If you know the membership series, there is little to introduce; WRC 9 is the sporting title dedicated to the world of rallying. Developed by Kt racing and published by nacon, the work launches on the scene proposing a series of novelties within the sports franchise, starting with three brand new rallies up to creation of custom leagues, in order to allow the player to have fun with his favorite cars in the way that suits him best. WRC 9 will be released on 3 September 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (via Epic Games Store), and then arrive on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. But what awaits us in this new iteration dedicated to one of the most underrated sports ever? Can it hold its own against other simulators? Here is our answer.
The wheels, the engines… and the management
When the title is launched, it starts immediately with the roar of the engines, which for those who love sports it's like music. The only choice the player can make before the very short tutorial is to point to the game what is the level of skill with simulation titles, so as to allow WRC 9 to meet him. Once this simple question has been answered, a short path will start that will act as a tutorial for us and as a help for the title, which will understand our level and will show us at the end of the race what will be the difficulty with which we will play against the CPU, so that in case we do not agree, we could go and modify everything according to our preferences. We wanted to entrust ourselves to programming, and it must be said that We had a great time. Once the tutorial is finished, we will be asked if we want to go to the tablet to the Career mode, and that's what we've done.
After choosing this mode, we will be faced with various decisions such as, for example, from which category we would like to start, so that WRC 9 is accessible to all. But not only that, we will be warned: we will not be just pilots, but we will also manage the team… And if you think it is a very simple management software, be ready to change your mind. We will find ourselves with the roar of engines and the crackle of the exhaust pipe, inside an office where we will have to manage every aspect of our team, so as to make it the best in the world.
Inside WRC 9, in fact, there are some real ones Skill Points (unlocked after reaching a certain number of Experience Points) to spend on Research and Development (R&D), which will allow the team to have new members, such as the meteorologist, who is one of the key figures within a professional team, given that being able to predict the weather means being able to use the right tires and have, as a consequence, greater chances of victory. The R&D tree it will be a real tree of Skills, therefore it will be divided into four "branches":
Luckily, in case you don't know anything about Experience Points, Points and Skill Trees, don't be afraid. The first few beats of the game will be very guided thanks to a voiceover that takes the player by the hand and allows him to clearly understand everything that the production offers. Last but not least, we will have to organize our team and events to do. We must remember that our team is made up of people, and each of them has some specific skills that vary, not to mention that they might get tired. In addition, they will have to be paid, so there is also a need for a certain "entrepreneurial" vein.
Finally, our progress will be marked by the passing of the weeks, during which we will have to make various decisions. For example, is it better to participate in an "extreme conditions" event (where rain will dominate and the car will be damaged by default) or train? Do you have the right car to attend the event? Is the team at the top or maybe it is better to let them rest? All this without forgetting that we have gods friendly relations with other builders. These are the questions we need to ask ourselves. Once all this management part is finished, here we can open the door and start the engines.
Speed isn't everything
Once an event has started, there will be a loading that will tell us the weather conditions and the path on which we will drive. When this ends, it will be just us, our partner and the car. Everything can determine defeat and victory, and being quick is often punished, since we will not have time to react to what we will be told by our co-pilot. Furthermore, if you are not happy with the timing, it will be possible to modify them, anticipating or delaying the various warnings. Unfortunately, being a rally title, if you don't know the jargon you might find yourself in trouble. Yes, because if someone tells you “curve eight to the right very long, don't cut, widen”, and you have no idea what that means, it will be very easy to get off the road.
When the event ends you will have a screen with all the rewards you have obtained, which are divided into: money, experience, condition of the car and morale (of the team) which is influenced by the performance in the race. The feeling pad in the hand it's really realistic, despite not being a real steering; it's possible feel the weight of the car, when jumping into a pool of water the setback is heard that the car relentlessly suffers through controller vibrations, and when you start stepping your foot on the accelerator, the developers have majestically reproduced the sensation of speed that you have and that you notice by watching a rally race. In order to maintain control of the car, even at the lowest difficulties, it is necessary to know how a car works, otherwise the risk of finding yourself with a very frustrating experience is very high, all due to the simulative nature of the work. In short, it's not as plug-and-play a title as it might seem.
But how does a real rally take place? It is divided into two days, it will be necessary select the tires, the set-up and you will have some objectives, which can range from simply "get as high in the rankings as possible" to "win the rally". If you have an accident, it will be possible to fix the car between one day and the next, but if the team takes too long (more than forty-five minutes), you will suffer a penalty. Furthermore, in the screen that will be available, all the possible indications will be present to allow us to make wise choices e give our best on the track, whether they are Special Stages, Super Special Stage (closed circuits) or the Power Stage.
And online? Unfortunately we weren't able to try the quick games, but we can say that there are daily and weekly events that allow you to compete with players from all over the world. All this is the gameplay of WRC 9, but technically how does production fare?
The weak point
Unfortunately, as far as this fabulous title dedicated to the world of rallying is concerned, we have arrived at the sore point. If pad in hand, everything is realistic and wonderful, unfortunately from a graphic point of view we are in front of a fifty and fifty. We explain better: imagine perfectly reproduced cars (also the historic Lancia Delta), asphalt and well-made terrain, which allow the player to dive, but a overall bare setting, almost empty. It is understandable that this does not represent the core of the game, but to see such poor settings in a work that will also arrive on next-gen suggests, albeit the hardware of these consoles and those to come it will be completely different.
Unfortunately, however, the graphic component of the settings is not the only sore point of WRC 9. Yes, because even if you select the realistic damage level, it will be a mere "mechanical" damage e not visual. The windows do not break, but the rest of the machine can suffer dents, scratches, up to the half opening of the door, but no piece will ever come off the car. And that's not all, another point against production is sound effects, which seem almost out of context (this always when it comes to collisions). As for instead the roar of the engines, everything appears well done changing intensity according to the type of view you want to use. The soundtrack also appears modern and pleasant, without leaving its mark.
Is it worth it?
We've gotten to the point where the wallet is most interested. It is worth buying WRC 9? The answer is yes, but only if you follow the rally. Sounds silly to say, but it's such a technical and simulation title that it has to be really fans in order to fully enjoy the experience created by Kt racing. In case you are curious about the title without being particularly interested in sport, it's worth it wait for a major discount. If, on the other hand, you are part of that group of people who don't miss a rally, then you can buy the game with your eyes closed, although you may have to close them a little too much.