New year, updated version: the WRC 9 review tells of the fifth evolution of the official game of the World Rally Championship edited by Kylotonn, the French software house also responsible for TT Isle Of Man. In this review we will analyze the news of the exclusive Epic Game Store (obviously also available versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while Switch and new generation of consoles will have to wait a few more months): simple update or new revolution?
There is no time for preambles: as soon as the game is started, we immediately start with a special test to test your skills and allow the PC to calibrate the level of difficulty. The mode are the same ones that dirt road enthusiasts had already learned about in previous years: first of all there is the classic world championship, updated to what should have been the current season and therefore including three new nations, namely Kenya, Japan e New Zealand; each rally is made up of eight stages, joining the other ten already present in the past.
The categories are, of course, the official ones and range from the premier class (in which, we remind you, only three manufacturers participate, namely Ford with Fiesta, Hyundai with i20 and Toyota with Yaris), WRC 2 and 3 (weakened by one hundred horses compared to prime; Volkswagen, Skoda and Citroen are added to the list) and WRC Junior, a championship in which only the front-wheel drive Fiestas produced by Ford take part. For those who stopped at the time of Miki Biasion there are the legends, in which the invincible Lancias (Fulvia, Stratos, Delta) appear, together with other champions of the past years.
Remaining in the single player mode we find the Challenges, tests that must be completed within a certain time to get points with which to unlock the next ones; the Training mode which is used to perfect the driving style and the Test Area where you can practice without limitations. We have deliberately kept the main dish of the house for last, that is the modality Career already introduced in WRC 8 which presents itself without sensational news. In practice, it is a question of starting from the lowest class (Junior) to get to drive one of the WRC racing cars while managing the team. Conceptually similar to the My Team of F1 2020, even if less detailed, the management part is not limited to repairing the damage between one test and another, but requires planning the calendar, choosing which events to take part in and when to reserve rest days to allow mechanics to regain strength, as well as spend the accumulated experience points to make each of the four areas of research and development more effective.
By now essential in this genre of games (and not only), experience online it integrates through a series of daily and weekly events with which to try to get the best placement in the global ranking. The multiplayer allows eight players to compete in a single test or in a series of specially created rallies. In this case the real-time position of the opponents is visible through their ghost cars; there is also a welcome split-screen mode and later the possibility of sitting on the right seat as a navigator will be added. January 21 will begin the e-sports world championship, divided into ten rounds, with the final stage scheduled for 19 July. The regulation provides that each player has five chances to get the best time in each race; at the end the first eight classified will be invited, in a location yet to be defined, to grab the title of virtual world champion.
At the wheel
Although they were already present in the previous WRC 8, the changing weather conditions and the deterioration of the vehicle have been further taken care of in this sequel. One of the best ways to test for changes is with special events to complete under the flood or with the car in pieces. The wear of the tires is also appreciable, the degradation of which influences grip when cornering and requires greater attention when traveling.
Il driving model it is even more sensitive than in previous years, and it will take you quite a bit to master it with the joypad. Unlike, to give a recent example, of Project CARS 3 (which still deals with other types of situations), in WRC 9 it is absolutely necessary to partialize the throttle and move the analog sticks with almost surgical precision, since nothing is enough to lose the control of the car (even those with all-wheel drive), so much so that to have a fully engaging experience it is necessary to rely on the steering wheel and pedals. Going into detail, it seemed to us that the pendulum effect is too accentuated and that its effects last for too many meters, regardless of the roughness of the asphalt and speed. There are also some oddities of the physical engine, which in some cases throws the car into the air after apparently innocent contacts; Furthermore, numerous invisible walls give an artificial effect to a title that instead, as mentioned, winks at simulation enthusiasts.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows 10 Pro
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
- RAM: 32 GB
- Video card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
- OS: Windows 10
- CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 | AMD FX-4350
- RAM: 6 GB
- Disk space: 30 GB
- Scheda video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650, 1 GB | ATI Radeon HD 5870, 2 GB
- OS: Windows 10
- CPU: Intel Core i7-6700 | AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
- RAM: 8 GB
- Scheda video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 6 GB | AMD Radeon RX 590, 8 GB
From the graphic point of view, there are only small adjustments, so much so that the comparison with the 2019 version presents imperceptible differences with regard to the tracks, which therefore remain well made but still not very "alive" and a little lacking in details, such as the audience made up of static figurines or plants that bend unnaturally when the wheels pass. The most obvious work was done on the camera behind the car, which now follows it much more smoothly. The models of the various Ford, Hyundai and Toyota, updated to the 2020 liveries, are cared for even if not very susceptible to bumps and dirt. Lighting and texture quality is slightly lower than Codemasters' DiRT Rally 2.0 rival, which will pick up the baton from Kylotonn in 2023.
The PC version, tested here, does not suffer from the limitations to frame rate that characterize the console versions, still at 30 fps (but the developers have promised a double value at 4K for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X), but still presents annoying drops due to the loading of portions of the maps (this obviously happens in the most long), completely unacceptable on a system equipped with one of the fastest SSDs on the market and 32 GB of RAM. The sampling of the engines is valid (but also in this case we have heard better); at times the co-pilot seemed slightly uncoordinated.
CommentTested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Epic Games Store, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 49,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
The driving model of WRC 9 is demanding and often rewarding, but unfortunately not free from imperfections, mainly attributable to the KT engine, which make it sometimes artificial: from a new edition we could have expected more. The offer is rich and able to satisfy the enthusiasts, but there are only small differences compared to WRC 8, which makes Kylotonn racing recommended mainly to those who, for some time, have traveled different tracks from those of rallies.
- Challenging driving model
- Great offer in both single and multiplayer
- Official licenses updated to 2020 (but not to the post-COVID championship)
- Few technical differences compared to WRC 8
- There are still too many invisible walls
- Sometimes the behavior of the car is unrealistic