On the 15th of July, Kunos Studios released their all-new GT4 car pack on the Steam Store for £17.99 and I just can’t get enough of it. Instead of oggling at these artistic masterpieces, I decided to put them each through their paces around Zandvoort.
The pack includes 11 brand new GT4 spec cars from the official 2019 European series, sporting a wide range of official liveries that users can build on with the livery editor.
From the get-go, Kunos’ attention to detail is second to none. The car models are extraordinary, as has come to be expected of them in recent years. I was happily clicking through the different cars at my disposal to find my favorite liveries, in awe of the overall beauty of each car’s exquisite 3D modeling inside and out.
Something that struck me straight away was the very different design ethics behind each car in the series. At first glance, it’s hard to imagine the small, sleek and nimble shape of the Alpine vs the great lumbering hulk of the Camero.
Straight away, I was blown away by the sound design. I used to think Raceroom Racing Experience was the be-all and end-all of fantastic sound design but ACC has raised the bar again. The sound quality is just what any racer would expect from this title, having experienced the GT3 class beforehand.
The cars sound amazing, with no exception. I do of course have my favorites; namely, the BMW and Maserati are in a class of their own in. What makes ACC sound design stand out for me has to be the mix of engine notes with suspension movement, chassis flex and floor scraping, creating an incredibly intense racing ambiance.
I drove each for 4 or 5 laps and recorded my times. My worries about the competitiveness of such different car designs were dispelled by the timing sheets. After just a few tire warm-up laps I was able to post 1:46/1:47 lap times with each car. The whole field covered by just a second creating a really interesting performance dynamic within the GT4 category.
While all the cars’ overall lap times are similar, they differ massively in how they handle. It creates an exciting prospect for dynamic racing, especially in longer 1 hour plus races where tyre wear and strategy become a factor.
While some cars, such as the Alpine, Ginetta and KTM are nimble and light, they lack the speed of the Camero and Audi. Then there are the all-rounders, including the BMW, Porsche and Mercedes. This could be the perfect setup for great racing where position changes are regular and side by side action is commonplace.
The reason I say this is because the GT3 class has to be driven in a very specific and rather rigid way in order to be rewarded by fast lap times. However, the handling of the GT4s allows for more scope for different driving techniques as well as a wide range of cars specialised for different types of performance, each lending itself to a unique driving approach.
I tested my close racing hopes against real people in a few online lobbies and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Starting in 3rd in my first ever race, I spent 15 minutes of the 20-minute race fighting and jostling for position before finally making the move stick for the lead, and winning by only a 1-second margin.
In every race, I have changed my car and in each race, I have felt competitive. I am yet to race a multiclass event but I’m sure that will be a blast too. It is a disappointment however that multiclass is not a part of singleplayer racing, especially as Kunos seems to be pushing the endurance multiclass agenda in the online scene.
For £17.99 I would have hoped for that feature in offline as well as online, especially as racing against the ACC AI is a genuinely challenging and enjoyable experience.
Amongst other noteworthy new features introduced alongside the GT4 DLC is a new interactive track map with car icons notifying those on track about who is currently on a hot lap or an in-lap, as well as different car classes. This feature is a quality of life improvement that will help ease some of the confusion and chaos that is likely to ensue as multiclass racing is introduced.
Overall, the GT4 DLC is exceptionally fun and exceptionally well made. Any doubts I had about the longevity of a sim so focused on one or two racing series have been quashed. In my opinion, the cars are actually more fun to drive than the GT3s, with more space for the driver to drive the car how they would prefer.
Each car feels unique and as such offers a new and exciting challenge for any driver hopping from one car to the next in that quest for the perfect GT4.
On that note, I’m glad to say there seems to be no ‘perfect GT4’. The BoP in the class makes each car feel competitive in its own right. They all have strengths and weaknesses and I’m thoroughly looking forward to driving every single car in online racing experience.
For the sake of ease of access and review useability, I am going to include some ratings for aspects of the game accompanied by a short justification.
Graphics 9/10 – Stunning car models and fantastic interaction with the environment they exist in (e.g. lighting, especially during day to night transition). The game still isn’t as well optimised as I would like it to be but it’s certainly getting there with each major update.
Sound 9/10 – One of the best sounding racing games on the market, the new GT4 cars are no exception with each sounding unique and authentic.
Handling 8/10 – Even according to real GT drivers, ACC is about as accurate as it gets in its depiction of GT3 race cars and it seems Kunos have managed to create an authentic GT4 experience as well. I still find the force feedback could be more informative however I do not pretend to be a real race driver and as such, take the word of David Perel etc over mine regarding these things.
Variety 10/10 – This pack includes such a fantastic collection of vehicles with very different handling allowing for a varied and exciting driving experience. The racing never gets old (who can get bored of close racing?!).
Price 6/10 – At £17.99 I would recommend you buy this pack, especially if you are already an ACC or a GT fan, or even if you just love close racing. For those, less hardcore ACC fans, maybe wait until a Steam sale.
Longevity/replayability 7.5/10 – I am interested to see what the league racing scene will look like with the introduction of the GT4 class as I expect there to be some interesting endurance races on the horizon. The pack will offer up many hours of driving time as each car is a different driving experience from the last.