Fantastic Driving, needs a couple of tweeks, 4 stars
Avaliado nos Estados Unidos em 4 de setembro de 2016
Over the years, I have spent some time with sim racing games on consoles, including GT5, GT6, Drive Club, the Crew, Project Cars, Dirt Rally, and now with Assetto Corsa, (which I shall refer to as A/C). I have always used a good wheel and pedal set up, other than to recline and grind away for credits with a controller. GT5 was quite good for its time, GT6 irritated me with broken promises and having to grind for credits to buy decent cars, Drive Club is pretty and different, the Crew did not work for me, and both Project Cars and Dirt Rally are great games in my opinion. I kept wondering about A/C after reading about it on PC over the years, along with I-racing. I always found myself drooling to experience the best possible simulator, but I did not have the budget for a full PC set up and fees involved to experience I-racing and other PC based simulations. I was happy to see A/C finally offered on the PS4 and I went for it after reading about its great physics.
I have now spent a few hours with A/C. I think this is a game best driven with a wheel and pedals, though it worked well for me with a controller also. I will state up front I was rather shocked at the negative reviews I see here, as my overall experience has been quite good as to the actual driving physics and graphics of A/C. I was going to spend a bit more time with A/C before writing this review, but given the dismal ratings seen here, (and in contrast to most professional reviews such as by Inside Sim Racing, IGN, and others), I felt it might be useful to share with others here my initial impressions of A/C at this time as a long time sim driver on the console myself. I can say without hesitation that IF what you really want is a great driving experience on a track with a variety of cars, you should really love this game, even if just for the driving itself. The handling and physics are superb, and each car is unique. I was surprised at how accurate and realistic it felt out of the box, and you can fine tune feedback and such to make it best for your taste including different set ups for the various tracks. For me, the handling alone is enough to justify the purchase of A/C.
The sound is generally quite good, with a few cars perhaps not as great as others. If you have a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system, you are best to put it on regular stereo, as otherwise the spread of the sounds are weak with too much emphasis on the rear to my ears. It sounds better and more realistic in plain stereo. By comparison, with Project cars the sound in 7.1 is better, in stereo it is a close match overall.
The graphics are also very good overall with very clear tracks and cars, and with clear gauges in the cockpit view at all speeds as you race down the road. I think that Project Cars might be a bit prettier overall, (once you fix the distortion in the gauges that occurs at high speeds by going into the settings and TURNING OFF the High Speed Shake) but it is very close. A/C is really clear even if perhaps not quite as beautiful as Project Cars. It maintains high integrity and it runs smoothly and remains crisp without obvious tearing or other problems on my system. I did see one review posted here that claimed A/C was like a “PS2 game”. This is absolutely false and just ridiculous. It certainly is on par with the best out on PS4.
A/C may not be for everyone. I think it is a “must have” for hard core sim racing, and for those who want the most accurate feel of driving. It does have a few problems as an overall game that is competing with such titles as Project Cars and Dirt Rally. The career mode and other features are OK, but not all that immersive. I have been stuck on one race in Career Mode and unless you earn 3rd place or better, you cannot move on in Career Mode as there is no averaging or points used. It is based on placement, (you must earn first, second, or third place in the event to move forward). That can be frustrating, and you cannot adjust the competing A/I cars enough to always get past this dilemma, (and I am a pretty decent driver). The A/I cars also almost never make mistakes and they do not seem to incur penalties when they ram you off the track. As the A/I does not suffer consequences and does not drive off road, they can be hard to beat which causes the races to feel too predictable in a bad way. If I knew they “just might blow it on occasion” I would be much more motivated to race it out until the end. Instead if I get a bad start or bumped off the track, I resort to just giving up and restarting the race. It would really add to the experience if the A/I drove like us humans, mistakes and all. I think I frightened the neighborhood kids and our pets while screaming at the screen once over this irritating issue. It can leave you feeling a bit empty, so you try other events. I still have time to put in, so this is my initial view and as I learn, I will probably feel a bit better about some of this and of beating A/I.
