Porsche is in the midst of a triumphant (and long overdue) return to sim racing after years of contractual tyranny from EA. The exclusive contract that the Need for Speed publishers had with Porsche for more than a decade is officially over, which allowed for the legendary brand to break free and run for the loving arms of Kunos Simulazioni, the developers behind one my personal favorite racing sims, Assetto Corsa. That new relationship allowed for Kunos to introduce a total of 26 new and historic Porsches to Assetto Corsa before any other franchise could.
The Porsches are available as three DLC packs for $6.99 each or as a $15.09 season pass; I reviewed the first one and gave some driving impressions with each of the cars, but this is a more general review of all three content packs to give you a more general idea of what to expect.
This is the part where I ask an open ended question about whether this is any good for the purpose of adding click bait.
Then I pause for dramatic effect.
Now I vaguely hint at whether or not it’s any good and tell you to click “continue reading” to see the rest of it.
Did it work? Great!
In these three Porsche Packs, we get a wide variety of cars to pick from which gives us a proper taste of their motorsport history and even their current lineup. Allegedly, part of the deal Kunos struck with Porsche called for adding in a large portion of the cars you can buy from showrooms today for promotional reasons, so the same packs that bring you monsters like the 917 K and 935 also bring normal cars like the Macan Turbo and 718 Boxster S.
All in all, it’s a comprehensive DLC pack that allows anyone with the hardware to sample their products – you know, the main appeal to licensing deals with video game publishers.
The car list
To briefly recap the cars in Porsche Pack 1, the brand was introduced with some heavy hitters. This pack included the following:
- 2017 911 (991.2) Carrera S
- 1978 935 “Moby Dick”
- 918 Spyder
- Cayman GT4 Clubsport
- 2017 718 Cayman S
- 1973 917/30 Spyder
- 1974 911 Carrera RSR 3.0
- 2017 Panamera Turbo (free bonus car for everyone)
This was a hell of a way to bring Porsche back to sim racing in over a decade. The quality of each car’s model, driving physics, sounds, and overall feel made a great first impression that set the bar pretty high for the rest of the pack. It was good enough to make me want to ramble on about each and every car’s experience in the game. If you want more detailed thoughts on those cars, go here.
Porsche Pack 2 piles on more legendary race cars from the company’s rich competition history as well as some modern favorites. The cars added here are:
- 2016 911 (991) GT3 RS
- 1960 718 Spyder RS
- Cayman GT4
- 2017 718 Boxster S Manual Transmission
- 2017 718 Boxster S PDK
- 2015 919 Hybrid
- 1998 911 GT1
- 962c Long Tail
- 962c Short Tail
- Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (free bonus car for everyone)
And then Porsche Pack 3 tops it all off with:
- 2017 911 GT3 Cup
- 2015 911 GT3 R
- 2017 911 Turbo S*
- 2016 919 Hybrid
- 908 LH
- 2017 911 R
- 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo (free bonus car for everyone)
- *NOTE: The 2017 911 RSR (the mid-engine one racing in WEC and WSCC this year) was originally intended for PP3, but it’s been delayed till sometime this month. The 911 Turbo S is its replacement. Whenever the RSR is ready, it will be released at no additional cost to those who own PP3 or the season pass.
All three packs are currently out on the PC version while both PS4 and Xbox One versions are a few months behind the release schedule. Only PP1 is out at the moment on XB1 but PS4 is up to PP2 now with the others on their way… eventually.
So if you’re a console racer waiting for the rest of the cars to drop or a PC player wondering if it’s worth the money, let me be the first to tell you it certainly is. I would say you’d need at least some appreciation of Porsche to get the most out of this obviously, but brand loyalty aside, there are some real gems here that absolutely must be experienced.
With the exception of the modern 718s which are variations of the same car, every Porsche in the game offers a completely different sensation. Every car sounds unique, acts differently, and requires a whole new strategy when jumping from one to the other. You aren’t able to drive any of these cars as you would another and that’s especially true with the race cars, all of which span a some 57 year gap in racing technology.
For example, the 911 GT1 (one of my absolute favorites) is a car that you drive with flick of a wrist. It’s nimble, firmly planted at speed, and is incredibly precise. Compare that to something like the 917 K which needs to be coerced through corners with flying elbows and verbal insults, you begin to understand the level of detail that went into creating each of these digital cars with a driving experience that’s as realistic as possible.
Even the rear-engine cars have believable pendulum effects that dictate how they need to be driven. It’s less of an issue with the newer 991 generation cars, which I’m told from trusted sources (our resident Porsche nut) is accurate given the advance in technology and engineering over the years. It’s so accurate in fact that you hear Bradley scream internally when you drive the 2017 911 R.
And then when you hop in the 911 GT3 R against a field of other GT3 cars, the benefits of the rear-engine layout come into play and can give you a real advantage, if used properly.
But beyond the driving physics, the rest of the driving experience feels so well done. I’m talking about the sounds, the fully modeled cockpits that you immerse yourself in, and some of the extra details that they’ve gone above and beyond with.
Assetto Corsa has always had some of the most accurate sounds in the business and they’ve done these Porsches right as well. All of the engines sound as you’d expect them to; from unique roar of a flat twelve to the howl of a flat six, it’s all there. Even the whining and clacking from the gearbox, the glorious 80’s turbo noises, and the annoying high-pitched whine of the 919’s KERS system are all spot on.
Their obsession with the details even goes as far as having functional pull knobs for the light switches on older cars (it’s the little things), functional retractable wings on the modern road cars, and even an accurate recreation of the 908 LH’s brilliant suspension-activated ailerons that work in game (which I suggest you read about over on FlatSixes – some guy wrote an excellent piece about it).
I’ll sum everything up by saying this: I have 184 hours in this game as of writing and own every content pack they’ve released… this is the best work they’ve done yet.
I feel a lot of that comes down to the intimate partnership that Porsche and Kunos formed, meaning Porsche were perhaps willing to share more technical data and provide more exclusive access to the cars, as indicated by their plans to include the new 911 RSR before it’s even seen competition yet. Kunos definitely felt some pressure too because Porsche’s return to games that aren’t Need for Speed and the occasional Forza expansion needed to be good. It had to be good. Fortunately, it is good.
Therefore, yes, if you have at least some appreciation for Porsche or any interest at all in the cars that any one of these packs adds to Assetto Corsa, Porsche Packs 1-3 are worth your time.
[All images were captured in game on my PC, so not every livery you see is included in the game and they only work with the PC version. Links to the original artist’s work are given as needed.]