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In-Depth Comparison: rFactor 2 vs. Automobilista 2

AMS2 photography

Featured image: WSC Group C (AMS2)

If you’re reading this, you’re a sim racer, and, if you’re a sim racer, you’ll know just how remarkably sim racing has evolved offering (close to) experiences that closely mimic real-world racing. Among the plethora of options available, rFactor 2 and Automobilista 2 stand out, each offering their own unique experiences. This article delves into a detailed comparison of these two simulators, drawing on community feedback and technical analysis to guide both seasoned and new sim racers in making an informed choice.

AMS2 Photography
AMS2 has superior photography features

Game Development and Content Provided

rFactor 2, is the veteran (OG) in the sim racing world, has developed a reputation for its intricate physics and modding capabilities over its eight-year lifespan. And let’s not forget that I rate the physics as the best in any sim title, so, if you can get past the UI (ready our guide for that), you’re going to have a good time.

rfactor2 photography
rfactor2 photography

In contrast, Automobilista 2, a newer entrant, has rapidly expanded its content and features, offering a modern package that includes a diverse range of car classes and a physical tire model. While rFactor 2’s modding community adds depth and variety, Automobilista 2’s base content is generally considered more robust and comprehensive.

User Interface (UI) and Experience

User interface and overall user experience significantly influence the appeal of basically all sim software. rFactor 2 has faced criticism (to put it mildly) for its less intuitive and somewhat cumbersome UI, which can detract from its otherwise immersive experience.

rFactor2’s UI has improved massively in the last year

To be fair, the rFactor2 team have spent a considerable amount of time improving the UI, so newer users may be surprised at how easy it seems, compared to what people say. Automobilista 2, on the other hand, is often lauded for its user-friendly interface and visually appealing graphics, enhancing its accessibility to a broader range of players.

AMS2 UI doesn’t look much different to rFactor2’s

Physics and Realism

Everything about sim racing software is in its physics and realism. rFactor2 is widely acclaimed for its advanced physics engine and realistic force feedback, which makes it a lot of fun to drive. However, its graphics are viewed as outdated compared to the more visually striking Automobilista 2.

AMS2 Photography
More excellent Group C photography from AMS2

The latter has made significant strides in improving its physics and realism, narrowing the gap with rFactor 2 and making it a strong competitor in terms of overall driving experience. Personally, I’d always choose physics over graphics, although I’d never say no to the perfect combination of both!

rfactor2 photography
rFactor2 Photography

Muliplayer and AI racing

Multiplayer capabilities and AI quality are crucial for a rounded sim racing experience. Both rFactor 2 and Automobilista 2 have their strengths and weaknesses in these areas, although rFactor2’s development of its online platform is moving ahead very quickly. While neither is currently dominant in multiplayer offerings, both provide potential through various leagues and third-party platforms. Automobilista 2 is frequently praised for its AI, ranking it among the top sim racing games.

Accessibility and Content Availability

The ease of accessing content is a significant factor for many sim racers. rFactor 2 requires players to download content, including official items, from the Steam workshop, which can be a cumbersome process.

AMS2 Photography

Automobilista 2, while offering a visually more appealing package, often places popular tracks behind a paywall, requiring additional purchases. This aspect is crucial to consider when evaluating the overall cost and accessibility of each game.

rfactor2 photography

Community Feedback and Ongoing Development

Community feedback is invaluable in understanding the evolving landscape of sim racing. Automobilista 2 has been commended for its consistent updates and improvements, reflecting a responsive development approach. This contrasts with rFactor 2, where some players express frustration over persistent AI issues and a perceived stagnation in certain areas. However, rFactor 2’s open “moddability” remains a unique draw for a segment of the community.

Driving Experience and Force Feedback

The subjective nature of driving experience and force feedback is a pivotal aspect of this comparison. While rFactor 2 is often preferred for its superior tire model and nuanced force feedback, Automobilista 2 has gained traction for its enjoyable and “good enough” driving feel. This sentiment reflects a shift in community preferences, with some players valuing the overall package and user experience over minute technical superiority.

Mods and Customisation

Modding plays a significant role in the longevity and diversity of a sim racing game.

AMS2 Photography
The photo options really are astonishing in AMS2

rFactor 2’s strength lies in its extensive modding capabilities, allowing for a wide range of custom content. Automobilista 2, lacking in this aspect, focuses more on delivering a polished and comprehensive base game.

AI and Single-Player Experience

In terms of AI and single-player experience, Automobilista 2 is often the preferred choice. Its AI is considered among the best in sim racing games, offering a challenging and realistic racing experience. rFactor 2, despite its advanced physics, has been criticized for ongoing AI issues, affecting its single-player appeal.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, the choice between rFactor 2 and Automobilista 2 may boil down to personal preferences and specific interests within sim racing. While rFactor2 offers a technically advanced and mod-friendly environment, Automobilista 2 provides a more modern, user-friendly, and visually appealing package. Both games have their distinct strengths and cater to different aspects of the sim racing spectrum, making them valuable in their own right to the sim racing community. To be fair my best advice is try them both!

In-Depth Comparison: rFactor 2 vs. Automobilista 2