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WRC 10 Review

Verdict

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WRC 10 is a solid racing game with an Anniversary mode that celebrates the history of the motorsport. However, the management aspect of the game is a bit on the repetitive and dull side.

Pros

  • Official WRC license
  • Entertaining handling
  • Solid graphics

Cons

  • Management mode a bit dull
  • Presentation could use some more variety
  • Important skills locked behind skill tree

Availability

  • UKRRP: £39.99

Introduction

The World Rally Championship game returns for another tour in this effort from French developer Kylotonn and publisher Nacon.

Celebrating the motorsport competition’s 50th anniversary, it adds new rallies and historical content for fans of the sports to lap up.

Game Modes

  • Team management adds to the experience
  • Plenty of modes to choose from
  • Anniversary mode provides a good overview of WRC history

Start in the main WRC 10 mode and there’s Career, which is divided into Life, Solo, Multiplayer and Skill Development.

If you’re a single-player advocate then Career mode will be the focus, offering players the prospect of managing a team over the course of a season. Quick Play allows a drive of any special stage in any car, while Season is basically Career but without the management.

WRC 10

I’ll get on to Multiplayer later. Skills Development is where you can focus on yourself, and it’s split into Challenges, Test Area and Training. With Challenges you race events and rack up points to unlock more. Both Test Area and Training concentrate on improving your skills, providing a space to fiddle with the car’s setup or perform training exercises.

Head over to Anniversary mode in the side menu – which you might easily miss – and you can relive famous rallies from the WRC’s 50 years, beating reference times and unlocking more events. As a viewfinder into the history of the WRC, it’s a fun challenge racing through the events with classic cars from teams such as Alpine and Subaru.

Career Mode

  • Could use more variety
  • Skills are locked behind XP gains
  • Objectives are either too easy or not attainable

It’s the WRC 10 Career mode where most will likely spend their time. You can start at Junior level and progress upwards, or gain the attention of manufacturers by completing the Manufacturer Tryouts. The more you successfully complete for a manufacturer, the more likely it is they’ll offer you the windfall of a contract.

Management adds another dimension as you sign staff to improve your prospects and assign R&D points to develop areas of the team (Team, Performance, Crew and Reliability).

With the R&D tree there’s a maximum of 90 points to spend, and you can reallocate points via respecialisation at $25,000 a pop. You’re unlikely to hit the maximum point level before you run out of skills to upgrade at lower levels – but at the top WRC level there are more skills to attain, so you’ll need to choose which areas to focus on.

Fiddling through the R&D tree reveals a few frustrations, as features such as wet weather tyres are locked out. If you encounter wet weather or snowy races early on, they’ll be stages where you’ll perform horrendously and there’s nothing you can do until you rack up the XP to unlock those skills.

Objectives are also strangely implemented, as if they’re there to obstruct you from levelling up or progressing too soon. There’s a short-term and long-term goal to complete to the manufacturer’s satisfaction, but in a number of cases you’re destined to fail, as you’re not given sufficient events to complete an objective. Other objectives are exceptionally easy to complete, so there’s a lack of balance in that respect.

Win a rally and miss out on an objective, and you can end up losing more reputation points than you’ve gained. Change the objective, and it’s essentially a roll of the dice as to what you’ll get, incurring a small loss to reputation as a result. I can understand the reason Kylotonn would do that, but it also feels slightly harsh.

There’s also little interaction with your staff or the manufacturer beyond the same, repetitive, bog-standard emails. While the scope of management in Career mode is welcome, it’s very functional.

Racing gameplay

  • Tail-happy steering appeals
  • It takes a while to understand the intricacies of braking
  • Rally stages bring their own challenges

Where WRC 10 delivers a sense of achievement is on the many roads and dirt trails of its rally events. Playing on a PS4 with a controller, I found the handling to be pretty decent. Cars are twitchy at fast speeds, with grip often at a premium and cars perhaps a little too tail happy.

But like pretty much every racing game out there, smooth, decisive inputs result in behaviour you can telegraph. You pick up little tricks to get to (literal) grips with the handling model. Braking takes a while to master, with repeated taps better than a hard stop where the brakes tend to lock up.

