WRC 9 – Review
Follow Genre: Racing
Developer: Kylotonn
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Platform: PC, XB1, Switch, PS4
Tested on: PC, PS4

WRC 9 – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Amazing combination of gameplay, sound and graphics, Finally a good WRC game
Bad: Pretty unstable on the PC
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The WRC games have been getting a bad rep these last few years. With their scores declining each year, you would wonder what the newest installment would bring. It seems that the developers have seriously stepped their game up and took notes from their previous fails, so now we could finally have a decent game to play.

Story

The story has remained the same for the last few WRC games altogether. You begin by creating your driver and doing a few tests. This is to test out your skill and fine-tune difficulty and controls. After the introduction, you will be given the option to either start in the junior and work your way up, or do the trial and audition for the big leagues. These trials are pretty decent, as an experienced driver will have some time left for error and it will truly filter out those who cannot handle the high powered vehicles. The sad thing about these recent rally games is that the career mode always starts out in the now, it would have been cool to do rally races from the past and moving on to the present. During your career you will have to develop your team and this can be seen as a certain progression but there isn’t really a background or story holding the events together.

Graphics

The first thing that you will notice when playing this game is the big upgrade in graphical quality. We tested this game on the PC versus the older titles on console, so you could be biased about the PC having better graphics but the devil is in the details. The scenery looks amazing, the lighting is great, vehicles are very detailed to the smallest things and yet one thing feels off and that’s the details of the cars. It might be that modern cars require less ‘tralala’ and therefore look blander. Retro cars do have more going on in the interior, yet also seem a bit too smooth.

One thing that brings a huge smile on the players’ faces is how well done the damage is. Rally vehicles are greatly abused and when you hit a wall or fly off a rock, you will notice the body crumbling. You can fix some damage during the downtime and unrepaired parts will remain damaged.

Sound

To go along with the great graphics, are the nicely done sounds. In the menus you have some really good music playing in the background; this creates a welcoming atmosphere and prepares you to race. During events, there won’t be any music, as you need to focus on your co-pilot’s instructions. These are clear and can be customized to your liking (timing and language). Even when deeply concentrating on the road, you can easily understand the call-outs and the occasional coms cutting, when your car is breaking down, makes this whole experience even more immersing.

Talking about breaking down, the vehicle sounds are amazing, from the suspension noise to the engine and turbo. Everything sounds right on point, even when sustaining damage you will hear the engine sound changing to a worse condition, keeping you alert about the current status of your vehicle. Some vehicles have powerband issues (especially older ones) and this just sounds great. One thing that feels a bit absent or toned down is the road noises. It can of course be the case that newer care are better soundproofed.

Gameplay

WRC 9 is a rally racing game where you can build a career with a professional racing team and will have to work your way to the top. The game starts with a mandatory tutorial and the beginning of your career. The career modes are exactly like the previous ones where you either start as a junior or try out for the big leagues immediately. What also makes its return is the management part. Here you need to develop and invest time into your crew and vehicle to get yourself an edge on the competition. At first, you think it is meant like this, but after your first rally event, you will notice that both the crew and your vehicle are on a low level. Repairs go slow and your car deteriorates rather quickly but these elements actually make the gameplay even better.

In the career mode, you will have to attend training, recruit new employees and race in rallies. The free events are great to gain experience for R&D points, some extra cash, or increased brand standing. You will have to keep your sponsor and team happy by racing good and finishing at the top. WRC 9 is that game that will make it hard for you to easily make it into first place, as your vehicle needs upgrades and the crew needs to learn to become better. This makes the flow of the game better when you notice how much of a help the leveling is into making your vehicle and team better.

Just like in most rally games, you will have the ability to fix your ride between events but what is different is that you can only make limited repairs, thus having to pick and choose. This makes the strain really noticeable in your car and at the end of the events, it will be almost falling apart.

Controlling the car if really easy, the vehicle responds nicely to inputs from the controller and throwing it around the corner feels better than in most games. If you drive the car hard you will notice that everything is pretty realistic and the car can spin out if you are not careful. Navigating through menus is very comfortable but direct input in the PC from the mouse does not work.

Apart from the elaborate career mode, you will also have the normal modes in single-player and multiplayer for quick rally and championship. A new addition is a free-roaming mode under test. Here you can try out new vehicles, fine-tune them to your liking or just enjoy playing around in the scenery.

What makes this rather great game a tad less impressive is the fact that it still has some fatal bugs. If you Alt-Tab or leave the screen at any moment, the game will crash.  Sometimes in loading screens, it will freeze up and either crash or come through after several minutes. During gameplay, there don’t seem to be any bugs, yet these crashes are far for pleasant. Another issue is that the game does suffer from frame-drops on higher-end machines, maybe these problems will be fixed after an optimization patch.

Conclusion

WRC 9 is a big improvement from the previous lesser titles. The Gameplay is pleasant with the cars feeling realistic when still being able to control them easily. The visuals are of high quality and so are the sounds. You will get immersed in rally racing when playing WRC 9, especially when developing your crew and working your way up in the ranks. Sadly the game does lose some points because it has some fatal bugs and stability issues crashing the entire game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
WRC 9 – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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