Review: WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship (PS4)

Review: WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (14.9 GB)
Release Date: September 15, 2017 (EU) / October 3, 2017 (US)
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: Kylotonn Racing Games
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US), €59.99 (EU), £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship is better than the last iteration I played yet it still seems to suffer from one or two minor issues.

The driving style in this game takes some getting used to, it still feels like it’s a little bit arcade and a little bit simulation.

With the assists turned off the simulation aspect kicks up a gear, pun intended, but the physics remain questionable at best.

The game is fine with most of the bumps, gutters, ridges, and inclines but every once in awhile I hit something and the car reacts like a spoiled kid in a mall, either flinging itself all over the place and whining the entire time or stopping dead and slumping to the floor in a stubborn defiance.

Then there are the off-track invisible walls and pesky pedestrians who defiantly stand still as the poorly driven rally car barrels towards them. Now, I’m not expecting the developers to add some terrified run animations but I would like the boundaries to be adjusted in a few spots as the rear bumper only clipped the red tape protecting the docile people and my car was reset back with a nine-second penalty.

The game might not feature the wealth of difficulty options that its main rival has but there are enough choices and options to get the right driving setup and opponent difficulty for nearly every skill level.

There’s a career mode with no bells or whistles, just driving and maintaining the car in the service areas. I don’t mind this and I would prefer the developers concentrate on perfecting the controls and car handling before worrying about a throwaway story with dodgy acting. During my career I did get a pop-up informing me that the next course had been canceled due to there being too many people on the track.

There are achievements to be earned across the modes, which earn points for the Drivercard. Accessible from the Extras menu is a wealth of information and statistics about my time with the game, along with all of the eSports badges I have acquired.

There’s also a Challenge mode in the game that allows for set courses and conditions with the times going up on an online leaderboard for the entire world to see. I quite like the inclusion of this as it adds something else to do. I did okay in the last challenge getting 168th out of almost 400 entries.

With some courses taking about a quarter of an hour to complete and enough variety in them to put its competitors to shame, the developers at Kylotonn Racing Games should feel proud. It’s a real test of the endurance and skill and a testament to the game engine that never falters.

Visuals:
WRC 7 has the honors of including some of the most detailed tracks in any game. The variety is staggering with hardly any asset used twice. Aside from the spectators and pedestrian vehicles I struggled to spot any duplicates. Even the trees look varied and natural.

With most racing games I tend to switch between the cockpit and the standard behind and above the car views, however, the car interiors appear quite bland and spoil the immersion for me. Shading and detail on the trees pop-in noticeably in some areas and it can be distracting but that’s my only issue with the visuals, the rest of the game is superb.

Lighting has been improved and now the blinding morning sun reflects off the icy and wet roads making it almost impossible to see for a split-second as I round a particular bend or reach the crest of a few hills. The rest of the time it disappears behind the treeline only to flicker and dazzle through gaps in the canopy. Tire smoke and dust clouds remain just as good as in the old game. If it ain’t broke, I suppose.

I like that metal barriers and red tape can be knocked over and torn but the barbed-wire fences are still indestructible, it ruins the realism and needs to change in the next game.

I am blown away by the realistic landscapes and sheer scale of these expertly crafted courses. In most Rally games there are only one or two memorable parts to a stage, it’s part of the reason why the pace notes help so much, yet WRC 7 is filled to the brim with such detail and contrast that it makes learning the route almost instinctual.

There is a replay option where you can capture your finest moments for all to see, however, the dust and smoke does not act correctly if the replay is going in reverse. In fact, it acts as if the car is driving that way and so billows out of the front. I managed to whip up quite a good dust cloud by rewinding and fast forwarding repeatedly.

I know I keep harping on about it but the beauty and design of each stage are what I adore about this game. Once I got to grips with the driving style again I was in my element, the game is fast and I never spotted any screen-tearing.

I am surprised to see a lack of Red Bull TV content, even a news ticker on the menu screen would have been welcome. It seems like an obvious inclusion to me seeing as that is my only source for Rally coverage. I guess setting up something like that requires more time and effort than I expect, along with a nightmare of a licensing deal.

Audio:
The game ticks most of the boxes in this department, with the exception of only male voices for the co-driver. I like what I heard when racing through dense woodland and small villages. You can change the voice to a few different languages and make their descriptions about certain things more or less descriptive.

Online/Multiplayer:
I enjoyed the online rallies in WRC 7, complete with the bright and bold colored opponent’s cars and very little appearance of lag when I managed to find other players that is.

“There is no more room in the game.” That is the comment I see all too often when searching for a lobby. Trying to join a quick game is worse as that seems to hang for a couple of minutes not allowing me to cancel or do anything at all until I’m told there are no games.

So few games offer a split-screen mode nowadays, which is a shame as I really enjoy racing with a friend or loved one in the same room. WRC 7 not only features a Hot seat mode but also has a vertical split-screen mode that works very well and still looks almost as good as the solo-mode.

Conclusion:
WRC 7 is an improvement in many ways but it still lacks the control choices that many a fan craves. It takes some time to understand how the developers want you to maneuver the car in what they deem to be the correct way. There is no simulation or arcade options, just a mixture of both. Because of this, I am sure some people will be put off by the controls. I urge you to stick with it as this game is worth the effort.

Did I mention the detail and variety in course design? Well, if I did not then trust me, this game delivers exceptionally well and it makes other Rally games look somewhat dull and bland in comparison.

This is a great step forward in the series and it continues to prove a worthy alternative in the Rally genre. If they can refine the physics and controls along with adding more of the exceptional course design to the next iteration, it’ll be hard to beat.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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