REVIEW – After Milestone not having the World Raly Championship-license after WRC 4 anymore, I was a bit happy: I was wondering what the new developers, Kylotonn Games would be able to put together with this license. While it isn’t an extraordinary game, for their start, it’s still a better effort than Milestone’s four games, not including their WRC Powerslide spinoff.
Wow, a new racing game on the PlayStation 4! Let’s face it, we don’t really have that many games in this genre: we started off with Need For Speed Rivals, then DriveClub last year, followed by Project CARS and F1 2015, and now we got WRC 5. There is a noticable lack of bigger racing titles on the PS4! While we wait for Gran Turismo 7 (which should be out next year, whether November or August, we don’t know a proper launch date), here’s the PS4’s first, serious rally game.
I was a little worried though, because Kylotonn’s last game was Motorcycle Club on PC – I gave it a shot and it was… weird, too bad I didn’t record my initial reactions. Then I launched WRC 5 and I saw a clear menu (plus the launch screen has a different car each time you boot the game, that is a nice touch), easily splitting off the modes: solo, multiplayer, leaderboards, settings, aaaand… a 2016 eSports WRC season countdown.
That’s immediately a step away from Milestone and towards Codemasters’ DiRT Rally, which is while confirmed to be on PC, there is almost no chance of skipping the consoles altogether for that game, and that game is miles ahead of WRC 5.
If I remember correctly, WRC 1 or 2 had a rally tutorial mode for the last time. 3 definitely had nothing for that, so it’s a good move by Kylotonn to include it again. In case you want to start without any practice, the game will offer you to take the tests. This will set up the difficulty level for the AI (there are four levels), plus the physics (the game set it for Hard AI and pretty much maximum physics for me, oh, how harsh the game was for me!).
Speaking of physics: for me, I think this is better than Milestone’s efforts were, although the cars felt a bit too heavy all the time. I’m not saying that a single flick should immediately roll the car by 90 degrees, but it should respond harder and quicker. When will consoles get steering wheel support?
Back to physics, it still has positives: if you turn the damage up, then you can trash your car quite quickly, and in the end, it might not even be able to start, and that means your special stage is over. Also, the damage model seems to be massively improved, which is a huge plus. For beginners, there are rewinding, braking and steering help, you can set up the damage levels and its affect for the controls too. The game does well in this aspect. Also, it is really noticable, how the different terrains work with your car. It’s not easy to get onto the tarmac from ice without a slide, if you are not careful. Not bad.
My head hurts
It’s not hurting because how ugly the game looks, don’t get me wrong: it is because how there is quite a lot of screen tearing in WRC 5. Sure, it might not be a disturbing factor for others, but for me, it was really noticable. Graphically, most of the stages (laid out in 13 countries) aren’t that distinguishable from each other in several occasions. They aren’t that ugly, but you can still spot trackside objects and grass load in front of your eyes, although not as much as in say, the first WRC game by Milestone. The other big issue is the frame rate, it’s not that good. Still, the cars and their damage model is really good! What a mixed bag…
The WRC3-4’s co-driver was replaced by a new one, although he is taking things a bit more technically than last time. You have to get used to how he informs you about the upcoming corners and how close they are each other – he will use terms like into and for for them. He also doesn’t sound as British as the guy in DiRT Rally – yep, I think Kylotonn got the better of Codemasters in this aspect! And what about the sound of the cars…? They seem to echo a little bit, but they seem to sound much more crisp. I don’t know why shifting down have almost non-present sound effects. No in-game music, so you better throw something in the background for that.
The career mode threw out Milestone’s style – it’s clean, sleek, and repairing between stages are also not boring. You don’t have to sign newer and newer mechanics, you just simply have to focus on racing pretty much. I do have to point out rally school here though: it repeats twice with different kinds of cars, and even if you minimally get off the proper line (even in straights!), the percentage of that dips very rapidly down to zero, forces you to repeat, even if you beat it in time. It’s annoying.
However, it’s not annoying that there is not many extras in Kylotonn’s game. Don’t think of WRC 3’s mini games. There’ll be just you and the tracks. While it was a negative for me in 4, for 5, I think it’s not that much of a problem. The game never wanted to be another DiRT 3.
Please fix this lobby system! That’s not good if I went online and made a cup of tea, and while that took me five minutes, literally nobody joined and I’m still waiting for someone to join me! You can play offline too in the hand-over-the-controller manner. That reminded me of Colin McRae Rally 2. So this segment has another mixed overview. This lobby system only works, if you have a lot of friends to play with, almost as if you have a crew or something. If that is not the case, it’s pretty much just tiresome…
Good basics, lacks in other aspects
WRC 5 doesn’t have many reasons to be proud of, because it is a problematic game graphically, the audio seems to have a bit too much reverb going on, and the gameplay has no eSport mode going on, as it starts in the 2016 season. The base of the physics seem to be good, and the game also offers options for beginners to pick the game up and play.
But this game isn’t worth it for full price. I give Kylotonn the benefit of the doubt though: if they can improve next year and get some extra budget (because honestly, it seems to be an issue for them!), then WRC 6 will be a lot better. Just don’t cut the corners, because you will get penalized!
+ Rally school
+ Physics seem to be better than previous Milestone games
+ Finally, a rally game on the PS4, about time!
– Online seems to be lacking
– Graphical issues in several ways
– Physics should be improved though
Publisher BigBen Entertainment
Developer: Kylotonn Games
Genre: Rally, racing,
Release date: October 16. 2015 (PS4, PS3)