So, this is the ninth WRC game. I’m a kid from the ’80s. The golden age from the rally sport. I remember as a 6-year-old how the Audi’s, Lancia’s, and Peugeots flew over hills on my television screen. Seeing those crazy fans on the road and dodging at the last minute. Those were the high days. Luckily we have WRC 9 now, a Rally Simulation game. Realism is great and you have a lot of options in-game. I will elaborate more on this in the review!
What we liked!
- Visually impressive: The environment is beautiful. I mean the details to everything around you. They really put effort into making the tracks as detailed as possible. These are real-life stages that they brought to a game. If the stage is narrow, it really is narrow. Also, a nice feature is the test area, where you can roam free to a certain extend.
- Cockpit view: The in-car experience. It made me almost feel like I was in the car. I drive the cockpit view. The sheer realism is amazing. I mean, you drive to a puddle or you slide through a muddy corner and the dirt and mud will stick to your windows of the vehicle. You will have to turn on the wipers to be able to see out of your front screen.
- Singleplayer options: You have a choice between a career or season. I played the career part, but it’s not really my thing. I preferred season. I’m not a fan of the team management part. I just prefer to race, but that is my personal opinion. You can adjust the difficulty level, so you can beat the other team’s times. A fun option is the perma crash, as the name suggests it. You kill your car; the stage is over.
- Online: The online multiplayer experience was fun too. I got my ass handed a couple of times, but I finished every game. Others just left, because they couldn’t handle the idea of somebody beating them, but you have that in every game. A nice feature was the other player’s ghost was driving in real-time. So, you had an idea how far ahead of the other drivers where. So, no ramming other players, just seeing how fast everybody is. Learn how to be faster and try to keep up, to take that perfect corner. They also created some online challenges, so you can measure up to other drivers. If you are a competitive driver, this will be a challenge for you.
- The controls: You need to set up the controls how you want it, or else you will struggle with controlling the rally cars. Even with my steering wheel, I was struggling. My biggest issue is the handbrake part. If you have the handbrake extension for your Thrustmaster or Fanatec setup, that will be so much better. You could perfectly adjust the needed tension on the handbrake. But with just the B button. You can’t put different pressure on a button. I was able to put the sensitivity to -3, it made my corner breaking a lot better.
- The engine noise: I don’t know, some engines were spot on, but when I drove the Porsche 911 GT3 RS R-GT. It sounded like a blender in my ears. Not every car has the same quality.
- The cars: I thought there would be more Group B cars in it. Maybe it will come out as a season pack or something. I mean there 22 cars, but a lot of teams in this game who drive the same car. Maybe it is just licensing for certain cars? I would love to drive in the Colin McRae Ford or Subaru. I mean there are a lot of legendary cars, I miss those a bit.
- Challenges: I thing I found odd. You can drive around a test track and try to put down the best lap time. That is the purpose. Why not show you the track onscreen? I mean, my co-pilot was silent. You have to do a “Maintenance” challenge, which is actually driving a rally stage as fast as you can, how far you can, but my co-pilot remains silent. How can you think of driving fast, if you don’t see where you are going?! Yes, I can read the road, but a hard left or chicane you don’t see coming, this will send you flying. Then there are the Extreme stages, as it says EXTREME. There you have you co-pilot talking to you and I’m like: “Where were you 5 minutes ago when I was doing the maintenance stage?”
What we disliked
- Game crashes and bugs: WRC 9 is plagued by some random crashes and annoying bugs. One of them is disappearing sound, nothing more annoying than being halfway and sound suddenly dropping. Menu’s that stop working, forcing a restart or the game crashing while you are driving isn’t a rare thing to happen.
The learning curve will be steep and hard. Don’t give up will be your motivation. If you are at a high skill level, this game is for you. You will enjoy the scenery and the sweet twisty bends and difficulty. I wish I could give it a higher score, but the crashes are a dealbreaker for. It’s not just on Xbox, also on pc. I hope they will patch this soon. I would love to give it an 83%, but because of the crashes, I’ll give it a 63%.