Promoted: WRC 8's step towards simulation pays dividends

With a more realistic physics model and revamped career mode, Kylotonn has taken the fight to current rally simulation market leader DiRT with its latest officially-licensed World Rally Championship game

Promoted: WRC 8's step towards simulation pays dividends

Its decision to deliver WRC 8 two years after its last release has paid dividends, and the extra development time is immediately noticeable.

The environments look sharper and denser than ever before, but the main improvement here is the handling model.

Its previous titles had a competent and accessible physics model, but it struggled to truly capture the raw speed of the new-generation WRC cars.

WRC 8 addresses this problem well, the extreme grip and genuine excitement that drivers feel from driving these cars is replicated to a good standard in the game. It's certainly not easy to tame the cars, but a plethora of assists are available for those more casual gamers.

For the more hardcore fans, there's also a huge selection of car set-up options. These are especially important for gamers who use a gamepad. The default set-up does at times deliver a twitchy car. Its better than it was in WRC 7, but further refinement is needed in future titles.

The R5 cars in WRC2 are also enjoyable and there's an impressive roster, especially given it includes the Proton Iriz R5, which won't even compete in the series until next year.

It's one of nine 'bonus' cars in the game. Among the headline additions are the all-conquering Volkswagen Polo and the Lancia Stratos.

They're integrated into the career mode well. In between competing in the official rallies, gamers have the option to race these classic beasts - similar to F1 2019.

The WRC2 Pro and WRC2 divide has been something of a muddled mess upon its introduction in real-life WRC this year, and this is mainly ignored in the game, with combined rather than separate standings. Although less realistic, its more logical and simplified than its real-life counterpart.

One thing to note is the inability to alter the AI difficulty once the career mode has begun.

There are over 100 stages in the game, and these feel more realistic than ever. Particularly improved is the gravel surface. Driving in the likes of Argentina, Chile and Turkey are tough but enjoyable with every rock and rut felt.

Small positive details include the inclusion of Marcus Gronholm, who made his one-off WRC comeback in Sweden earlier in the year.

Autosport tested the game pre-launch, so the merits of the multiplayer elements remain to be seen but will be particularly important given the ever-growing Esports market.

To say WRC 8 is an improvement on its predecessor is a severe understatement. Its created a solid realistic base for the future and although it's not quite enough to knock DiRT off its perch, it will certainly keep Codemasters on its toes.

WRC 8 is available from today on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

shares
comments
WRC8 reveals classic WRC car roster ahead of game launch

Previous article

WRC8 reveals classic WRC car roster ahead of game launch

Next article

Mercedes can be toppled in F1's other title race

Mercedes can be toppled in F1's other title race
Load comments
Analysis: How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest race Plus

Analysis: How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest race

An unlikely partnership between LMP1 privateer Rebellion Racing and Williams Formula 1's successful sim racing team yielded victory in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Here's how it triumphed in the biggest sim race ever staged

Esports
Jun 15, 2020
How poor driving standards ruined IndyCar's golden opportunity Plus

How poor driving standards ruined IndyCar's golden opportunity

The chaotic end to the virtual Indy 175 might be dismissed as "just a game," but the insulting actions of two IndyCar stars may have serious real-life consequences

Esports
May 3, 2020
Why Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit Plus

Why Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit

The introduction of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi to Formula 1's Virtual GP last weekend meant it was a step above the franchise's debut two weeks ago. But a dominant performance from Esports newcomer Leclerc stole the show

Esports
Apr 6, 2020
How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed Plus

How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed

'Natural talent' is one of the biggest misnomers going in motorsport, and that is being proven by the way real life racers aren't immediately getting on the pace with the sim racing experts in virtual contests. To change that, they are having to apply the same tools required to be quick in real life

Esports
Apr 2, 2020
Why F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable Plus

Why F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable

F1 Esports' inaugural Virtual Grand Prix last weekend provided brilliant entertainment to those tuning in to watch a mix of F1 drivers and celebrities battle on track, but was a missed opportunity for marketing its own Esports stars. A change of approach is needed if it is to successfully fill the void until the resumption of proper racing

Esports
Mar 24, 2020
The latest Red Bull exile to return in Esports Plus

The latest Red Bull exile to return in Esports

Since he was ejected from the programme at the end of 2006, the latest Red Bull junior driver brought back into the fold to race in Formula 1 - in a virtual sense for the inaugural Virtual GP - has had quite the career journey. From ADAC GT Masters and Porsche Supercup to Le Mans and the DTM, here's how a works pro got to relive a long-forgotten dream

Esports
Mar 24, 2020
Mercedes can be toppled in F1's other title race Plus

Mercedes can be toppled in F1's other title race

Mercedes has not only set new standards in Formula 1, but it's also created a benchmark in Esports. Now its rivals have scrambled to catch up, there's a chance the Brendon Leigh-fronted Mercedes can be stopped

Esports
Sep 10, 2019
Why World's Fastest Gamer is returning to real-world racing Plus

Why World's Fastest Gamer is returning to real-world racing

World's Fastest Gamer is a spiritual successor to the famous GT Academy. After a successful first year, it's returning to the Nissan programme's roots by targeting the real world of racing

Esports
Jul 31, 2019