Assetto Corsa and Dirt Rally are two of the more popular racing games of the past decade. They’re still getting bought and actively played by many.

The question is, if you were to buy one over the other which one would it be?

These are two massively different games however, I’m going to give you a simple answer and a long one.

The simple answer is to buy Assetto Corsa if you want to race on tracks with exotic and performance cars. Buy Dirt Rally if you want a real-life rallying experience.

If that doesn’t answer your question, keep reading to get a more in-depth comparison between the two games.


Comparing Assetto Corsa and Dirt Rally

Dirt Rally and Assetto Corsa probably couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried. The only thing they really have in common is that they’re both racing games.

  • Assetto Corsa is Track & Circuit based – Dirt Rally is special stage rallying
  • Assetto Corsa Cars include road, performance & exotics – Dirt Rally has rally cars
  • Assetto Corsa offers a lot more modding capability and community support

The main difference is the racing discipline. While you can “rally” in Assetto Corsa via mods, it’s nowhere near the level of DR.

You can also drive Aston Martins and Porsches in Dirt Rally, but again these are rally spec cars made for special stage rallying.

I’ve found that Dirt Rally is also a lot more restrictive in its modding capability. Assetto Corsa has many great mods that you can download, whether it’s cars, tracks, or multiplayer modes.

If you’re looking for a full-on sim experience racing performance cars on tracks, choose Assetto Corsa. If you want loose surfaces, sideways driving, and flat out driving choose Dirt Rally.

More into arcade and open-world driving? We compared Dirt Rally 2.0 vs Forza Horizon 5. Perhaps FH5 is the driving experience you’ve been looking for all this time.

Controls

Both games offer wheel and controller support. This is probably the least you’d expect from a modern sim game.

Dirt Rally is very plug and play, simple to use and you don’t have to adjust much if anything when using a controller.

Assetto Corsa on the other hand is pretty hard to setup for a controller. I’ve spent many hours trying to find the sweet spot with scripts, settings, and mods, but it’s still a bit rubbish.

Perhaps It’s a skill level, but it’s certainly not as plug-and-play with a controller as many other games are.

I think the best option is to use a wheel for assetto. However, not everyone has the space, setup, or money to invest in a racing wheel.

In this case, you may want to opt for a different game such as Dirt Rally, Forza, Test Drive, or WRC.

Physics

Both Dirt Rally and Assetto try to replicate real-life driving.

Dirt Rally will have you mastering multiple different surfaces, whether it’s gravel, snow, or asphalt.

The physics engine is built to provide a realistic driving experience on all surfaces. You’ll find yourself going flat out on asphalt, but having a much lower average speed in the snow.

Whereas Assetto Corsa will have you mastering asphalt. The physics engine tends to focus heavily on tire choice, degradation, and track condition.

In both games, you’ll find yourself having to master the way that a car moves.

Using the weight of a car to perform a Scandinavian flick in Dirt Rally and deal with suspension travel is different from aerodynamics on track.

I also found that the weather had a much bigger effect on cars and handling in Assetto Corsa. Dirt Rally feels like it’s more about the location and surface type, rather than rain or grease on the surface.

Graphics

Dirt Rally Start line

If you have the right hardware both of these games can look incredible.

The first Dirt Rally game doesn’t look as good as Dirt Rally 2.0, that’s to be expected as there are 5 years between release.

However, the graphics are great and very immersive. You get a feel for each location that you’re in.

You’re not going to get the experience of driving through the dusty Greek hills or scenic snowy Sweden in assetto.

Assetto Corsa on the other hand offers great graphics out of the package.

You get to experience your favorite real-life circuits and they look so good.

They’re laser scanned so 100% correct to scale and with graphics so good, you won’t have to visit in real life.

Secondly, if you have a capable PC there are so many graphics mods that you can use to make the game look even better.

This is great, because although it looks great and has aged very well. It is still a game that is 10 years old.

Finally, for graphics, Assetto has a lot of free-roam mods and maps. Being able to cruise the scenic user-created maps such as LA Canyons, Shutoko, and even Glen Sheil.

Just cruising around these tracks and taking in the environment is fun and can make for some cool photos.

Performance

Assetto Corsa & Dirt Rally Hardware Requirements

Both of the games are coming up on the 10-year mark, they’ve been patched and newer games have been released since.

This means there’s no more developer support. It also means that all of the issues have been ironed out and fixed. There are also plenty of resources online which can help you solve any problems by yourself.

Overall they have pretty similar minimum and recommended requirements. Although Dirt Rally is slightly more demanding out of the box.

The GPUs that were recommended were mid-high range back then and have now been replaced by much stronger and cheaper hardware.

The same goes for the recommended CPU.

Technology moves a lot in 10 years, I have absolutely no issues running either game on my Intel G4400. This is considered a budget option CPU.

Providing you’ve got a computer that is somewhere between or above the minimum and recommended specs, you’ll have no problems with performance.

Online Play & Community

Assetto Corsa has the better multiplayer by far.

Dirt Rally does have multiplayer, but it’s pretty restricted. The way that rally is, it’s harder to make a smooth and competitive online mode.

Assetto Corsa on the other hand has so many options.

There are race clubs that host proper competitive races. You can drop into casual races using the server browser, or you could even join and play mods online. (providing you’re on PC).

With the right community, Assetto Corsa is an amazing game that will never get boring.

I will say though, the racing requires a lot of thinking. You have to learn how to race with others and race properly, especially if you’re in sim communities.

There’s something for everyone in AC whereas Dirt Rally is a lot more limited.

Modding

The mods for Dirt Rally are mostly just liveries. This is probably because anything else could get you banned from the Racenet servers.

Assetto Corsa on the other hand has an incredible amount of mods on offer. It’s also super easy to control and install these mods using Content Manager.

If you’re someone who enjoys driving lots of different cars, there are a lot of different options with AC mods. You can drive a Go Kart, Volkswagen TDIs, Ladas, Busses, and lawn mowers.

As for the tracks, there are a lot of Touges and hill climbs on offer. There are also a lot of open-world exploration mods.


Assetto Corsa Rally Mods

Assetto Corsa With Rally Mods

Rally mods are actually quite common for Assetto Corsa. There are a lot of rally car mods to bring some of your favorite cars into the game.

There are also a lot of tracks you can download which are made for special stage rallying.

Just because you’re playing Assetto Corsa doesn’t mean you can’t also have a shot at rallying.

However, don’t expect it to feel as good as an actual rally game.

The gravel physics are rather poor in assetto, this is because the game wasn’t designed for rallying.

If you want a good rallying experience, it’s best you go with a Dirt Rally or WRC title.

However, if you’re hell-bent on rallying using Assetto Corsa, there are ways

It’s Personal Preference

At the end of the day, if you want a rallying experience you’re best off choosing a rally game. I’d recommend Dirt Rally, EA WRC, or Richard Burns Rally.

If you’re looking for a sim game with (almost) unlimited possibilities then Assetto Corsa is the game for you.

They’re all great games.

I recommend that you pick up both Dirt Rally and Assetto Corsa. You don’t need to do it straight away, but at every Steam sale, both of them get heavily discounted.

Alternatively, you could use a site like DLCompare to get CDKeys heavily discounted.