REVIEW | WRC Generations

REVIEW | WRC Generations

LifeisXbox’s WRC Generations review | KT Racing (Kylotonn) has been the developer behind the WRC games for the past years. Rally games have been an important part of my younger gaming years, it was one of the first things I enjoyed playing when friends or family visited me. To this day rally games are still my favorite racing experience. WRC Generations will be the last official rally game from KT Racing as EA and Codemasters bought the official World Rally Championship license for 2023 to 2027. DiRT Rally and DiRT Rally 2.0 from Codemasters have been great games so I am looking forward to seeing what they will do with the license. I can’t shake the feeling of sadness for KT Racing though, the past years they have always done an excellent job with improving the WRC rally games. I’m sure that the developer still has a bright future in the racing genre. With the upcoming TEST DRIVE UNLIMITED SOLAR CROWN and hopefully they will continue with non-licensed rally games too. Which they explored in the past with V-Rally 4.

I’m sure the past years for everyone at KT Racing were the same as a rally stage. Big tension in making the deadlines. And the years flew past with adrenaline and proud moments for reaching the finish line. I want to take this short time in my review to thank each and every developer who worked on the World Rally Championship license. You brought people together at events and created games that people loved to play alone or compete against friends and strangers. Thanks for the past seven years, I hope the WRC community will continue to keep an eye on KT Racing. Let this be a start for new podium finishes with other projects, which I’m definitely looking forward to playing with in the future!

ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.

What we Liked!

  • All 13 event locations from the official championship, plus 8 extra. That’s over 20 rally locations! | We’re going all around the world with WRC Generations. From Wales to Portugal, New Zealand to Kenya. And yes, we’re even going to my home country, Ypres Rally Belgium. I’m really surprised by the additional locations that aren’t on the 2022 calendar. I do have to mention that most tracks are repeats from previous years but with the improved lighting and visuals that’s totally fine. Various terrain types are an important thing with rallies and with all the different geological locations that’s exactly what you get. Snow, desert, forests, lots of hairpin bends in mountains, asphalt with ice, extreme heat, and lots of different weather types. WRC Generations never fails to bring new challenges to the player, something that makes it so great and fun to play. Add 85 cars into that mix and you have a game with an insane amount of content!
  • Rally gameplay is just something else entirely | I love playing rally games so much! You just don’t have that tension and fear of making mistakes in any other racing genre. The speed and complexity of the tracks and simply surviving with your car is one huge adrenaline candy that never ends. I’m not even talking about finishing first here. Yeah sure, you could make things a little less exciting by choosing the easy difficulty so you always win with 20 or more seconds but the real joy from rally games comes from battling for that fastest time in normal or hard difficulty. Let me first explain how this works in-game for those that never played a WRC game before. You start on track with a countdown, start too soon and you are punished with penalty seconds. Start perfect and you can already win a second against your competition. You don’t have any other cars on the track as everyone starts individually, a major difference with rally games is the co-driver. There’s no mini-map whatsoever and you carefully have to listen to the co-driver for what is coming from corners or how fast you can take them. For this reason alone I recommend playing with a headset as setting good times requires trusting and understanding your co-driver. Tracks are between 5 and 10 kilometers long and you have around five gateways that allow you to see how your time compares against the other drivers. The gameplay is fundamentally different as rally works completely differently compared to road racing in Forza or Need for Speed, so I’m sure you race enthusiasts love the change. Oh, and all of that without a cheating option to rewind time!
  • Hybrid engines | A highly debated thing in real life is introduced to this game too. A few regulations about it but Hybrid engines are in and can be used to influence car performance. It doesn’t make the ball square in football but you will notice some differences when you control a hybrid car. First is the weight, for me it was a bit easier to find grip at high speed while cornering. There is also the speedy acceleration after braking, this took a few corners before I got used to it but helps with improving track times.

