I don’t really get why but I’m really good at rally games, despite being averagely skilled in the racing genre. Maybe it is because I have been playing this sub-genre since I was nine years old? Anyway, the developer Kylotonn took a small break from the WRC franchise and released V-rally 4 last year, I’m not entirely sure if that means that WRC 8 got more development time but it is remarkable how much better WRC 8 is compared with WRC 7 in 2017. Lots of changes have been made like a revamped career mode, improved visuals, dynamic weather, and a brand new physics-system. So can it take the pole position in the rally genre and beat Codemaster’s DiRT? You’ll find out in our review!
What do you do? WRC 8 is a pure rally simulation game. You have 14 different countries with 100 different stages, having the fastest times will result in points that allow you to win the championship. Besides racing, you have to manage your crew and car, but the racing remains the high focus.
- Handling cars: Controlling cars has been drastically improved compared to the previous one. Cars make much more realistic movements and throwing your weight around is much more fluent and as expected. Things turn a little weird at some crashes but the driving part is really superb. Each car feels different too and changing things in the garage really makes a difference, something I miss in other rally games.
- The thrill of not making mistakes: There is no rewind function. And honestly, that’s the biggest blessing you could possibly have in this game. You constantly sit on the edge of your seat doing your absolute best to not screw up your perfect run. Most stages take around the four minutes mark but you have some longer stages that last up to 10 minutes. It is really exhausting but SO MUCH FUN trying to keep your horse-powered car monster on track! Actually making a mistake isn’t strongly punished, you get a few seconds penalty time but you can make things more difficult and turn on perma-crash. Without a doubt, Of all racing games, WRC 8 might have the most rewarding gameplay.
- Career mode: Kylotonn totally remade the career mode and it is much more featured-packed with the officially licensed tracks, historical races, training stages, and crew management. Financial stuff is also something you need to keep an eye on but nothing annoyingly difficult or time-consuming. Doing good on the calendar events earns you EXP and this is something you’ll use to improve your skill tree, letting you earn more money, reputation for manufacturers or having better crew results. Also important, if all that managing isn’t your thing you can just start a career mode with just the racing.
- Track diversity: Kylotonn is a crack in making rally tracks, visually beautiful but more important very exciting to race on. From insanely narrow mountain roads to trees or other objects that give some intense blind corners. You never know what’s coming, luckily your co-pilot helps to warn you but very often you have some adrenaline moments by nearly escaping a crash or slip.
- Multiplayer! Local split-screen, time trial so you can pass controllers, split-screen online multiplayer and weekly leaderboard stages aimed at Esports. WRC 8 has lots of content when it comes to the multiplayer aspect.
- Damage/Dynamic weather: The combined aspects of damage on your car and the dynamic weather really changes things up on the rally stages. If you thought that the rain puddles were impressive in Forza you’ll be surprised to see it even better in WRC 8. As the co-pilot can’t warn you about puddles you’ll have to make split-second decisions when you see one at the very last minute. Same with car damage, even the slightest slip or jump impact can have an influence on your steering or transmissions.
- Visual pop up: Visually WRC 8 looks pretty neat, especially on Xbox One X. What annoys me at occasional moments is the visual pop-up in the not so far distance. Fences or people that pop up 20 meters away isn’t rare and catches your eye at the most annoying times, resulting in some confusing moments. As this is a realistic racing game, people popping out of nowhere can’t be explained by Star Trek’s teleportation beam. All jokes aside, I’m aware that this game has some very pretty vista’s and the draw distance is impressive but this isn’t an excuse for the pop-up issue.
- Game crashes: When WRC 8 crashes your Xbox console more than me crashing a Polo R car on a tree in the game we really have an issue, Kylotonn. It happened quite a few times that out of the blue the game shut down my Xbox One X. Forcing a complete restart, not to mention that it can’t be healthy for the console either. First thing I did was ask some other pre-release players and they all confirmed the same thing so this isn’t only my problem.
What an experience! Kylotonn has surprised me with delivering something this great. I’m sure that the game crashes will be patched out soon, so racing fans you know what to do! The career mode has depth and lots of gameplay length, cars control and look great and the race stages are exciting and very well made. Not to mention that the stressy gameplay is rewarding and so much fun!