ASSETTO CORSA is one of the most popular racing games, and includes the most iconic and purposed cars and tracks, featuring an advanced DirectX 11 graphics engine that recreates an immersive environment, dynamic lighting and realistic materials and surfaces. Designed to provide a highly realistic driving experience, our advanced physics engine includes features and aspects of real cars never before seen in any other racing simulator, such as tyre flat spots, heat cycles including graining and blistering, a highly advanced aerodynamic simulation with active movable aerodynamics parts controlled in real time by telemetry input channels, hybrid systems and energy recovery simulation. An extremely detailed simulation with single player and multiplayer options, ASSETTO CORSA lines up exclusive licensed cars reproduced with the highest accuracy thanks to the official cooperation of car manufacturers.

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 right now. It’s 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.

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.

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, too 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.

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 – you will need plenty of that!, enter Quick Races, a Race Weekend, the online multiplayer, 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.

SADLY 60 FPS is 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.

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.

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 as each car has its own interior detailed right down to every stitch.