  • Vehicle tuning and managing | An important part before starting a race are tire-management, knowing on what surface you are racing is really important. Do you take soft or hard asphalt tires? Are you facing ice or snow? Does it rain? Crucial questions and a bit overwhelming for newcomers. Luckily WRC Generations does a good job explaining all the differences, you just need to have the will to understand it all. Career mode takes extra steps with even more managing. You decide what the engineers improve on your car with R&D points and you need to do some crew and morale training too. You are more than the driver, a better name for the player would be full team manager. So tuning and optimizations on your precious rally car are important if you want to reach the podium.

  • Generations’ handling | I don’t doubt it any minute, WRC Generations has the best car handling in the racing genre on the Xbox platform. Playing this game with a controller feels like heaven and your car perfectly reacts to physics and the weight of the car. Driving on all the different surfaces requires some small learning curves but cornering and knowing when and how to slow down feels rewarding and realistic. I have been a fan of the handling since the big changes in previous years and now they seem to have perfected it with the right amount of stickiness on the road. There is not much better than the feeling of doing a controlled drift slide in a hairpin bend and blasting up full speed into the next one.

  • Focus on online features and gameplay | Last year they introduced livery creations and for some unexplained reason we couldn’t share them with other players. Luckily that’s an option we have now! Some fine work is already ready to download and I’m sure that the community will make more fine work. For competitive players is a brand-new system that FIFA players will know, you can promote or lower in league modes. A fine way of balancing the skill between players! It starts with a qualifying round that places you in a league and from there you can try to reach the top. Important is that this works with weekly points, so you’ll be sweet with this mode for a long time. Another way of being competitive is simply downloading the ghosts from players, everyone’s best time and how they performed on track is stored and other players can ‘battle’ against it.

Mixed Feelings

  • Damage modeling | Technically a lot of the physics for driving changes when you take damage. Visually things could have been done differently. Even experienced players will sometimes make a mistake and crash their expensive cars. In moments like this, you would expect total mayhem with the visual damage to your car but that’s not the case. You may crash against the side of a wall or do a full stop against a sturdy tree, there’s not much visual result. Before you start playing a rally championship you can decide how much influence damage will have on your expenses and car controls, but besides having the feared your car is totaled it doesn’t increase the realistic damage much.
  • Car sound is still not what it should be | A criticism I have every year and for this last WRC game from KT Racing, it ain’t different. Environmental sound is decent with some great surface sounds but car engine sounds are far from what they should be. It is like they recorded cars while unpeeled potatoes are in the exhaust pipe.

  • Visually, powered by the KT Engine is starting to age a bit | WRC Generations doesn’t look bad, especially in motion. The draw distance and track detail are present. When you really start to pay attention to the crowd or trees you’ll quickly notice how blurry or static everything is. The cars look fantastic and highly detailed so I’m not complaining about that but a bit more attention to the environment would have been welcome. They tried though, each location has a few visual setpieces and there’s no denying that the draw distance can be impressive. This comes with a severe issue though, there’s a lot of pop up in the distance and it can be distracting while you are driving. I was a bit surprised to see this issue again as last year they improved the pop-up, I replayed WRC 10 to confirm my statement and the difference is quite telling. So the visual experience is extremely mixed, weather effects look fantastic and rival Forza Horizon 5, and licensed cars are highly detailed and seem to come from real-life WRC footage. Negatively you have cars on the side of the road that seems to have escaped from Colin McRae Rally (PSOne). Trees look plastic fake like Madonna’s recent botox pictures and the constant visual pop-up in the distance is annoying.

What we Disliked

  • Feels similar | If you are like me and played all the WRC games in the past year you’ll feel right at home in WRC Generations. You do have a few new features but the career mode feels exactly the same as in previous years. I wish you could simply rush toward the top leagues so you wouldn’t have to start over again. The career mode is a rich and content-heavy experience but if you played it three, two, or one year ago it drags on a bit.

How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Unclear


KT Racing congrats! You were a gift for rally fans and this last officially licensed WRC game is the best reward for us racing fans. Codemasters have one hell of a task with improving what they made. WRC Generations is an exciting game that racing enthusiasts will adore playing!

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