WRC 9 Review – Another Solid Drive
Driving at the edge of the limit is always a terrifying thing, considering that you have 380BHP of lightweight Fiesta driving across one of the smallest roads known to man. And with that, the cliff of Monte Carlo or the logs of Wales awaits.
WRC 9 seems to bring in the same momentum that their previous successor has brought upon with some tweaks here and there but the question remains.
Is it enough to warrant a buy for those curious enough to try out this year’s entry?
As you boot up the game, the familiar title screen greats you as you delve into the game. The graphics side has seen some improvement in the texture work, with cars looks as detail as their previous game counterpart. Though the car list seems small for now, more are coming within the coming months.
The selection of tracks has also seen some lighting work, with sunset conditions now looking quite beautiful within the backdrop and the darkness being much eerier as you traverse the stages in a race against time. Who knows how this will look in next-gen hardware, considering how this looks amazing already now.
Audio-wise, there has been some enhancement within the sound effect parts. Like now, you can definitely hear yourself smacking a wall at speed, and engine sounds being more varied between cars and terrain.
WRC 9 brings back the solid foundation of their previous career mode and tweaks it to be more fun and intuitive, and as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The introduction of random events, however, is a genius stroke. An option where cars in your category could retire in-front of you brings back memories of the PS2-era WRC games and I like this addition of randomness in it, makes you having to be alert all the time.
Handling is still the star of the game. It’s the sharpness of the control now co-relates with the car that you drive. For example, a small and snappy car like the 70’s Ford Escort is much harder to drive unlike the current generation of cars that sticks to the road. Quite accurate to the real deal and fairly enjoyable to drive.
WRC 9 brings together the whole calendar for the 2020 season, even if we don’t really visit in real life. The three new stages of New Zealand, Japan, and Kenya bring their own set of challenges that fits quite well to the rest of the stages.
The car list is quite disappointing due to no fault of KT Racing, as the pandemic and external factors have made the main roaster of WRC cars drop from four manufacturers to three, in part of Citreon’s departure from top-level racing. Though additions of more WRC2/3 teams in later updates could elevate the total, it seems to be quite barren for now.
And besides the career mode, it’s Challenge Mode is a fun distraction. With all of the stuff, you had done in the main mode now condense for a quick and easy speedrun. Though at the time of writing this review, the Co-Driver mode hasn’t been implemented yet it should be a neat addition towards the WRC 9 package for next-gen.
Lastly, Multiplayer has been expanded upon thanks to the introduction of Clubs (which I didn’t get to try due to no friends) and esports-centric daily/weekly challenges to cater to those wanting to race against the clock with someone else online. Split-screen play is also there so MP is pretty stack from the get-go.
For myself, this edition of the series is a sort of a heading towards the swansong of the series under them in the coming years. I didn’t care much about it’s dated look when compared to their rivals, but it’s handling has captivated me still.
Though the career mode beats go quite similar when you reach the later stages, it’s still quite a nice experience to just have some management elements in a racing game career mode.
WRC 9 is the safe sequel that the series needs heading towards the end of its life-cycle. It’s still one of the most brutal rally game out there and hopefully come the next-generation of consoles, their final games would be something amazing. And I’m already looking forward to that.
Reviewed on PS4. Review copy provided by Nacon