Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: V-Rally 4
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (20.4 GB)
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: Kylotonn
Original MSRP: $59.99 (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

I have always been a fan of the V-Rally series and was sad when it faded into obscurity, only to be mentioned by a few aging gamers over a pint in the local pub. Now it’s back, but is it a contender for the Rally crown?

Gameplay:
V-Rally 4 did not have a great start. My first race was a Rallycross with the most unruly vehicle I’ve ever used.

Sorry, they lost the license for the FIA Rallycross so they called it V-Rally Cross, and the amount of oversteer with the Renault Alpine A310 was ridiculous making it nigh on impossible to finish the event.

Altering the Brake Distribution to give all the power to the front made the car manageable but still not much fun.

Had the other cars been so bad I would have quit the game there and then, but thankfully things got better.

I didn’t start having fun until the second Rally in Siberia. The course was long and varied with some tricky but fun corners. Then it was onto Monument Valley where I began to see the beauty in this game.

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

Mammoth Sequoia trees piercing the sky in the next rally that snaked through the National Park were a sight to behold. The course itself wasn’t all that demanding and on a few occasions, it almost felt as if the game was holding my hand a bit too much. Okay, that would make things harder for someone in a Rally car, but you know what I mean.

The tight chicane ridden course set in the quiet country roads of Japan really impressed me, especially when I was seconds from disaster. Moments after crossing some railway tracks a bullet train barreled past. I know deep down they’ll never collide but it was nice to see.

The Extreme-Khana weaving through Nellis Air Force Base was a memorable experience, not just because I was skidding around multi-million dollar aircraft, but mainly because I did a handbrake turn across a nice varnished floor. Oh, and I got buzzed by a couple of fighter jets and then jumped over a plane.

Even the Hill-Climb events, which I generally dislike in every other racing game, were a bucket load of fun. The massively long Romanian course that snakes its way up to a dam is great and one of the best courses in the game.

What disappointed me was the set of absurd Buggy tracks that verge on the fantastical, with massive drop-offs and ridiculous jumps. They don’t mesh well with the rest of a game that tries to balance a more grounded realism with a touch of arcade fun.

There don’t seem to be any stewards monitoring corner cutting on the Rally Cross stages and even the strict Extreme-Khana. There are obviously boundaries but unless you knock over their precious cones, with a two-second penalty on each, they don’t really care about cutting.

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4) Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

The physics are not the best and there have been several times when my vehicle has clipped a rock or post and become lodged in place. Other times the impact sends the machine hurtling through the air back the way it came.

The difficulty can be adjusted before each event unless it happens to be one of the finals, and then it can’t go under the normal setting. I found my computer-controlled opponents to be uneven and at times, impossibly fast. It sometimes helped to upgrade or buy a new machine but more often than not, I just had to lower the difficulty.

Visuals:
V-Rally 4 is strong in the visuals department. Some stages are beautifully crafted and at times, quite stunning. The color palette seems a bit garish every now and then but overall, the graphics are great.

There are hang gliders that seem to turn up no matter the weather conditions, the reckless fools, along with hot air balloons, and even some wild horses. Across each course there are plenty of things that catch the eye. All of these visual distractions keep their distance but remain a nice addition to the pretty scenery.

As the engine revs on the starting line, the HUD shakes and a countdown heartbeat pulses on the screen. It’s a nice subtle effect, just like the marshalls and emergency service people turning their heads to follow the car.

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

The rocky terrain of the Malaysian course isn’t as treacherous as it appears to be. When my car clipped some rocks it generally slid over and even at times through them. I can understand it to a degree but the sense of danger drops dramatically. The stage is still really nice to look at with two dramatic surface changes.

The water, both on and off the track looks great, especially along the shoreline in the Canadian Test area. Depending on where the stage is in the world there’ll be blossom, leaves, or insects floating or buzzing in the breeze. It doesn’t look on par with the effects in DRIVECLUB, for example, but I’m glad they made an effort.

Audio:
V-Rally 4 has some great menu music with tracks such as Skyzoo – Here For The Crown, I Want It All, and I Wanna Fly by Mahogany Beatz. The sound effects and pace note commentary have always been a major factor in this genre. This game does a nice job with both but it definitely isn’t anything special.

During the Rally Cross stages, there isn’t an ounce of speech, as if your pit crew forgot to bring their headsets. During a Rally, there is no deviation from the notes, even if the car tumbles down a ravine.

Online/Multiplayer:
There is split-screen, which can be set in either a horizontal or vertical view and it works great. I had a few nice races with my daughter without any issues.

Online is a different story altogether and I have not been able to find a single game, either by searching for a Quick Game or trying to find a Lobby. With constant connection errors, I’ve never been able to play online.

Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4) Review: V-Rally 4 (PS4)

Conclusion:
V-Rally 4 is a mixed bag. I did have fun with most of the events and once I tweaked the settings I found the car’s handling to be okay, but never great. The difficulty is all over the place and sometimes even a perfect run will still deliver a few red split-times.

I would have to say the graphics and stage layouts are what I like most about the game. Aside from a few shadow pop-ins and the occasional wonky geometry on the track edges, perfect to trap my car, I found it to be a delight to behold.

The online is a mess but the split-screen is great, which is okay if you fancy some local competitive fun but terrible if you aim to collect the seven online dependant Trophies. Say goodbye to that Platinum.

I’m glad the V-Rally name has been revived but I think it’ll take another attempt to capture the fun of the old series and get close to dislodging the crown. Now, if you don’t mind I’m going to have another go at the Hillclimbing and Extreme-Khana events.

Score:
6.5

* 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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