Dark Light
WRC 7 PlayStation 4 Review

I can’t say I have an extensive history with Rally games, although I did adore the Colin McRae series on the PS1 fiercely so. Being introduced to a game where the objective was not to speed past your opponent, but to take care of yourself on the track, to know every intricate detail you could ahead of time and then to scream in frustration as that all goes out the window and you watch your beautiful Rally car go careening off the track time after time, after you promised yourself you’d make that ‘one more try’, the best damn run you’d had so far. *sigh* The World Rally Championship, or WRC for short, is not a game for the light hearted, it’s not a game for those of you prone to throwing controllers. Hell, it’s not a game for those of you prone to blaming the console or game for when *you* screw up. WRC7 is a game for those of us who know that only sheer practice and screwing up is going to eventually whittle down that time slowly, ever so slowly until point of satisfactions reached…

Or we pick up the console and throw it out the f***ing window because goddamn it I MADE THAT TURN!!!

Gameplay:

Rallying isn’t like your standard racing, it’s a series of time based races broken up into days, with those days consisting of a variety of stages. WRC7 plays into this heavily, basing itself authentically around the sport. Starting off, the game ‘measured me’ during the tutorial to see how I fared, (spoiler, it hated me, pretty much told me I shouldn’t be driving at all and gave me every single available piece of assistance). You are, of course, able to adjust your difficulty at any point, should you feel you’ve transcended the difficulty level applied to you by the (overly cruel) console (damn you… I’m spiteful).

Don’t think you’re going to get the most accurate of Rally simulators here though. Even on the hardest of difficulties, WRC7 places its emphasis on fun, rather than absolute realism. This is no FORZA, PROJECT CARS or GRAN TURISMO here. I appreciated this to be honest, it made the game far more approachable.

In my limited experience with Rally games, I’ve noticed they come in two flavours with their tracks: Cosmetic or immersive. By this, I mean that one sort of lazy rally game treats all tracks as the same, while others such as WRC7, will ensure the terrain of the track itself, the weather conditions and the location itself can affect the way your car reacts to the track. Whether you’re racing on dirt, bitumen, loose gravel or wet roads, all give a different feel as your car slips, slides and ultimately crashes over the barriers to its grisly fate… just as you auto reset to the track in time to avoid that horrendous crushing feel. Just enjoy those time penalties the game throws at you for your misadventure, you’re going to end up throwing your controller at the frustration of seeing your time go up, and up, and up, and up due to this…

Multiplayer is standard for a Rally game, with leader board challenges aplenty as well as online rallying up for offer. The old hot seat returns, with up to eight players able to participate and split screen racing (sorry but this has always been my personal favourite for racing games…) Multiplayer hasn’t been sold short, overall it offers a decent range and you won’t feel left out at all if you’re one of those who buy these games purely for the online experience.

Controls:

Handling in this game via the control pad is decent, not the smoothest I’ve ever played, but still very decent. There’s occasional janky behaviour from the cars that seems a bit exaggerated for a rally game during races to contend with which feels somewhat unusual at times, initially I put this down to track conditions, however soon came to realise it’s not game breaking, it just makes you more aware of the behaviour of the car if anything. The triggers response times are nice, with acceleration and braking feeling adequate for a rally game, overall, the controls are very decent. However, be aware, no matter how complex you set your game to be, no matter how advanced, you are playing more of an arcade approach to Rally racing, not a full-blown simulation and the controls do reflect this aspect.

Graphics:

The cars all look suitably decent, but this is no FORZA or Gran Turismo. The scenery is nice, but the lighting itself sells the game on a whole other level. Dynamic, shifting weather helps to add to the atmosphere and visuals, with everything taking on a much better look than ‘plain sunlight’. What impressed, was the level of detail given to the cars, their decals and the level of damage gained with every bump and scratch gained as cars slammed into barriers, went off road by accident or even rolled, resulting in the car slowly tearing itself apart. Overall, not the best-looking driving game out there, but it does a damn good job of being visually presentable.

Sound:

Sound is decent, though honestly some of it takes you ‘out’ of the game. The cars roar to life adequately for a driving game, with skids in the dirt sounding appropriate, while screeches and slides on bitumen and asphalt sounding just right. The co-driver assisting you during your tracks makes mostly the right calls, while on the extremely odd occasion he either seems a little late, or sometimes oddly enough, a little early. One thing I noticed is unlike some other games, he’ll never warn of you upcoming dips, not a deal breaker, but something worth noting if you’re in it for immersion. I was impressed with the reaction timing of the voice though, nothing seemed late, nothing seemed inaccurate and it was all helpful, ultimately, it’s the driver not taking notice which will end with their downfall, in this sense, the audio is impeccable.

Value:

With an instant racing mode, career, multiplayer, hot seat mode and split screen, WRC7 has a decent amount of entertainment to offer Rally fans. Unfortunately, that’s kind of where it stops. If you’re not a rally fan, I can’t say there’s anything here, especially in the 7th game in the series, to draw you in specifically. It’s not that WRC7 is a bad game, it’s not, it’s just that there’s no one element that ‘grabs’ you, nothing that stands out screaming ‘play me!’ This is unfortunate ultimately as it may hamper the game from finding a wider audience. If you’re into Rally games, it’s a definite must play, if you’re not, well, there’s worse games out there to play? I just cannot guarantee you’ll get a lot out of it. However as stated, fans of this genre will eat this up. However absolute Rally purists will likely take issue with the more arcade approach. Those of us more interested in just a fun, easy time, will walk away glad we played it, unsure if we should buy it, but not regretting it if we do.

Conclusion:

WRC7 is a good game, it’s got faults, it’s got issues but overall, it’s a solid product that’s well worth your time if you’re a rally enthusiast or even have a passing interest. If not, maybe you’re better off with a more mainstream racing game to get that more immediate reward of beating the opposition instead of the clock. Either way, skill is key here, timing is key and mastering every single meter of the tracks will end up with a great payoff. Only when these aspects have been achieved, will you truly feel the rewards WRC7 and most other Rally games must offer, as opposed to say, Forza, where simply beating the opposition can bestow such feelings. Either way, it’s still worth playing, you’ll just have to make that judgement call and it’s a bit of a tough one if you’ve never been into rally games.

Pro’s:

  • Good track design
  • Good sound
  • Controls are well implemented
  • Variety of tracks and conditions add to longevity

Cons:

  • Some minor issues with controls
  • Not the most accessible type of racing game

Similar posts plugin not found.
Comments are closed.