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Review: WRC 5

The last couple of months have been great for fans of the racing genre. With the release of the near perfect Forza Motorsport 6, some might say that it has been a very good year for the racing genre. Not everybody agrees however, rally fans had to wait for WRC 5 for the first big new rally game. At first sight, WRC 5 has everything rally fans want, a lot of cars, dangerous tracks and a high difficulty. But is it really that good?

Start your career

WRC 5 has a lot to offer, one of the most important modes is of course the career mode. Like any other popular racing game nowadays, a career mode is needed to give players a complete experience. WRC 5 isn’t any different from the competition and let you climb you way to the top. The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up with a specific team. It’s important to pick the right team since they all differ in the way they handle driving. Some teams will take it slower but safer while other teams will want to go as fast as possible. It’s important to pick the team that fits your style best. It makes some small changes to the gameplay but when it comes down to it, it’s really your driving style that will make the difference.

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Once you’ve signed with the team you like most, it’s time to hit the tracks… Or not. The game recommends you to go to the Rally School first, an interesting tutorial where you’ll learn the basics of rally racing. Since rally really is something else, going to school isn’t a bad idea. In here you’ll learn how to listen to the directions of your co-pilot and how to take those sharp turns in the mountains. You can skip lessons if you like and practice on what you really need to know but newcomers should really go to the Rally School and play all of the short tutorials. Without the basics, you won’t stand a chance.

Rally isn’t easy

Not long after your first minutes in the game, you’ll come to the conclusion that rally racing isn’t simple. You really need to understand your vehicle in order to maneuver it correctly in the sharp turns. For those who’ve got some technical background, you can change a lot to your car in order to make it perfect. You can change the tires, the weight, the brakes and a lot more. Not everybody will know what to do in here but it’s great for the fans. This feature doesn’t go that deep but offers enough to keep those fans motivated.

 

A decent rally experience

 

Besides modding and upgrading your cars, it’s important to know that the game comes packed with some of the most famous rally cars of today. Sébastien Ogier’ Volkswagen Polo R WRC is playable for example but Mitsubishi, Citroën and a lot of other big names all have their rally cars represented in the game. Not knowing what car to use won’t happen soon in WRC 5.

Dangerous tracks

The cars aren’t the only important feature you need to have a good rally game, the tracks are as important of course. WRC 5 delivers a decent job and gives us thirteen different rally tournaments, featuring five races each. The tournaments are:  Rally Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden, Rally Guanajuato Mexico, Xion Rally Argentina, Vodafone Rally de Portugal, Rally Italia Sardegna, LOTOS 7nd Rally Poland, Neste Oil Rally Finland, ADAC Rally Deutschland, Coates Hire Rally Australia, Rally de France: Tour de Corse, Rally Racc Catalunya: Costa Daurada and Wales Rally GB.

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As you see, it’s not a short list. The best thing about it is the fact that all of those tournaments feature different locations and weather conditions. One rally will focus on mountain races for example while another rally can take place on a muddy grass field during the rain. The environments really affect the way you play; racing on sand is a lot different than racing on grass. Famous racer, Sébastien Ogier, worked close together with the developers to make sure this feeling was translated in the right way. It must be said that the developers really succeeded in creating a natural feeling rally game. As a driver you’ll really need to take a close look at the track and the weather in order to adjust your driving behaviour. WRC 5 offers a lot of variation on the tracks; you can also change the time (day or night) while playing to increase this variation even more. A lot of variation also results in a higher level of difficulty of course.

It’s not an easy racer 

This higher level of difficulty is something you’ll need to get used to, in the career mode or the other modes. Trying to get used to this high level of difficulty works best during quick match races. In here you select the track, car and conditions before you start racing. It’s the best mode to get to know the cars and of course the tracks. If you want to keep your pole position during races, you’ll really need to know and understand the track completely. As in real life, there’s new danger after every turn on the track. The more you race on a specific track, the better you’ll become.

Getting confident in your skills? Try the online mode. If you’re not challenged by the career mode, we’re sure you’ll find some challenge during the online racers. Since WRC 5 is a very specific game, a lot of die-hard rally fans will be online, waiting for a challenge. So even if the main game is proving less challenging, we’re sure you’ll always find a new one in this game.

If you’re new to the rally scene, the offline racers are a safer bet but keep in mind that the computer controller opponents don’t hesitate. The competition is always hard to beat and it’s always a real challenge to gain first place, keeping it is even harder.

Made on a lower budget

That being said, it’s clear that WRC 5 is a great rally game but it’s not made with the same budget as a Forza Motorsport game. This is visible in the graphics and sound. The game doesn’t look bad but the cars aren’t that shiny or realistic as in the previously mentioned racer. The environments and weather effects look ok but never jaw dropping gorgeous. The graphics aren’t bad but some extra budget could have done wonders.

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The sound on the other hand is worse. The sound of the cars doesn’t match reality in any way. The sound of your engine sounds like an old airplane rather than a state of the art rally car. We were disappointed by this without a doubt and turned down our volume as fast as possible. Again, we understand that this game is made with a lower budget but it’s a shame the sound is this bad.

Aside of graphics and sound, the game does a decent job with the lower budget. It’s clear that most costs went to the handling of the cars on the different terrains and we can’t complain about that feature. If you’re looking for great gameplay, you’re safe with this one but don’t expect a brilliant presentation.

Conclusion: 

WRC FIA World Rally Championship 5 is a decent rally game featuring a wide variety of cars and tracks. It offers enough content to keep the rally fans going for a while but it’s clearly made on a small budget. Don’t expect the best looking game on the market but expect a fun, realistic rally experience. If you’re looking for a good rally game, this one is a safe purchase.

7.5/10

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.