WRC 6 PS4 Review
Publisher: Bigben Interactive Developer: Kylotonn Games Genre: Racing Players: 1-8
Age Rating: 3+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
I didn’t play it, but the last game in the WRC series, WRC 5, was apparently a bit of a disappointment. To be fair, this was the first time that the French developer Kylotonn Games had made a WRC game, although it still was inexcusable to have stages that were overly wide, particularly as racing along very narrow stages is something that adds to the excitement of rallying.
I am pleased to say that with this follow-up, the developer has taken all feedback on board, and have delivered a more complete rally experience on their second attempt. One of the things that have allowed Kylotonn Games to improve this sequel in certain areas is the fact that they have solely developed the game for this console generation and PC, meaning that no compromises had to be made for having to develop with lesser hardware in mind as well.
Developing the game exclusively for current hardware is most apparent at first in the gorgeous visuals. The cars are the stars of the show, but the lighting also looks absolutely stunning, and the environments also benefit from increased detail. While the game is running at half the frame rate of Codemasters’ DiRT Rally, WRC 6 is still a beautiful game in its own right. I have heard frame rate stutters mentioned elsewhere, although I can’t say that I experienced this myself.
Developing the game solely for current generation consoles has also given Kylotonn the opportunity to create a new physics system for the game, and they have seized this opportunity. The fun and responsive handling of WRC 6 sits nicely between accessibility and simulation, and there are also various settings to tailor it to your skill level. It’s hugely enjoyable powering through the stages and sliding your car around corners and tackling the different track surfaces, but there’s also enough depth to make it feel like you are in full control at all times.
After a couple of questions that ask you your experience with rally games as well as if you want the game to be a realistic or fun experience, you’ll then find yourself doing a couple of test runs, and it’s here where the game will determine your skill level as well as tutor you on different things. At the end of the run, handling and AI difficulty options are suggested to you, and you can either go with these or switch to some of the others. You can also play the test run again if you so wish. It’s a nice and welcoming way to introduce you to the game, and it means that WRC 6 doesn’t expect too much from you in the way that some games do from the outset. Newcomers needn’t be overly intimidated by this one.
The toughest difficulty level has mechanical damage switched on, while damage is only cosmetic or affects the handling on some of the lesser difficulty levels. When playing on the highest difficulty level, you’ll have to be very careful with your vehicle and respect it, as retirement from any rally is always a possibility if you lose control or keep crashing your car over and over again before you are able to repair it. The game doesn’t even include a rewind feature, so you’ll have to settle for good old fashioned restarts.
The career mode in the game is where many will be spending the bulk of their time, and I’m pleased to say that it’s a good one. Starting out as a junior WRC driver, you choose what team you want to race for, and you are then given objectives to meet during each season. Eventually you’ll climb to the WRC 2 class and then the lofty ranks of the WRC, giving you access to the faster cars and putting you up against all the big name rally drivers.
If you fancy some quicker modes, then you can play single rallies as well as set up your own custom championships. Weekly online championships are also an option, which put you up against the world for the best times, and there’s weekly challenges as well. Along with the career mode, there’s a pleasing amount of modes that will have everyone from the rally fan to the casual gaming rally fan playing for some time.
Being the official WRC game, WRC 6 has all the official cars and teams, and there’s also representations of all 14 rounds of the WRC. This means that there are 14 different locations spanning the globe, which includes Finland, Wales, Australia, Portugal, and the introduction of China. I’m also delighted to say that the more open stages of Kylotonn’s first attempt are a thing of the past, and you really will have to concentrate and listen to your co-driver’s instructions to set some impressive times on these tight, twisty and dangerous stages, with darkness, rain, snow and fog also making things feel all the more perilous at times.
Things aren’t all positive though. The game has a bit of an inconsistent penalty system in which you are penalised for veering too far off the track. The thing is, sometimes you don’t have to go too far off the path and you still receive a time penalty, which is added to your overall time at the end of the stage, and if you veer off into the crowd very slightly, you also get a rather steep time penalty, and as a couple of seconds here and there can be the difference between a podium finish and less, it can be a frustrating thing to happen, particularly on the tougher difficulty levels. In such unfair situations you may wish that there was a rewind feature to rectify these issues.
WRC 6 also has a suite of multiplayer options, with split screen even being a possibility. If you’d prefer to take it in turns when playing in local multiplayer, there’s also a Hot Seat mode. Online, the game plays out in the way that we have come to expect rally games to play, going up against opponents who appear on the screen in ghost form, and racing against each other for the best times.
WRC 6 is a game that has appeal for a number of contrasting players, and that’s something it boasts that DiRT Rally lacks. Whereby Codemasters game is titanium-like in its toughness, WRC 6 has enough options to make the game simulation-like or geared more towards those who want the game to be fun. Even with its most difficult handling options turned on though, WRC 6 is not as tough as DiRT Rally, and in that way it may not completely satisfy the simulation crowd. This is still one fantastic rally game though, and it’s nice to see that Kylotonn Games have listened to the feedback they received after the release of last year’s game, and it will be interesting to see how they build on that with their potential third attempt.