Welcome to our WRC 8 review. It’s been two years since the guys at Kylotonn and Bigben Interactive dropped WRC 7 into the wild and after deciding to skip 2018 altogether, they have finally introduced us to WRC 8 which introduces a whole new load of features including a career mode that mimics the life of a real-life rally driver. I’m not a rally expert, so you won’t see many, if any rally terms or team knowledge in this review, but you’ll see all the important stuff that makes this game fun.
- WRC 8
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Kylotonn
- Publisher: Bigben Interactive
- Multiplayer: 1 To 8 Players Online And Local Play
- Available: 5th September 2019 (Switch Version – November 2019)
- Price: £49.99 (U.K), $49.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 3 (UK/EU), E (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
WRC 8 takes everything that fans of the series love and majorly improves upon it all. The biggest change they’ve introduced with this version is related to the career mode, which is now more full-on. Instead of just driving your car around each track, you’re also in charge of deciding what events you want to do between each rally and your crew (although typically a driver isn’t in charge of a crew). One of the biggest additions to the more full-on career mode is a skill tree that you can use to improve you and your crew and vehicle in an RPG-like style.
The addition of this new style career mode is something that’s long been needed for the series. After all how many times can you play a rally game each year and not feel like there’s not much difference? This shows that Kylotonn has been paying attention and fully understands that sports games need to feel much more different each and every version if they want to keep players coming back for more.
In between rallies and other events, you’ll find yourself at your base where you can choose events to take part in, manage your crew, view standings and statistics, check emails, and so much more. This really makes this a hell of a different game from its predecessor, WRC 7.
Obviously one of the most important parts of the World Rally Championship are the stages the drivers will be driving through. In real life these are often stunning looking settings within countrysides full of fields and the odd building or desolate areas of sandy road or snow-filled mountains, so naturally, it’s important that the stunning real-life visuals of these stages are carefully redesigned in a digital environment. Thankfully Kylotonn has done a wonderful job of catching the beauty of each area, whether its the snow-covered roads of Sweden or the muddy countryside of Wales.
A new dynamic weather system has also been introduced in WRC 8, which means you could start a race off in lovely sunny conditions and find it raining shortly after. The weather also greatly affects how your car handles, putting you as the driver to the ultimate test, just as it would in real life.
The scenery is full of life and vibrancy, which you’ll most likely notice that time you accidentally glance away from the path in front of you and find yourself driving off of a cliff or into a forest full of trees. Everything you see whilst driving in this game, actually makes you fully realise the dangers that rally drivers face, especially if they make one tiny mistake, such as skimming a mound of snow from the side and finding yourself suddenly twirling through the air (I swear it’s only happened once to me).
Not short of camera angles, WRC 8 allows you to select from a few; including a bonnet view, up close rear view, and my personal favourite a full-on drivers view. Pressing the up button on the DualShock 4 allows you to easily switch between each of these views as and when you wish.
One issue that really does bug me is that while driving at night I find it really hard to see the car and its surroundings and it’s as if there’s not much lighting, I’ve tried adjusting brightness settings and a few other things but nothing has really made much difference. During the day everything is fine, this just seems to be a huge bother while driving at night.
The cars in WRC 8 are very good digital recreations of the real things, right down to spec and looks. As the real WRC has certain requirements for cars such as their overall weight and aerodynamics, the developers have carefully and lovingly brought all of this to life in this wonderful-looking WRC digital recreation.
With realistic cars comes realistic damage and unless you’re some sort of pro rally driver, you’re going to suffer a lot of damage. Thankfully the game allows you to adjust the cosmetic damage rate to suit yourself, although components still get damaged and will need to be repaired every so often. This does cost money and each repair should ideally be done in under 45 minutes as per official WRC rules, if you go over this repair time you will suffer a time penalty on the next rally stage.
WRC 8 also features an online multiplayer mode, however at the time of writing this review, I haven’t found anyone to play against online. This is because at the time of writing, this the game is only in the hands of journalists and it seems anytime I’ve tried to hunt down a wild journalist to play against, I’ve come up against jack all.
Thankfully I’ve been able to get my multiplayer fix from playing against my 6-year-old son on the game’s split-screen multiplayer. Okay, he’s terrible and I won a few and let him win a few, mainly to keep the peace and not get screamed at by a little boy. You can pick from all the available stages and choose a team to race for as you battle it out with your family or friends to see who’s the fastest rally driver.
I have to say it’s nice to see Kylotonn keep split-screen multiplayer in this game as it’s a feature hardly found in racing games these days. Including it has ensured that the whole family can enjoy this game with each other from the comfort of a couch.
In conclusion, it’s wonderful to see a WRC that’s drastically different from previous versions. The new and improved career mode makes you feel like much more than just a driver and the RPG style skill tree gives levelling up even more usefulness. A new dynamic weather system makes each rally that much more authentic and lifelike while ensuring a challenging yet fun drive. Whether you’re a fan of the series of a newcomer, this is definitely a game I would recommend purchasing.
That concludes our WRC 8 review. To purchase the game on PS4 in time for its release on September 5th, check out the links below.