Assetto Corsa Goes VR
Racing game Assetto Corsa has finally decided to take the plunge and go VR. Earlier this year, it quietly added support for the gaming mode, bringing the franchise into line with many of its better-known rivals.
A few years ago, the idea that you could have a genuine drifting experience in full VR seemed a little far-fetched. Headsets themselves still lagged in terms of technology. And most GPUs couldn’t provide the horsepower required – if you’ll excuse the pun.
But thanks to advances in technology across the board, you can now have a full VR experience on a modern title. And just in time.
Players of racing games have always wanted the sensation that they are driving virtual vehicles on screen. But previous attempts to convey that feeling weren’t particularly convincing. You could buy a steering wheel and gear lever instead of a handset, but it always felt out-of-touch. Nothing like the real thing.
But now that high-tech gaming has truly arrived, that’s changing. When you play a racing game wearing a VR headset, you genuinely feel like a part of the action.
You Are Not Ready
In principle, wearing a VR headset for Assetto Corsa seems like a good idea. After all, racing simulators naturally lend themselves to the setup. But no matter how much mental prep you do for the experience, you’ll never truly understand the real thing until you try it. And it’s worth the money.
In 2021, developers and hardware suppliers have finally caught up with demand and made VR racing a reality. It genuinely feels like you’re there.
Getting over the fact that it’s not real usually takes a long time. Most never get used to the sensation. As far as your eyes and ears are concerned, you really are driving Lamborghinis around the circuit at 180 mph. And boy do you ever feel it?! You’ll find yourself instinctively leaning into corners, even if no real G forces are acting on your body (except straight down of course).
How Good Is Assetto Corsa’s VR?
So how does Assetto Corsa’s VR work? Well, if you play the game on PC, then you’re in for a treat. The software and hardware work together well, with high-fidelity graphics and relatively few bugs. Critically, the latency between the computer and headset is low, so you shouldn’t experience much motion sickness if any.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the console version. While Assetto Corsa supports Xbox and Playstation VR, the experience is still quite lacking.
If you’re using consoles at the moment, the current advice is to switch to the PC if you want a drifting simulator experience. Then simply download the best mods and enjoy the gaming experience for what it is.
Is VR Assetto Corsa better than a three-monitor setup? Ask most gamers, and they will tell you it is worth it. Getting rid of the bezels and having a full-360-degree experience of the environment changes how the game feels. You’re not trying to simulate being inside the game world – you’re actually there.
The downside is motion sickness. If you have a low-powered gaming rig, this aspect of the experience will rear its ugly head all the time. You’ll give your handset instructions and they will show up on the screen later, giving you all kinds of headaches.
The good news is that most motion sickness doesn’t turn up for the first 45 minutes of gaming. So you can often get in quite a few races until you need a break.
Over time, your body naturally acclimatises to VR. The first few sessions are always the hardest. But once you learn how to accommodate the movement on the VR screen in front of you, nausea will fade. Eventually, you won’t notice it anymore.
Which VR Headset Is Best For Assetto Corsa?
If you haven’t got a VR headset right now, you’re going to need one. But which is best for racing games? Well, that depends on the quality of your computer hardware and personal preferences.
Currently, one of the most popular products on the market is the Oculus Quest 2. This impressive little device comes with a whopping 3664 x 1920 resolution, offering full HD resolutions in both eyes, up to 90 Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gaming. The device also comes with a 100-degree field of view and hand controllers to get the most out of every game.
The only downside of this headset is that you need to log into Facebook to use it. So, from an ownership perspective, it can be a little annoying.
Not keen on that idea? Not to worry: you can always check out the Valve Index. The price tag on this unit is a little unpalatable. And the maximum resolution of 2880 x 1600 isn’t particularly high. But that doesn’t matter because the 120 Hz refresh rate makes up for it. Provided you have the graphics horsepower to back it up, this headset lets you experience VR how its creators intended. You get a massive field of vision and pretty decent sound.
Should You Buy A Wheel To Go With It?
Even if you buy a VR head, you still won’t be able to simulate the precise feeling of racing on Assetto Corsa if all you have is a controller. Ultimately, you’ll be pressing buttons, not manipulating pedals and a steering wheel.
Whether you buy a controller steering wheel and pedals, therefore, is an entirely personal choice. Thrustmaster makes some good products that sometimes feel like regular vehicles. If you want to take the experience up a notch, you might want to go for something a little more premium, such as the Fanatec Clubsport. It’s about as expensive as a regular car. But it can totally change your experience of the game.
Getting Your PC Ready
Lastly, you’ll need to get your PC ready for VR Assetto Corsa. Recommended specs are high, so you may need to upgrade your rig. You need 16GB of RAM, Windows 10, and an NVIDIA 970 or Radeon 400 Series or better to play it.