The Official WRC games have always played second fiddle to Codemasters’ DiRT series. This year however, KT Racing have upped the ante and are starting to nip at the heels of the legendary DiRT games.
I have played previous outings of the WRC series, but have always stepped away after a couple of hours due to the poor performance of the game all round. This year however, WRC 8 has held my attention. There’s a lot more atmosphere to the game, and after a little fiddling with the controller deadzones, managed to make the game feel just right for me to get stuck in.
There’s a career mode which is filled to the brim with team management, from taking care of your staff and giving them ‘time off’ when they become fatigued. Or even fire and hire them. There’s also R&D to take care of, with 4 trees to work your way through, including Team, Crew, Performance and Reliability. With the latter 2 only becoming available when part of a WRC team, as when first starting, you choose to join either a Juniours or WRC 2 team. depending on how you perform in the tryouts.
There’s alot to think about even down to setting up the car for each rally, bearing in mind team objectives that can earn you bonus cash and morale. Then it all comes down to the driving itself. Which, is vastly improved upon previous outings for the series. I did have to tweak the settings to make the controls a little more managable for myself, though this will vary from person to person.
The game performs well, though only running at 30 fps (reviewed on Xbox One S) there’s little to no noticble framerate loss, and the cars respond well. I do feel there’s room for improvement when it comes to feedback from the road, it often leaves you guessing with not much from the rumble motors to go on, giving the feeling of being on ice at times.
There’s a huge amount of Rally locations to tear through, with each having their varying stages. To make things even more interesting is the dynamic weather system, that with the use of your team, weather predictions are crucial for making the right choices for your car setup. Using one of the cockpit cams, you’ll also want to get used to using your wipers, as as you progress through a stage, your screen will start to get covered in mud/dust. With the click of a button you’ll be smearing it over your screen until it’s clear again, leading to some heart in mouth moments.
Aside career you also have the usual single rally options, along with taking part in the official WRC calendar without having to worry about all the aforementioned team management. There’s also a split-screen mode too. Multiplayer is also present, with straight up online Rallies, where you all take part at the same time, seeing each other’s ghosts. Online is a little sparse for players at the moment, but hopefully should pick up once it’s available in other regions from the 10th September. Challenges are also available in the multiplayer section, with a weekly and monthly challenge featuring online leaderboards.
Visually I cannot fault the car models, they’re spot on, though some attention is needed in the environment department, as at times the cars look out of place, with the cars being so well modelled and the environments being mediocre, just a little more polish here would make the graphics a little more cohesive. Audio is ok, pretty much standard fare for a racing game, with all the car engine sounding good, and a generic soundtrack that plays duriung menus.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher