Review: WRC 8: FIA World Rally Championship (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (22.8 GB)
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: KT Racing
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US) £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI Rating: 3

Gameplay:
Plenty has changed in this iteration of WRC. As we approach a new console generation it finally feels like the game has hit its stride. With a nice clean menu and some fancy dynamic weather effects WRC 8: FIA World Rally Championship isn’t pulling any punches as it contends for the genre crown.

Starting a career it lets you fill in a name and nationality. Sadly my last name is too long, so I opted for the single letter. Then onto the difficulty selection and finally picking the WRC grouping.

I was enjoying the game on the medium and easy settings, although the latter had my times, on average, at about thirty seconds quicker than second place. The easy mode is perfect for newcomers and the gamer who just wants to have a fun race through some spectacular stages.

The Training mode doesn’t give any visual indication on the completion data for any of the twenty-five tests. No medal or times are displayed so I need to remember what I’ve done or load up the session and check the best time. Thankfully they aren’t tied to any Trophies.

Where the Training stages actually work and have a benefit is in the Career mode. Here you can add them to the calendar and receive Experience and Morale. The Experience is spent unlocking parts of a skill tree in the R&D and Morale is used in Crew Management.

For the people who just want to race without all of the extras mentioned above, KT Racing included a Season mode. A career without the fuss. I’m happy to report there is only one online Trophy as far as I can tell and it doesn’t look difficult to obtain. If I find the time I might actually bother to go for the Platinum.

I have been a fan of Rally games for many years, and while I do enjoy the technical and realistic approach of the recent Dirt Rally 2.0, I feel that I still have the most fun with this style of game and its dash of a forgiving and arcade-style experience.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t like the craziness of SEGA Rally but it definitely feels more relaxed and fun. When a game doesn’t punish you for what difficulty you wish to play on it makes for an enjoyable experience.

Visuals:
At the beginning of many stages, the start gate clips the chase-camera, which can be jarring but a forgettable niggle. WRC 8 has some lovely weather effects, especially the rain. Not to mention, the puddles actually affect the stability of the car.

The people and vehicles on the sidelines look better than previous games. Although, I did notice the cow’s head follows the car as it drives by but the cameramen do not. Hopefully silly little things like this will be addressed when the game hits next-generation hardware.

The vast Test Area is beautiful and I’ve spent ages racing around the quiet country lanes. It’s nice to finally have a place to freely drive in where I can take any turn I please.

The dynamic weather is great and adds to the nice scenery. I particularly like the reflection of the stage on the wet tarmac, and splashing through the numerous puddles.

While the stages aren’t exact replicas of their real-life counterparts, it is easy to spot defining areas and memorable landmarks.

Audio:
My wife likes the English co-driver voice in WRC 8 as it reminds her of a well-spoken 1940’s RAF lieutenant. There is an option for a Spanish or French voice, both of which sound a little bit less like they’ve been recorded in a studio.

All of the usual sounds that you would expect are present and correct. The level of immersion isn’t as good compared with this game’s competitor, as the co-driver never utters a word when the car tumbles down a ravine or slams into a tree. I’m not expecting a barrage of expletives but something would be nice.

Online/Multiplayer:
I quickly dabbled in the online mode and for what I played the connections were solid and it played well. I drove well and didn’t embarrass myself but will leave this mode for the experts.

WRC 8 sees the welcome return of the Split-Screen mode. Just like the older games, it works well and I had fun playing with my daughter. More games need this feature and I congratulate the developers at KT Racing for including it once more.

I like that the leaderboards allow me to download the top player’s Ghosts and either play against or watch, not that I’d ever compare, but it’s still nice to see how a stage should be driven.

Conclusion:
WRC 8 is an improvement on last year and a worthy addition to a fan’s collection. There is plenty to keep the player occupied, and while the Training or Test Area, for example, need to be fleshed out and tweaked, it’s still nice to see more than just the usual stages.

I’m very glad to see the Split-Screen mode is still included and the online mode works well too. WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship isn’t perfect but it is plenty of fun.

Does it finally claim the genre’s crown? Personally, it does because I’ve had more fun in this game than any other in the genre over the last few years. It might be that I’ve grown weary of the punishing realism of the competitor’s game and just want to have some fun.

Score:

* 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, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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