How bad does is it suck to slide down the side of a mountain?
Not sure? WRC 9 will not only answer that but help you dismiss that you ever considered Rally sport as a career path. Dropping with a fresh X|S update, WRC graces the Microsoft console with all the trappings of a Rallisport heir but ends the day just shy of placing.
WRC 9 is at its core a Rallisport Challenge successor and while a younger version of myself would view this as a carnage simulator, the refined Banana is trying to find the subtly. Rallisport was visually a masterpiece and WRC is no slouch. WRC not only brings the grime but the moisture. Tires reflect the micro carnage as the tires cake with mud and debris during the course of your journey. The environments themselves are gorgeously rendered and give off a sense of realism. The licensed vehicles do a great job of replicating the damage accrued without going overboard. So, suffice it to say, visually, WRC 9 came to play. The little details in the decals alone let players know this is for real.
Control-wise, nothing changes.
This is for real! Arcade racers beware. WRC 9 is meant to be played, enjoyed, and experienced by those familiar with the sport but more importantly those ready to accept the challenge of sim racing. Moments of frustration when perhaps the car felt slippery were offset by the fact that, well it should. Oval track and street racing titles place the emphasis on graphics and quirks, WRC matches that but adds a level of realism that could be a turn-off to most.
Admittedly, this genre is not my bag, but I found an appreciation for it via this game. Learning the subtly nuance, reading the terrain, it’s all here. Having full control of not only driving but tweaking your rig to your specs is phenomenal. Additionally managing your crew actually has value. The menus are crisp, the garage is responsive but how about the actual game? WRC came to play. While Forza and Gran Turismo take all the sim accolades, Project Cars and WRC have steadily carved their own niche ala Pro Race Driver from the days of the past.
Audibly, WRC is no slouch either.
Your onboard navigator is helpful and voiced well. The score fits but does not stand out on its own. The real attraction here is the dynamic sound based on the camera. Depending on your camera view, the sound changes appropriately. This can not be understated, this technique adds such a level of immersion it nearly defies words. The gravel dinged off the chassis from a 3rd person perspective sounds completely different than the same stretch of road viewed from in the cockpit or affixed to the front bumper. Attention to detail is WRC’s strong suit and the sound department certainly hammers that home.
Is WRC 9 fun? Yes. Coming in cold, WRC surprised us. Releasing annually the title has not garnered the type of fan fair associated with sim racers. Make no Mistake, WRC is not easy. In fact, the trials and tribulations that occurred while reviewing it would lead some to think we hated it. In fact, as challenging as it is, WRC rewards you every step of the way. Older gamers will remember adjusting to the realism of the first Gran Tourismo and never looking back. WRC 9 can easily be viewed as that same entry point for sim racers just in a Rally set.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 03/09/2020
No. of Players: 1-8
Download link: Microsoft Store