WRC 10

At the heart of WRC 10 is the old risk vs reward relationship. Go fast but make a misjudgement and it will cost you time. Pace yourself and you may end up losing time but be more consistent. Threading a path between knowing when to go hell for leather and being consistent is a challenge of rally car driving, and WRC 10 gets that implicitly.

You can set the difficulty as well as damage levels and length of rally weekends, but each event has characteristics that bring their own difficulties. Monte Carlo is a combination of dry, ice and snow, with tight and twisty sections that need to be taken fast but with control. Rally stages in Kenya have the potential to give you a real-world migraine with their bumps, the next turn seemingly always a blind one despite the co-driver’s pace notes. That’s the case with each event, and each course takes time to get used to and master.

There’s a nice sense of progression throughout from the Shakedown to the Powerstage, and the most exciting events are the ones where the lead is constantly changing hands. There are no rewinds, which adds to the challenge – if you mess up, you’ll have to restart. Choose to enable perma-crash and that further adds to the tension.

Presentation and visuals

  • Not the greatest of production values
  • Graphics look solid on PS4
  • A few bugs every now and then

Not unlike Milestone’s Moto GP 21, the presentation of Career mode is on the drab side. Whether it’s your team’s HQ or the rally events, it’s all much the same throughout the course of the season. Win a rally and it’s the same cutscene over and over; two men (even if you have a woman co-driver) pumping their arms as confetti showers the stage.

There’s no interaction with the press and no story mode to add more drama. Variety in Career mode comes through the different events (Training, Extreme Conditions, Maintenance), but there’s an element of grind that seeps in after a while.

WRC 10

There have been a few game crashes that have been patched and some glitches that pop up every now and then, such as starting an event with 11 seconds already on the clock. The co-driver could also be more accurate, as I’ve caught some lines where they’ve given me the wrong direction. At other times, it would be helpful to know that there’s a cliff on the side of that corner before I go sailing off.

Visually the game looks good on the PS4. The sense of speed thrills as the car thrums through the environment, events seemingly recreated in their entirety, even down to the drones that whip pass on stages capturing your progress.

The HUD (Heads-up Display) is minimal, with you simply relying on tyre wear and speedometer – which I like. However, there’s no HDR support, which may actually make night-time events even more difficult to navigate. There’s some pop-in of the landscape in the distance, and some noticeable stutter every so often; but, otherwise, it’s a visually sturdy game.

Online content

  • Unique online modes specific to WRC

Online, there are the usual public lobbies where you can race against other players. When you find a race, the action can be fun; but people constantly jump in and out of lobbies, so you spend a while just waiting for a race to start.

Leaderboards show times of other drivers for each rally/stage as a way of motivating you to do better.

Co-Driver is rather unique in that it’s a mode where you can build a driver/co-driver crew to tackle special stages. Clubs allow for creation of online championships and there’s Split-screen for some on the couch driving with someone else.

‘Life’ is a series of daily and weekly challenges to compete against others to reach the top of the leaderboards. You’re encouraged to put in your best performance on the first go, as repeated attempts earn less points, putting the pressure on driving as fast as you can while making as few mistakes as possible. Special challenges are available, but rarer to see.

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Should you buy it?

If you’re an avid WRC fan: There are other notable rally games out there, but this is the official one. If you want to play as real-life teams and win championships, this is the only way to do that.

If you want a more engaging management experience: The management aspect of WRC 10 adds more scope, but is also rather formulaic. Some more variety and depth would have been welcome.

Final Thoughts

For those fans who are after a stab of off-road simulation, there’s plenty about WRC 10 that grips your attention, with plenty of love and care put into delivering an authentic driving experience that measures up to the 50 years of World Rally Championship racing. But it’s also a game with a few ‘off the road’ decisions that puncture parts of the experience.

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How we test

We play every game we review through to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is close to impossible to do. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.

Tested on PS4

Played Career, Anniversary and Online

FAQs

Is WRC 10 available on Switch?

Not yet, but it is listed as coming to Nintendo’s platform

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