Now while there have been several successful interpretations of sport series in video games. Some series have been a bit less successful. Which brings me onto the World Rally Championship, which had a good start as a PlayStation 2 exclusive and peaked with WRC: Rally Evolved. Then after a 5-year hiatus, it was brought back with Milestone in the driving seat for the fact didn’t rip up the track but was just “Solid”. It has continued somewhat lately since 2015 when Kylotonn took over the rights its sort of been a holding pattern since.
So, let’s start with the crib sheet. All the teams and drivers from the 2019 season in WRC and its support categories, WRC 2, and Junior WRC and some historical and future cars from the 1960s all the way to the present day. It not extensive to the extent of the likes like the DIRT series, but is a nice addition that has room for aggressive expansion. And as for locations, the whole of the 2019 calendar is present with 4 locations and just over 100 stages on all sorts of environments from vertigo-inducing mountains of Monte Carlo to the car killing trees of Finland. Credit where it’s due, it does a lovely job in showing it all off. Over 100 stages do sound very juicy, but when probably over half of those are the same stages reversed which are a bit disappointing and with each location has at most 7 stages per event. It just feels like going to a restaurant and having 14 starters instead of 14 main courses.
With the crib sheet out of the way, let’s look at gameplay. Now the one issue I’ve had with the WRC as of late is that there is a detachment of feel when driving. Almost like it feels like I’m driving on an ice rink with varying degrees of grip, and the world least co-operative gearbox. The handling side of things is much, much better than the last game even if there is a fine degree of floatiness. So you can feel what the car is doing and is better driven smoothly and not breaking out the Tokyo Drifts. The one interesting aspect is the addition of dynamic weather which will have an effect on the driving as you will constantly adjusting braking points which is pretty neat and add a challenge. Even handling with four-wheel drive, and front and rear-wheel drive each of the cars will offer their own curveball.
Game mode wise you do have your usual suspects like Quick Race, Season, and Free Roam. And if you are a complete newbie there is a handy training mode where the game takes you through the individual aspects of rallying from different surfaces and more. Finally, you have the career mode which you start out in Junior WRC or WRC 2 if you’re successful in a trial, you can work your way up to WRC world champion from there. Aside from the season, you have to manage personnel, R&D upgrades and managing your calendar. It is very detailed and absorbing compared to the likes of DIRT Rally 2.0 which doesn’t really have one and has the simple aspect of the main goal to work towards which is WRC Champion.
Multiplayer is on offer in both online and split-screen. Other aspects to mention is that the user interface is so much better and cleaner than before. Graphics are nice and smooth and the technical side of things is pretty good as well runs smoothly and is largely devoid of bugs or glitches. There can be some entertaining physics but pretty solid altogether.
So the verdict is that WRC 8 is a good game. From a very good career mode to good handling physics. Plenty of stages that are tricky and challenging, even If half of them are flipped. Plenty of cars and plenty there for a complete single-player experience. While there is multiplayer, the servers are either a ghost town after 7 days or just unreliable which is a shame because it could be a contender for Dirt Rally 2.0.
World Rally Championship 8
WRC 8 is very good and probably one of the pleasant surprises of the year for me. With solid gameplay and detailed career mode to lose hours to. Lovely staging that bites back if you slip up behind the wheel. Areas which can home in those driving skills. Though the lack of people on online multiplayer and maybe other game modes would have been a nice touch it still does enough to make a good impression.
- Solid fun gameplay
- A career mode that’s deep and engaging
- Fun and challenging stages
- Flipped stages and could have more fresh stages on offer
- Not a lot of classic cars
- Dead online multiplayer