Assetto Corsa racing to PlayStation VR
If you’re going to make a simulation nowadays, then offering the full, immersive experience is a must.
Italian developer Kunos Simulazioni has chosen a good year to dive into the hardcore racing simulation genre with its game Assetto Corsa. Genre stalwart Forza Motorsport has taken the year off to focus on its more arcade spin-off series, Horizon, and Sony is gearing up for the first genuine mainstream push of virtual reality via its PlayStation 4 console.
Racing games are awesome in VR, too. It’s a genre that instantly benefits from the improved depth perception that comes with actually sitting in the driver’s seat. Project CARS is a comparable game to Assetto Cora that I’ve played on Oculus Rift, and once you’ve experienced racing in VR, going back to a controller is devolution defined. Looking into the apex of corners; peering over the steering wheel; flicking your eyes towards your mirrors; hearing the engine roar around you – it’s just so damn good.
Sydney just played host to a launch event for Assetto Corsa, and while nobody from the development team was on hand, the local distributor was there to proudly show off the title. Recalling my Project CARS experience, I asked if virtual reality was on the cards for Assetto Corsa, and was rewarded with confirmation that it was a coming feature. According to the Australian distributor, PlayStation VR support will be patched into Assetto Corsa post-release.
Given that the game is out six weeks before PlayStation VR, I suspect then that the game will be patched at the PlayStation VR launch on 13 October. Kunos Simulazioni would be unwise to hold off on the feature, given that rival product Gran Turismo Sport will be arriving on 16 November with VR support – at that point, Assetto Corsa will quickly head down the pecking order. Regardless of the comparable quality of the two games, Gran Turismo Sport is a first-party title with huge brand awareness, and will undoubtedly be one of the biggest selling games of Christmas.
As for Assetto Corsa, what I played at the launch event I quite enjoyed. In true simulation fashion, slow cars are painfully slow, fast cars and blisteringly fast, and every corner, straight and off-road excursion demands delicate feathering of the clutch, accelerator, brake and steering wheel to be manhandled into submission. I was impressed by how aggressive the AI behaved in gaining track position, and there’s a strong roster of 80 vehicles and 16 tracks with which to experiment. I had particular fun throwing a Ford Escort around Monza, and feeling that lateral drift on the tyres as I threw it through the corners.
The arrival of VR to the title would only help strengthen its case and will be essential to keeping it relevant post Gran Turismo Sport. We’ll keep you on any official confirmation - Assetto Corsa is out on August 25 for PS4 and Xbox One, and is already available on PC via Steam Early Access.
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