Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomas Barry 23.02.2017

Review for Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 on PlayStation 4

Kunos Simulazioni's critically acclaimed Assetto Corsa introduces a range of Porsche cars to its library, from the iconic and legendary likes of the 911 RSR 3.0, to the modern GT cars, and roadworthy vehicles such as the 911 Carrera S, not forgetting some of the more extreme, seemingly untameable cars in Porsche's history, such as the 935/78 Moby Dick.

Considering the high praise Assetto Corsa deservedly receives for its impressively well realised racing simulator experience, there's no doubt jealously may have erupted in console players who have endured a much longer wait for all of the three Porsche DLC car packs to arrive. PC owners received the full set by the end of last year, while the second pack finally dropped onto consoles in January, along with the Red Pack. The third Porsche pack only recently released, on February 13th. With all DLC for Assetto Corsa now available on console, we step behind the virtual wheel of twenty-one vehicles from the legendary German car manufacturer, tested with a Logitech G29 wheel on PlayStation 4.

With console delays in mind, it seems quite fortunate that all three packs of seven cars feature a mix of vehicle types, as nobody with a preference misses out. This also makes it easier to objectively appreciate each release on its own merit, though this review will draw conclusions about the three packs as a whole. Keep in mind that a season pass includes all Porsche content plus the previously reviewed Red pack and Drift pack, plus the 40 special events that will be added with the next update. Even better, in a recent blog 505 indicated that private lobbies, a crux of the PC version and sim racers in general, will see the light of day on consoles in the near future. This will definitely level the playing field, especially considering the high fidelity that the console versions produce, which may look better than on a mid-budget computer that's pushing four years plus.

Screenshot for Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 on PlayStation 4

Enough about updates - the Porsche brand coming to Assetto Corsa is big news. The game's impressive physics engine really represents these unique vehicles like no other racing sim out there, with a certain weight and reflection that only the likes of iRacing can equal in terms of realism and precision of driving experience. Assetto Corsa often seems to have the edge, simply because the weight transfer of the vehicles is so impressively translated when behind a driving wheel like the Logitech G29. While playing with a pad is okay, anyone really interested in knowing what it's like to keep a 78 Moby Dick on track needs a wheel. The accuracy and authenticity is one advantage, but it's the detailed force feedback, which is felt and interpreted by the driver, that makes going back to a pad practically unthinkable.

The first Porsche pack offers a decent range of classic vehicles, with the Porsche 917/30 Spyder that dominated Le Mans in 1973, the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 from 1974, which was purpose built to dominate the GT category at Le Mans, as well as the previously mentioned Porsche 935/78, affectionately nicknamed Moby Dick for its giant whale-like tail, optimised for low drag. There's no denying this side of pack one provides an exciting challenge, as these are some of the most ferocious vehicles built by man. Driving them also underlines how racing has evolved, since comparing these cars to their modern counterparts, the player will feel and sense the vast differences in handling and behaviour instantly. Think of all the daredevils who crashed out at Le Mans hours down, when you crash the 917/30 in the same place, for the fifth time in a row. A whole new appreciation will be gained! These cars were an ideal counter-balance to inject into the console version of Assetto Corsa early on.

Screenshot for Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 on PlayStation 4

The contrast to these wild and challenging classics are the relatively tame modern road-cars offered by pack one, the 718 Cayman S and the 911 Carrera S, which offer the calmest and tidiest drives of the set by some margin. They're definitely nice cars to fall back on, especially as the more raw and powerful vehicles can be frustrating to get to grips with on tighter complex tracks.

The modern GT cars offer very compelling drives, and are bound to be competitive in race situations. The Porsche 918 Spyder, from 2015, is probably one of the most impressive hypercars in the game. It's authentically represented with all its technology, like active aero and the hybrid ERS system, authentically implemented. Finding traction is notably easier in this vehicle than in comparable hypercars. This translates to better stability and improved lap times, though its added weight must be handled carefully and needs to be accounted for.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport is a lightweight mid-engine sports car, built specifically for the track. This performs like a dream, allowing for a very smooth and enjoyable driving experience. The vehicle invites the driver to test its limits, and overall is very forgiving. This seems like the perfect car to race in intense, competitive parties, since there's little chance of a minor error becoming a major incident. It's definitely the most usable car in pack one, though perhaps the most memorable was destined to be the 935/78 Moby Dick, a polar contrast in many ways.

Screenshot for Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 on PlayStation 4

The second pack offers a similar range of modern and classic Porsche vehicles. The Porsche 919 hybrid that won Le Mans 2015 stands out on the modern side, as it's incredibly demanding, requiring quick reactions and a lot of composure, but it's also one of the fastest and most dynamic cars available in Assetto Corsa. The 911 GT1 performs similarly, though it's a tad more unpredictable in comparison, making it harder to consistently squeeze for seconds or positions until the driver really knows the car and track.

Elsewhere, the classic Porsche 962c, an iconic sports-prototype racing car from the mid-eighties, is a thrilling experience with surprisingly smooth handling. While the short tail seems to be a little quicker generally, the long-tail variation is definitely the more intensely enjoyable experience. The legendary vehicle's raw speed can be intimidating, but easing up to its maximum efficiency on track is a challenging but satisfying grind. It's another nostalgic addition that vastly improves the Assetto Corsa library.

