V-Rally 4 – Review
Follow Genre: Racing, Racing simulator
Developer: Kylotonn
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Xbox One

V-Rally 4 – Review

Site Score
4.5
Good: Graphics are fine with interesting locations around the world
Bad: Bad design choices and physics make it unfair and not fun to play
User Score
4.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.8/10 (4 votes cast)

V-Rally is back with what’s already its fourth installment. The original game series started in 1997 already, when V-Rally got published for the PlayStation. Needless to say, it was strong enough to get a second and a third game, which ended at generation PS2/Gamecube/Xbox Classic. Now, V-Rally is back with more dirt, gravel, and snow for you to shift gears in. 

Story

There isn’t much story to go on really. V-Rally 4 is a game that could be classified as a classic career-building game where you start with racing matches that are qualified as beginner’s games and don’t earn you much money but give you a chance to slowly, steadily, rise to glory. As you progress you get a chance to hire an agent and other people to help in your team, but there is no story attached to any of these things. You just, race. The story you create is in your own mind as you try to become the best, and nothing in the game helps you with that in terms of storytelling.

Graphics

The graphics are actually rather peaceful to look at for a game as hectic as V-Rally 4. It’s clear there has been a focus on ”what different locations around the world” should look like, and even if that wouldn’t be very accurate, it still leaves you with nice landscapes. A snow-filled sleepy village in Russia, a large, old forest, flower-beds in Japanese mountain areas all make sense in their own way and immerse in their own way.

The cars don’t get that much attention, and even though there are options to customize them a bit, it’s not presented as grand as some other racing games you might know (Forza, Need for Speed). As a matter of fact, it feels more like buying the ”more powerful car” each time you get a new one, not taking into account the brand, looks or personal choices.

Sound

Now, when playing V-Rally 4, there is no background music, but it’s anything but quiet on the racing tracks. This game is loud as hell. The squeaking of the wheels and the engines revving is ear-deafening and mind-numbing. Probably great for real car enthusiasts, but rather plain if you just want to enjoy the game since it’s somewhat monotone, even for car-specific engines that probably should have a bit more unique body and feel in the sound. Other than this, there is one more unique sound aspect which is while doing a solo rally. When doing so, you will have a co-driver next to you, a navigator. He will tell you what to expect from the upcoming road with comments such as ”take a right 3 long, then a left 4, over the bridge”. It’s entertaining to have this option but also, like the car sounds, a bit plain and numbing after some rounds.

Gameplay

V-Rally 4 is a racing game, and mainly what should be a rally simulator, as you would expect from the name. There are a couple of things going on with V-Rally 4, and most of it is a tale of woe. Firstly, this is a tough game. If the goal of the game was to make sure you know that driving a rally isn’t easy, the developers surely succeeded. All the terrain differences and the weather conditions are like smacks in the face from tree branches while sticking your head out of a train that’s moving at high speed. This gets enhanced by the fact that your cars, especially the first few, are very hard to control. Sometimes it seems rather irregular how they get into a drift easily, or how the general physics work.

This irregular weirdness gets more apparent when for example you are driving a rally, where you try to get to the end of the road as fast as possible. The most effective way is to stick on the given road as much as possible, because as soon as you even slightly deviate from what the game defines as the ”main road”, you get stopped by what seems to be almost all immovable objects, whether it’s a traffic sign or a rice field, for the game it means your car will get stopped and damaged hard. The same goes for a small rock, that already has the ability to send you flying and do a few barrel rolls. You do have some control over your car, and in certain ways, it might be realistic, yet it doesn’t feel sturdy or powerful, but more like a ball that gets hurled around thanks to its engine.

Something that could solve or soften these issues a bit would be a difficulty scale. Coincidentally, the game has one! The only problem is that it punishes you for sliding the scale towards easy, which honestly is still a difficult setting to win a game on. Say you would get 10K for winning a rally by finishing first place, which you need to do in four minutes and ten seconds to succeed. When playing with the slider all the way to easy, it will be 6K for winning by finishing in four minutes and twenty-two seconds. Now, fall a bit too far next to the road and you get reset with even another few seconds of penalty added. Hit a pedestrian rally supporter who for some reason doesn’t care if a car is coming flying towards them, and a whopping ten seconds penalty will be added. All these rules and wonky physics make it extremely frustrating for you to become one of the first finishers.

The game has a couple of modes to play in while building your career. There’s rally, which has already been explained, V-rally cross which is more of a traditional race versus other cars,  Hillclimb, Buggy, and Extreme-Khana. Another problem with the game is that these modes require a proper grind (especially since it’s hard to finish first every time, reducing your money significantly) since each mode requires their own set of unique cars. You need to buy these first. This way, people might give up on the game in frustration before they even had a chance to try out the different modes. Last but not least, the game includes the possibility to hire an agent, mechanics, and engineers to make it slightly easier to i.e. find matches of your preference or to get lower repair costs, but all these things are just fine tunings on what’s simply an unbalanced, harsh game that makes you feel bad about yourself.

Conclusion

V-Rally 4 has enough quality in terms of graphics and cars. The landscapes are rather nice to drive through, and a base part of the game, such as different modes, is a good start. However, the number of weird design choices that make the gameplay unforgiving and in a certain way unfair as well, largely destroy this set-up. Every bit of racing that seems to be fun gets contradicted by the faults. Riding from the starting point to the end feels more like a wire loop game where you try to get a ring from beginning to end without touching the metal. The game simply doesn’t make you feel good about racing but isn’t realistic enough to be seen as a true simulator either. It falls into the cracks between.

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Rating: 4.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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V-Rally 4 - Review, 4.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


2 Comments

  1. MC_JP
    MC_JP
    September 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

    this game really looks like a early ps3 game.

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  2. […] Good news for all car lovers and rally fans. Bigben and KT racing announced that V-Rally 4 is now available for Nintendo Switch. The game was previously already available for PlayStation 4, PC en Xbox One. There are various modes for you to enjoy, ranging from V-Rally Mode, Quick Race and Multiplayer. The game would not be complete if you wouldn’t be able to adjust your vehicle to your desired settings. Race in one of twenty-two environments available to you or let the random generator pick the next race you are going to attend. There are more than 50 cars available, just to name a few, the Mustang Fastback, the Lancia Delta S4, the Porsche Carrera and so on. You can find our review right here. […]

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