Brazilian development team Reiza Studios – also known as Stock Car Extreme and Formula Truck 2013 – worked around the clock and over the weekends to refine, polish and improve their platform. virtual racing, Automobilista 2.

I know they worked so many hours because the updates come in regularly on a Saturday …

The title was first released in Early Access in April 2020, before the launch of v1.0 two months later, and since then through a series of free updates and paid DLC (the full season pass costs currently £ 79.99 / € 89.99 / $ 99.99) has grown steadily since.

In a bold move, the team moved away from the ISImotor2 game engine that powered the 2016 original and switched to Slightly Mad Studios’ MADNESS engine that was previously the basis for titles such as Shift 2 Unleashed, Test Drive Ferrari. Legends and Project CARS.

While some have decried this Switch, what it now offers are improved visuals, ear piercing sound, virtual reality, and dynamic weather.

This latest update, along with a new set of paid content, doesn’t necessarily fix the major issues for those with forklifts, but it does remind you of how much fun the AMS2 can have.

The Monza bundle is available now for £ 7.99 / € 89.99 / $ 9.99 and it offers seven layouts in total to get the Cathedral to speed up. Among these is the short “Junior” layout and contemporary setup that you’ve probably covered thousands of virtual miles in other titles before.

However, the most expensive items are the 1971 and 1991 layouts.

Taking the track first in the 30-year-old layout, the second Lesmo is faster than usual, the Variante della Roggia has a deeper braking zone and the curb is of a vintage variety, without sausage.

The Rettifilo Variant is the real star here. It’s still a delicate, narrow chicane, but with four corners in total, there is more flow than its current setup. I much prefer it to the current design and paired with the fictitious Formula V12 type F1 single-seater it also sounds a lot better.

The details also go beyond the layout, thanks to the time-specific environments of Automobilista 2. Monza looked resplendent with an autumnal browning of the surrounding trees. My favorite decoration is the retro Lancia Delta and Fiat Uno advertising as they approach the Curva Parabolica.

The free-revving engine is sonorous, the track details on par with the Sistine Chapel and the smile on my face wider than someone who just won EuroMillions.

Somehow it got even bigger by taking Formula Vintage – again, the fictional variety – for a ride around the now 50-year-old 10km setup.

For those unfamiliar with it, the main baffles are nonexistent, and when you exit the current last turn you are driving parallel to the main starting straight into what has become the pit lane before entering the steep incline. and bumpy.

The steeple curves are still there today, used for the Monza Rally, but here in my virtual world I am spinning at full speed in the rutted concrete of a fragile minivan and my eyes are on the rods.

Until I took a break, because I had forgotten how good AMS2’s photo mode was. Hell, that takes a good photo even on featherweight material.

This is where Automobilista 2 excels. The sights, the sounds, the atmosphere. Pieces from a bygone era, which seem to be a key skill of the Reiza team. Drive to soak up the details, to feel like you’re in the past, to keep memories alive from altered tracks like the original Hockenheimring or the baffled Spa-Francorchamps bus stop.

If you are heavily into a particular racing sim platform, you may be the one posting to Reddit or tire model and force feedback forums. I understand. But Automobilista 2 can offer a unique experience and that is why it can coexist.

Turn up the volume, use the cockpit camera, select a retro car and a vintage track. Drive like the hybrid era doesn’t exist.

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