RETRO – Somehow most modern-era Milestone games end up problematic with me. WRC’s first game since Evolution is no exception either – the essentials are there, but the presentation is already troublesome. Sure, it’s the first game and there’s ways to improve from that – and it happened especially with the third game from 2012 -, but I still wouldn’t say I recommend this game.
Career mode in this game is called Road to WRC – let’s type in our name, the number we use, our nationality and off we go. Immediately we are thrown onto one of the Portugal stages in a Citroën C4 WRC, which is kinda strange, but it’s a common thing in many racing games: a taste of what’s to come if we keep on pounding hours into the game relentlessly.
After that we can set up our co-driver to be male or female, name, team name, and here we go. We can choose an 1,6L car and then it’s up to us. We have to pay everything from colors for the car (but we only get new colors if we progress), through livery to the cars themselves. There won’t be financial problems, because we’ll always get extra cash because of the sponsors, who can fork out an extra 1 to 15% of money to the amount we just reaped in one of the 55 events. Of course, the 15-s happen in the end game, and you will definitely have 7 digits of credits, when not even the S2000 cars cost that much (and we can not buy WRC cars in the game).
You will have more money if you complete all three tasks per event (like winning X rallies, defeat a certain pilot, have X amount of green sectors, finish in position X or higher in the end, et cetera) – you can get millions of cash out of this.
I’ve been here. Here too.
The game’s likely biggest problem is how REPETITIVE it is. Despite having 13 countriesto visit from Bulgaria through the Finnish and Swedish rallies through New-Zealand, you will notice something. I was here already in the other direction. Oh, I start from here again. Junction. Oh here we are!
So, that 78 stages are in fact 39 because of reverse tracks. And that 39 are just variations! Each rally is effectively a Y junction, making you run between the three ends. Let’s count: 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 2-1 – that is exactly six variations and each rally consists of six stages…
In the end, when you are participating in J/P/S/WRC events, you have to complete 3-4-5-6 special stages and by then, you’ll know each variations by heart as there’s no break between the races. The 55 events are broken down into 10 stages, and towards the end about 10 takes up of a duel where you have to run just one stage against the time of an ace. That is all – no minigames as seen in WRC3, just like in the first PlayStation games of Colin McRae Rally.
What I liked in WRC was how my co-driver reacted to my performance, sometimes before we started a stage, he went „Watch out! Champion coming through!” and even during stages he can say things like „They can see just our dust now” or something like that, and even at the end of the stages too.
So the career mode is monotnous, it lacks a spark of change despite the fact that driving between the Swedish snow walls require a different style than say, on the Japanese muddy tarmac and gravel. Only maximalists will sit back and play the game more, only to see that not even the staff roll shows after fully completing Road to WRC – but wait, you can get that from the options any time… so you defeat Loeb and Hirvonen on the final event and then that’s it. You get three trophies seen online too, wow…
About the negatives
The game has issues. The physics would be alright, because you really need to drift to be fast – except the front-wheel drive cars, but that’s the first category in the game -, but if you get damaged… yeah. the damage system doesn’t seem fine to me.
I never felt my engine was damaged that much, or the wheel isn’t moving properly or the suspension actually feeling bad. It lacks depth and I could never get my chassis broken down to pieces, but four or five scratches already color the chassis yellow on the semaphore. (Watch out though, because you only have an hour between special stages to repair your car and usually the chassis ends up left out if you drive like Pastor Maldonado)
And then, the co-driver. Sometimes I get shouted at saying „Can’t you drive faster?” despite me extending my lead and have a green sector. Then I also had a red section and I was told that I had a great section. The voice acting feels a bit bored, but it’s still better than what I have heard in WRC3-4.
I’d mention the stages too: basically, you just drive on ONE stage, sometimes reverse, and it will be recognized very, very soon. When you see a junction and see that there’s another way, that is when you get to the junction in the Y… And what I don’t understand, why isn’t the 80s Group B cars were absolutely skipped in the career mode. Why can’t we drive that Ford RS200 just like in WRC3? (And that’s the best of the Milestone’s quarter in my opinion…)
I also miss circuit special stages, and no, the Portugal/German/British stages’ sections do not count! And story, there’s none. Also, when you see the replay, you can clearly see the game loading up the textures, and that was seen in RIDE as well – you can even see buildings first being black and then filled out on the Japanese stages. This also applies for surface stuff like rocks or fences.
After a certain distance, everything in front of us is low definition and as you get closer, the bushes load up properly and it can be seen as early as the first stage. And the end-of-stage celebration id you win the stage, it’s like my driver is cleaning the window, and he does the same single waving even if my brake distance was too big from the finish line and I stopped after the crowd – genial.
…is thankfully existing, because up to four players, we can ride in Hot Seat mode for the best time and online, up to 16 players can run for the best time, but there is no face-to-face contact here either. It’s not a problem though, at least the online seems to work normally.
The game is ugly, boring in the long run and not even the sounds are okay because they are drone-ish and lack the grunt. Despite the full WRC season there fully licensed (if you want Marcus Grönholm to have revenge on Sebastian Loeb you can do it, the drivers are licensed!). If possible, try to get WRC 3 instead…
+ A WRC game after years, finally
+ Officially licensed drivers and cars
+ Online is alright
– Ugly, and it visibly loads stuff in front of us
– The stages repeat very noticably
– The damage model isn’t very good…
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Released: 2010 October 25