WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 8 REVIEW

WRC8 (yes I am not going to type out the full name every time) has been tackled by Lehan Du Toit, aka TheRaZeRLeeZA, for an in-depth review of the game. Let us see what he has found while doing 140mph down a dirt road with as much knowing the next turn as to where my missing socks are.

WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 8 REVIEW BY LEHAN

It’s time to get Dirty. This year WRC has finally stepped up and delivered a solid rally game. Over the years Codemasters Dirt Rally was always the go-to game and well now finally it has a challenger. WRC has come a long way, 2001 was the official 1st release of World Rally Championship and now in 2019, we experience probably the best release they have ever made to date. WRC 7 was released in 2017 and the year gap they took really has paid off.


BEAUTIFUL VIEWS AND TRACK DETAIL

With the progression of high-level open-world games in the past years, it’s now finally been brought to life in even racing games… I have never witnessed such amazing graphics in a rally game until this point. They have put all their effort into bringing the stages to you an in-depth detail. From mountain ranges to dusty narrow roads to the beautiful snowy peaks.

If I didn’t know any better, I would have said this was real.

If you are lucky enough to run this in 4K you will be amazed even more. I end up watching my stage replays over just to look at the incredible detail and world.  All surfaces on the game feel a bit more realistic than Dirt Rally as there is lots more detail, camber, bumps and tighter turns. Some areas are so tight you only have the car width to navigate through. But 10 out of 10 here for me on just the amount of effort they put into making this game a whole lot more worth it.


SO MANY GAME MODES TO PLAY

As per usual we have ourselves the basic quick play options to get straight into the dirty deeds of rallying. If you feel like a challenge, then you can’t go wrong in the Multiplayer lobbies where you can take on other epic racers from across the world in, time attacks and stage events. They run monthly events as well where you can compete to see who is the fastest in the world. eSports is picking up massively and WRC will yet again host an E-Sports event to showcase the best eSports Racers in the world.

Time to get ready for the race I would say.

So if you think you have what it takes, then you can jump straight into and test your skills. If you still want more and let’s just say one Saturday afternoon at a braai or little friendly gathering your friends challenge you to a 1v1 race, well you can because WRC has kept Split Screen in the game.

Plus for the first time, they added a fun Test Area where you can practice and maybe even do some epic gymkhana runs because I can see that definitely happening on youtube videos coming in the near future.


HANDLING AND CAR PHYSICS

If you have played the previous WRC games, you would have noticed the very “Arcady” handling and that it lacked the proper Sim racing experience, but that as well has been completely revamped by the studio. Not only have they fixed the handling in my opinion, but the physics and the way the car moves around the stages is massively improved over its past releases. Plus the pure enjoyment of making those epic handbrake turns makes you feel like a boss once you execute them to perfection.

Hairpin Handbrake Turn at its finest.

If one had to compare the handling between Dirt Rally and WRC, I would still give the nod to Dirt Rally but just slightly here, this feels like a whole new Rally experience and one to really enjoy as soon as you get the hang of it. On the racing wheel, it feels very good and responsive, for the more experienced drivers with the handbrake mods even better but still had some great fun on the wheel. Lots of tweaks and car setups can be done to make sure your car is set up before your co-driver tells you GO!


EXHAUST SOUNDS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SHIFT UP AND DOWN NON-STOP

WRC has some good sound not the best but it still feels great to hear that exhaust explode like a young laaitie driving his daddy’s supercar. This is dependent on the camera angle though because if you play in the chase camera the car sounds are a bit different to how it sounds in real life but play closer to like in the cockpit view or bonnet cam and you hear the car sounds do sound a tad closer to the real thing.

The gravel just makes you want to do a Scandanavian Flick.

The different roads you race on sounds great too, sounds realistic as you race over gravel, skid on the tarmac, glide and slide in the snow and hit those water puddles.


OH YES! DYNAMIC WEATHER 

This is the standout feature for me in WRC 8. These days it is a must-have in any racing game to have dynamic weather. These guys have perfected this in such a way that you can go from dry weather to rain back to dry weather within 1 rally stage.

A relatively calm start…
…that soon presents a light drizzle…
…and then soon blizzard-like downpour. All in the same stage.

Another fun part is in your career mode if you don’t assign a Geographical Assistance in your team before your race you will never know the weather effects that can occur in your race ahead so it’s crucial to make sure you set up your team correctly. In Quick Play, you can set up to 4 different weather scenarios in the race depending on the stage length as well. This for me is a massive plus to the game and something that Dirt Rally doesn’t have. Plus, worst case would be a night race with rain and fog. It adds a whole new meaning to dynamic weather.


IN-DEPTH CAREER MODE

Career mode is more immersive than ever, and this is something I feel WRC has over Dirt Rally. With WRC you are in full control of your own destiny and team. They added a similar F1 style  R&D Tree that you can upgrade as you go and you decide on your upgrading of personnel and car upgrades. If you are new to the game, I would suggest starting your career mode in the Junior division to get used to all the tracks and way car handles but if you are WRC Veteran and want to get into the main WRC roster start your career with the WRC2 season.

Recruit your staff, make sure you set up your calendar events and bring the best you can against your AI rivals over the course of the season. Also each stage you tackle you will have set objectives to meet in order to boost your team finance and skills for R&D upgrades. Something that made me change the way I drive is that after each stage you have to repay all damage that your car had on the stage and that comes straight from your team budget. So the more you crash and wreck your car, well let’s just say you will have to fire personal or you might need to start over. Overall there are lots to do and manage in your career to become the WRC Champion.


THANK YOU CO-DRIVER!

One might think handling, graphics and weather would be a crucial point, but another thing is pace notes. Man, if you don’t know these track you better know how to listen and understand your co-driver. I do feel like the co-driver does not sound especially great, very static and it’s more like he is far away, need to be a bit louder and alert with more fear when crucial jumps or hairpins is on-coming.

Medium Right > Ignore Speed Limit Sign > Through Tunnel > I Said Ignore Sign!!!

Some of these tracks are so narrow and tricky it’s easy to end your race. You can adjust how early you want the notes to be read out and displayed but in the end, I would suggest running a couple of quick play races on each stage just to get the hang of the vastly different terrains and potential crash areas. Realistic Damage models aren’t amazing, but not bad either but would love to see a Wreckfest model built into this at some stage as for me Rally crashes can be epic to witness.


AREAS WHERE THEY MISSED USING THE SPANNER…

Lack of proper crash physics as the car seems to be too happy to flip over like a hamburger patty.

I would have liked to see more presentation in the intro before starting a new rally stage. Static screens just don’t cut it for me.

Some cars just don’t sound particularly great and realistic.

Would have liked to see more additional fun cars to race within Quick Play mode.

I would love to see a track editor in the future to make it more immersive, as you might end up getting bored playing the same tracks over and over as you only have so many cars to pick from as well.

If you love playing Rally games then this is a must-play from my side.

MY FINAL RATING

8.5/10

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