Free-to-play sim racer Victory: The Age of Racing has entered the third stage of its open beta programme, adding steering wheel support, a new Hot Lap Party online mode and additional assists along with a host of improvements and bug fixes.
It's surprising to find it's taken so long for Age of Racing, a game that bills itself as a simulation, to support steering wheels, but this update will no doubt be crucial in helping the developers attract sim fanatics. We're told that assists will be automatically switched off when using a wheel to deliver a more authentic experience.
The addition of Hot Lap Party is essentially a multiplayer time trial mode – players must set their fastest time before the end of the event, whilst records are relayed in real time on the new HUD which also displays overtakes and sector times. Up to 100 players can join a single Hot Lap Party.
The final most significant addition in the update is what the developer calls 'Intelligent Driving Assistance.' By default, the system will memorise the track and automatically brake depending on your car's performance points, engine and tires, and a visual racing line can also be activated. Again, optional assists aren't exactly foreign to ardent racing game fans, but they could still be useful to novice players in need of some stabilisers whilst getting to grips with the driving mechanics, thus broadening its appeal to casual players.
Developed by Vae Victis, an independent studio based in Italy, Victory: The Age of Racing joins the increasingly congested road of online free-to-play racing games that generates its revenue from micro-transactions, which is a bit of a sore subject right now with the controversy surrounding the recent release of Real Racing 3.
What sets it apart, however, is its in-depth car customisation. There are no set car models in the game – you have to build your own car entirely from scratch using a three block system that lets you select pre-built sectors for the front, middle and rear of the car. From here, you can then personalise your machine by adding paint jobs, adorning it with stickers and tweaking its performance attributes. Three car classes are available, Rookie, Semi Pro and Pro, which unlock as you level up, although you can purchase licenses that automatically level you up.
There's a story, too. Set in 2062, The Age of Racing follows an exclusive racing club known as the Racing Authority that aims to bring racing back to its roots after the Government introduced a new mode of transportation known as Pods that effectively banned the use of cars due to oil conflicts. The Racing Authority then recycled old auto parts to form the Age of Racing, which explains the wacky car designs and vintage aesthetic of the Formula One-style cars.
Despite its futuristic premise, Victory: The Age of Racing bills itself as a full fat simulation with realistic handling. We've yet to test it for ourselves however so we can't vouch on how it handles yet, but it certainly sounds as if there are enough assists to suit both casual players and sim players alike.
We'll have some video content on Victory: Age of Racing coming soon. In the meantime, you can sign up to the free beta over on their official website, and show your support to the developers by voting for Victory: The Age of Racing on Steam's Greenlight.