Publisert: 1. desember, 2013
Is it the best rally game ever? No. Is it a decent rally game? Yes. Is it better than previous WRC games? It is, specially than "WRC 3" which had an insulting "Career" mode. This one has a proper WRC career from WRC3 (2WD) to WRC main class, is way more realistic in that department than previous ones...
Car choices are limited to the WRC3, WRC2 and WRC classes, there's no GroupB this time, no classic GroupA/90's WRC and no classics. But that's not a big disappointment, because in previous WRC games their driving was not that great, and the choices/licenses were also very limited.
Some of the Rallys are much improved in my opinion (Germany specially), although others are exactly the same as the previous game. Each one has six stages, but no closed loop super specials this time.
One thing that still annoys quite a bit is the design of some stages, specially the ones with extremely slow and tight hairpins chained one after another. I mean, one or two of them I think I wouldn't be even able to do them in real life without backing up. And since the WRC cars have such high torque/acceleration they tend to lag a lot in 1st gear with considerable wheelspin there, it's quite annoying. I've cricticise previous WRC games (specially the first 2) for having very long turns and not much hairpins, but now it's the opposite, they are ridiculously tight and too close from each other.
Gameplay: (my opinion is based on keyboard use only, with outside camera view) it's more of an arcade, this is far from a sim. That said, it's "attack friendly", quite arcadish and a bit to the loose/quick steering, which helps a lot to recover from near-crash situations, but it's a bit too much to feel in perfect control and sometimes it actually turns too much to the inside when you want to slide to the corners. You can adjust the steering lock a bit on the car setup though, but it doesn't solve the situation completely and it still feels a bit too fast. WRC 1 I think it had quite more precision and you could antecipate and attack against the clock with more confidence. That said, this one adds a bit more need to re-adjust and to fine tune your input, so it's more unpredictable. 2WD cars are much more nicer to drive, though, much less catastrophic understeer than before, and are much more worth the time spent on them (Career mode).
Graphics: they get better with every game, but this is a console port (old gen), and not a very great one. Mediocre motion blur, occasional sluggish/stutter and fps drops kind of spoil the visual flow/pacing, and textures aren't great, since it's a simple port. I recommend using SweetFX tweak tool to make the graphics sharper and to boost the colour levels, it helps a bit.
Sound: not great, but less annoying than the previous ones in my opinion (specially the Fiesta reving on red line). Biggest problem at the moment is a major bug that makes the game sound to turn off (normally after 3, 4 or 5 stages and before starting the next stage), requesting a game restart to fix it. You can still complete the rally/next stages but there's no sound at all.
Other bugs: a few of them. Online doesn't work for a lot of people (doesn't connect), cinematics are bugged (half screen is black, some don't even seem to appear (after winning a championship, for example). Haven't seen much game braking invisible walls but some of the vegetation will certainly behave like a massive metal pole and destroy part the car in a heartbeat. It's not likely it will be all fixed soon and improved by the developer, considering the previous games, but fingers crossed.
Details: well, the "Career" office looks decent but the email system is just the same every time (even when you win a rally), so it's 100% useless unless you haven't seen a single rally event in your entire life or haven't played a rally game before. One thing it has is the Service Park only every 2 stages which is nice and more close to reality. It also has Power Stage system like the real WRC. Flashbacks system is there but it's better and more fun to just avoid it and ramp up the AI difficulty level to have a decent challenge.
Conclusion: It's a game with a limited budget and team, and it's clearly aimed for consoles first, PC later. So it has the usual drawbacks of a port. Does it make a better job than other rally games out there? Well, there's no other decent rally games out there that deserve your attention if you're a rally fan. And I mean proper rally / WRC, not "gymkhana stuff". Let's say it's a bit close to "Colin McRae" games back in the day, although it's debatable.
That's why I do Recommend this game. It's the only proper Rally game out there and it's a game I enjoy playing even though it's not perfect. Just pick it up depending on the price you're willing to risk.