homegrown graphics engine out for Unreal Engine 4, the studio continued to iterate on their excellent simulation racing model, narrowing the game’s scope to being exclusively about GT3 class cars and the then Blancpain GT Series. That has grown a bit since 2019, to add sprint and endurance cups, GT4 cars and a clutch of additional cars, but the core is the same.

There’s good reason to hone in on this racing category. Compared to the glitz of F1, GT3 has been the workhorse category of motorsports for the past 15 years, this class of cars being used in a broad variety of national and international championships, getting used in both shorter race formats and put to the test in endurance racing. It’s not just the real world, as they’re an easy go-to for online racing in video games, since their comparable real-world performance translates well to digital realms. You’ll find them in Gran Turismo, in Forza, in GRID, Project Cars and plenty other games.

Assetto Corsa Competizione PS5 Review New BMW

Driving them in Competizione is like commanding a tamed beast. They’re great and accessible cars to learn to drive, but the traction control and ABS that lets you harness the raw power of their monstrously loud engines will only go so far if you’re too rash with inputs, unbalance the car too much through corners, stray too far across the kerbs when your tyres are too cold.

Competing in Competizione demands speed, precision and consistency. The Practice mode simply sends you out on track and tasks you with completing a lap without losing control (which means practically no wheel spin at all, even if you think you’re totally in control). Once you’ve finished one lap, then it wants you to do another, then two more, and then get through these laps without particularly erratic deviation in time. The start of the career simply throws you into a short practice session during the day, at night and in the rain, before offering you a choice of vehicles and throwing you into large race events that new players could be ill equipped for.

Assetto Corsa Competizione PS5 Review Rolling Start

How do you do a rolling start? What about coming in for a pit stop? The former you’ll have to learn on the fly, but the latter you can at least defer to the game to automatically manage.

It also doesn’t help that the game is immediately tracking and analysing your suitability for the competitive online multiplayer. Even in single player, if you’re too erratic, bump into other cars, or are generally a bit clumsy, the game will track and adjust Trust for running closely without erratic driving, and Behavioural Warning Points (BWP). You do have the option to turn this off for single player, keeping it limited to just tracking when you’re racing in standard online races instead.

Assetto Corsa Competizione PS5 Review Night Race

There’s other oddities to the game, as well. Playing on controller, the default set up for gamepad just feels rather unfiltered, almost like it’s directly mapping analogue stick inputs to a wheel angle. My solution was to change my input from the horizontal stick flicking suited to an arcade racer to rolling the stick around the front 180º arc for more precision. To be honest, I’ll probably try to remember this for the next time I have to go without a wheel.

Speaking of which, there’s no preset for a common racing wheel like a Logitech G29, which is just odd. I had to manually define the steering lock and there’s no pre-assigned layout for things like the pit limiter, modifying brake balance or traction control, and the like, despite the popularity of this wheel.

Where the original console release of Assetto Corsa Competizione had some huge caveats hanging over it, the game's release on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S brings it up to spec, effectively matching the PC version. It still has some weaknesses in presentation and structure for new players in particular, but once you get into the groove, it's one of the best sim racers you can buy right now.
  • Outstanding simulation of this breed of racing car
  • 60fps makes a huge difference
  • New private servers are great to see
  • Control defaults are lacking
  • Makes next to no effort to teach you sim racing essentials like rolling starts
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