EA Sports WRC First Impressions – Around The Block

“Don’t Lift, caution over big crests” is the usual mantra for any rally game, as you race against the clock, the terrain and even yourself as you barrel down the straights on your self-built car. And the clock is ticking.

EA and Codemaster’s first entry into the WRC series is looking solid has we head towards it’s November 3 release date, I had the opportunity to try out the most of the game’s pre-release state, which has the career mode, time trial and even it’s car building elements playable for me and a bunch of other influencers, on the lead up to its release.

Recce Lap 

Building upon its Dirt Rally 2.0 platform and a shift to the new Unreal Engine, driving feels as smooth as its predecessor, as their new Dynamic Driving System does make handling much more reactive on the pad, where I usually do my racing, as flicking the car and saving a oversteer moment is now like second nature for folks who have a smaller rotation.

But that doesn’t mean the meaner cars like the Group B monsters would be easier though, as they will do their damndest to try and throw you off track in any course, which us fans are always welcome the challenge of not rolling a Metro Group B car into a hill after a misjudgment call.

On how it feels to drive, it’s mostly the same as DR2.0, with the switch of terrain feeling more natural (well to me anyway) as your car hops from gravel to tarmac, or ice patches to snow banks, without much of a fuss on how the car bumps according to the road surface, though crests are still as dangerous on catching you out. 

Career For Rally 

On the content side, the Career mode has taken ques from their previous libraries of racing titles that fans of the developer might recognise. It’s a mixture of Dirt 4 and Dirt Rally 2.0’s style of creating your own team, hiring the best engineers to work on your car and if you have enough dough, hire a teammate so that they can run your cars together in a series of your choosing.

And besides the start, the way you get cars is via a weekly car showroom that rotates along side the events that you can do to increase your team’s reputation with manufacturers and sponsors, and even the Rally events itself, which weirdly reminds me of EA’s Nascar 07 back in the day, where you can pick and choose which series you want to do in that week. 

It’s quite a chunky upgrade from the static style of the previous generation of WRC games and it gets better once you start building your own cars.

Car Creation Club

So, with how understated the marketing for this is so far, Builder is where you can build cars to run on all of the official WRC categories where you can not only pick how the layout of how your car should be, you can also pick parts for the car’s internals that are just deathly worn, with hopes it won’t blow up during a stage.

It has that sort of kit car building (no relation to the real kit cars that are featured in this game too) feel to it, where you can essentially build a weekend racer and somehow show-up at Monaco for the WRC series, because the game lets you do that.

And the level of detail you can customize so far is exceptional, from the front ends, shifters to even the cockpit where your nugget of a car could have the most sophisticated steering wheel for something that’s essentially a Renault Twingo regen for Rally1.

This rocks with how flexible it is to create something and race with actual manufacturers, which you can even bring to the online time trials as well. It’s this sort of absurdity that makes me hopeful for this WRC game.

Closing Thoughts 

I must admit, I am very interested to see how Codies will handle the post-launch stuff for WRC and all signs right now are pointing towards a positive outcome for a series that has a pretty good track record since 2018 under a different guise. 

So far it makes me believe it might be a contender for the dark horse of Racing Game of The Year, and it’s not even an open-world or a long-awaited circuit racer, and yet all signs are pointing towards a good outcome for not only rally fans, but also racing game fans wanting something new.

Played on PC, Preview Build provided by the Publisher.

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