The other events are decent enough. You can drift, do time trials, do solo driving, do quick races and special events. There is also on-line racing. There is fun to be had with this game, but the career mode could be better. I did try on-line racing briefly, and I was impressed with how well it worked. It looked as good as the in-game driving, which is impressive. I did enjoy it, with the exception of some dim wit ramming me on purpose. This is common with on-line racing, but I am hopeful that the A/C on-line community will be a bit more mature and that we can enjoy some good clean racing! Let us behave boys and girls.
Issues and conclusions: When you finish a race, it just suddenly puts you in the pit with a timer running. It feels odd, and at first I thought the game glitched or timed out. It is anti-climatic to just end the race in the pit and is a bit disorienting. The penalties are also rather harsh, and at first I did not realize when it states “10 seconds” you literally cannot touch the gas pedal for that amount of time, or you get more time, then kicked out of the race. You must heed the warnings, and I wish it would just stop the accelerating. Perhaps this is more to real life racing? You get used to it, but it seems harsh for a slight infraction to burn up 10 seconds or more, which is an eternity in race time. This is even worse when the A/I is not under the same constraints.
On rare occasion on some events, my paddle shifter will not always downshift immediately from 4th to 3rd, or 3rd to 2nd, until I hit it again. I am not sure why, but it seems to be the game, not my wheel. It is not a huge problem, but can cause problems in a tight race where control is essential. If you have an H Shifter and clutch, they work nicely without problems. In fact I purposely did not use the clutch a few times when I had on full clutch settings and it would grind and not go into gear when I shifted improperly. I thought that was excellent! The automatic shift works fine, but I prefer to shift manually when racing. I hope this minor downshifting paddle issue, and the other issues get fixed in an update.
The garage could be better organized and clearer, but it works. You can change car settings, (I noted more tire options on Project Cars however). It takes a bit to figure it out, but it works OK. I wish the print was bigger and clearer however, but it is workable. Like in Project Cars, you cannot modify engines and add blowers and exhaust to the cars like you can in GT games, but the cars are fine as they are and realistic. I do not care about unrealistic modifications to cars. I also do not care about painting cars, or about being able to take pictures and post them on line. Those features are not in this game. I just want a good driving experience. The car selection is pretty impressive, and I am sure they will be adding new cars soon as downloads for very little money, or perhaps even free.
Unlike in Project Cars, there are no real weather effects. The races are in daytime. You can select foggy and cloudy, and adjust the time of day as to sunlight, but there is no driving in the rain, the snow, or other such poor conditions currently. I would guess that the developers opted to focus more on the pure physics at the expense of the added weather effects, (an OK exchange I suppose, but I do like to drive in rain and snow, and add lightening and you have another level of fun which is offered in Project Cars and Drive Club).
One really nice touch offered in A/C is that you can turn on the headlights in many of the cars so you can better see the gauges while driving in the cockpit view. I love that, and given the game is at this time only in daylight, it is a welcome feature that really adds realism when you can see the gauges clearly even in sunlight. Does this mean they intend to offer night racing? Hum. For some reason turning on the headlights during the day disappeared in Project Cars, and I miss being able to always see the lit gauges. IF anyone knows a work around for this in Project Cars, please post a comment here.
My overall verdict: This is an excellent game for the pure driving experience. I do wish the A/I was better and more realistic. I also wish that Career Mode was more flexible with a point system, and I would like to have weather effects. I would like to see the few glitches involving A/I cars, downshift issues, and abrupt race endings fixed. I also really hope A/C makes this work with the upcoming Sony VR glasses. I think as a global experience, Project Cars wins, (I also rated that game at 5 stars) and the handling in Project Cars is also quite good, (better than GT 6). I do feel that the car handling in A/C is a bit better than anything else on console right now, which says a lot. A/C is a game for a real purist, and perhaps is a great additional game for gaining access to other cars, like the Ford GT40, some ferrari cars, and for having another sort of experience. It lacks in some areas while excelling in realism. If the career mode is enhanced and the A/I fixed, and VR is added, we would have a 5 star game for sure. I would like to hear the crowd screaming as I finish a race rather than just ending up in the pit lane. Perhaps a victory lap is in order? This is a great game for driving, but with a few fixes it could be even better. I enjoy it a lot, and I hope this review is helpful to you. Happy driving.
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