The last classic vehicle of the second pack is the Porsche 718 Spyder RS, which was hugely successful within endurance racing, as well as the European hill climb events, in the sixties and seventies. It sounds suitably wild and certainly has an edge to it, although it does seem a little more forgiving than it ought to be for a vehicle of that era and nature. That said it's still a very unique car, quite unlike anything else available.


 
In terms of road-worthy modern vehicles, there's the Porsche 911 GT3, which is a fast, ergonomic and fun drive (especially for a road vehicle) but somehow still not particularly distinctive in present company. The Porsche Cayman GT4 seems a fairly pointless addition given the superior Clubsport version was released in the first pack, but it's there, if only for comparison's sake, which can be an interesting test to conduct.

Then there's the Porsche 718 Boxster S, both the manual transmission model and the PDK. The former is livelier and provides a more joyful and visceral driving experience, especially as the handling is so smooth. However, unless the driver is a real expert, the PDK model will generally be faster. When composure wavers a little in a prickly situation it's definitely easier to calm down, making it the safer choice but not the most exhilarating one.

The long awaited third and final Porsche pack, which only went live for the console versions last week, is, thankfully, worth the wait. It's fairly focused on modern-day racing vehicles, featuring the entire 911 racing line, but also offers a couple of intriguing vintage selections.

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The Porsche 919 Hybrid 2016, a modern beast of Le Mans, is a thrilling drive, definitely easier to keep under control compared to the 2015 model. The engine sounds authentically tenacious, and the car looks great inside and out. It is, however, a thoroughly intimidating drive initially. It's so cramped in the cockpit, visibility is very poor and there are significant blind spots that drivers will need to adjust to. Once it's all in check though, the 911 Hybrid 2016 is scarily powerful and efficient.

The highly-anticipated Porsche 911 R, which is based on a 911 GT3, is an outstanding manual transmission vehicle, which many have been awaiting with bated breath. The car can be thrown around turns without any hint of protest, largely due to its AWD technology, which is really well translated here, providing the car with a convincing and palpable cutting edge. It has insane grip, ideal for drivers seeking the best and most confident combination of speed, versatility and safety. Conversely, the adventurous type of driver will get the sense they're being dared to be wild, as its equally enabling for that approach. Either way, it's without doubt one of the most versatile and joyful cars across all three packs.

The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is a very elegant car in most senses, though as there isn't any traction control, there can be moments of slight over-steer to iron out. While wild movement is guaranteed to unsettle the car, it's not difficult to handle overall, so long as the driver is smooth and mindful. By comparison, the Porsche GT3 R, a custom model built for private racing, definitely is the more powerful of the two. This makes it a little more prone to throwing out its back end. It's faster and lighter, but on the other hand a little harsher. It does however, feature programmable traction control which is another impressive and genuinely useful detail.

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The last modern vehicle on offer is the Porsche 911 Turbo S, a brutish juggernaut of a sports car if there ever was one. It can be a little overwhelming with its sheer power, requiring a lot of care and attention to eliminate errors. Its heaviness is extremely noticeable through corners, and tough to consistently wrestle with. It's more than likely that drivers will need to amend their usual approach to breaking lines for this one, and be prepared to make big unexpected lifts, on occasion, just to stay on track.

In the way of classics, the third Porsche pack brings two new vehicles to the table. The stunning Porsche 908 Lang Heck, made famous at Le Mans in the late sixties, is an incredibly authentic experience. Its engine audio is very convincing; with a really fluid yet gritty quality to it that distinguishes itself very well. On the track, it's a thrilling but also suitably challenging task to keep the car in one piece. It's very fast for the time, but its driver must be mindful of the poor brakes and vintage tyres which won't allow much braking whilst turning. That said, in terms of capturing the essence of a vehicle, it's been done expertly here.

The other vintage offering is the Porsche 917 Kurzheck, which arrived in 1969 with an array of aerodynamic adjustments that made the 917 competitive again. It's another very aesthetically pleasing model, with excellent audio again. This is notably easier to drive than the Lang Heck, largely because it amends its biggest issue, not being able to brake whilst turning at all. This might mean drivers end up racing with a more modern approach than is realistic, but arguably, the inclusion of such cars is also an opportunity to learn about how the science of racing has evolved. So ultimately, that hardly matters.

Screenshot for Assetto Corsa: Porsche Pack Volume 1-3 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Reflecting on all three packs, especially considering the somewhat frustrating and controversial exclusive licence that Porsche was previously (and presumably regrettably) tied into, the pressure most certainly was on Kunos Simulazioni to handle the project with care. Assetto Corsa, with its top-class physics engine, sim-based ethos and outstanding attention to technical detail, is the ideal place to showcase the iconic German car manufacturer's full range of creations. Although other serious sim racers, such as iRacing, are now adding Porsche cars into their ranks, too, none currently come even close to rivalling the sheer scale of choice of model, nor the authenticity, as seen in Assetto Corsa. An outstanding set of download content for dedicated racing fans.

Developer

Kunos Simulazioni

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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