From Gran Turismo to modern offerings like Forza Motorsport, Bruno's take on the best sim racer may surprise you!
Image: PlayStation Store
When you think of the best racing games out there, what comes to mind? Obviously, the big two are the title contenders of Sony and Microsoft- Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. These two fail in comparison to the sleeping giant that is Assetto Corsa, which is, in my opinion, the best sim racing game available. And to be clear, I'm referring to the PC version- not the console version. *show and awe* I know, I know… Mr. Console Gaming is now a converted PC gamer for life because of one game?? Yep, Assetto Corsa.
'Assetto Corsa' is Italian for "race setup"
Released in November 2013 through Steam Early Access, Assetto Corsa is Italian for "race setup". The vanilla experience out of the box is rather limited, especially by today's standard and comparatively speaking in regards to Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport; however, the Ultimate DLC pack, is a great way to get started with a plethora of diverse content. Being that it's an Italian game, made by Italian studio, Kunos Simulazioni, you can expect a collection of Italian cars and circuits like Ferrari and Monza to make an appearance.
Although official support for the game has stopped, the game continues to thrive, mostly thanks to an amazingly dedicated modding community. With over 10,000 mods and counting, including improvements to the game's physics and graphics, Assetto Corsa is the most diverse racing simulator available today. Websites like RaceDepartment.com showcase a full library of free mods to transform the vanilla base game into the most diverse racing simulator available to date. According to Wikipedia, the developers at Kunos Simulazioni even included some of the mods as officially released content and even hired some of the creators to continue producing content.
Image: Twitter @SimRacing604
From Vanilla to Rocky Road!
While the base game might be lacking in comparison to the out-of-the-box experience you get from titles like Gran Turismo and the Forza series, Assetto Corsa provides a blank canvas and the tools to true set up the perfect race, lending further credence to its namesake. With the addition of Content Manager, a third-party app that allows players to launch Assetto Corsa and manage all the content within the game, modding the game with additional content has never been easier. Simply download your desired mod and drag and drop it into the content manager to install. It's that simple. The Content Manager takes all of the guesswork out of installing mods into their correct folders and does it for you. One could write an entire article singing the praises of Content Manager and its ease of use.
Image: Assetto Corsa Club
With over 10,000 mods and counting, Assetto Corsa is the most diverse racing simulator available today.
A quick search on Google of the "best racing simulators" will showcase a variety of options that tailor to specific racing types such as DiRT Rally or even the sister title to Assetto Corsa- Assetto Corsa Competizione, a GT3-specific simulator. These are great simulators for their respective driving categories, but if you're looking for the perfect all-in-one title with unlimited potential, look no further than Assetto Corsa. Race through the streets of Tokyo or L.A. Canyons in one of the cars from the Fast & Furious series like Brian O'Connor's 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse or Han's 1997 Mazda RX-7 VeilSide Fortune. Perhaps you'd rather take a tour around classic Monza with an F1 car from every decade. Maybe you'd like to recreate the 1988 F1 season or test your skill in INDYCAR around street circuits like St. Petersburg and Detroit's Belle Isle. All of this is possible in Assetto Corsa with the help of Content Manager and an endless ever-growing library of mods. And with professional studios like Race Sim Studio and Virtual Racing Car releasing modern cars and tracks on a regular basis, community support for this game is thriving.
Image: VRC Mods
You'll never find a more helpful group of gamers than those in the racing community. Modders release their content for free gaining helpful feedback from the community and some even go as far as to pick up and finish projects from other people who need help. We all share a love of automobiles and racing and want nothing more than to drive our favorite cars in our favorite locations. Modders aren't bound by copyright law or licensing fees. Instead, impassioned car enthusiasts just want to race their dream cars in dream locations.
The Ultimate Racing Experience
Assetto Corsa truly is the best "race setup" experience available. There are numerous ways to customize the difficulty of the A.I. with options allowing you to set a range of difficulty and aggression to tailor the experience to your preference. And therein lies the secret of Assetto Corsa; it's the perfect race setup for those who love to customize their experience from the ground up. While the vanilla version of Assetto Corsa might be lackluster, it's the community behind the game that's kept it going steady for nearly 10 years. If you're looking for the best overall racing experience and don't mind taking the time to customize your options, then Assetto Corsa is the game for you. You'll be rewarded for your effort with infinite possibilities all in the package of one game.
Image: RSS Mods
The Ultimate Edition of Assetto Corsa is often available for half-off: $40 on Steam. Some of the mods you'll encounter might cost you $3 to $5 dollars but they're totally worth it to expand the library of content within the game. As of this writing, I've spent less than the cost of a brand new AAA title on Assetto Corsa including paid mods, and I've still only scratched the surface of content available.