Left in the dirt.
Did you enjoy Dirt Rally? Are you looking for another high quality rally sim? Then keep on walking, there’s nothing to see here. There have been some heavy hitters over the past few years. Codemaster’s Dirt Rally really went back to basics with the rally sim genre, and last year saw one of my favorite racing games of all time, Forza Horizon 3. Both excellent games, for very different reasons, and both received incredibly well.
Hot on their heels is WRC 6, a franchise that seems to be moving to an annual release schedule. Released in October of last year in Europe, it has finally made its way to the good ol’ US of A. But one thing is for sure, it wasn’t worth the wait.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
Multiplayer: Offline and Online modes
There are several issues I had with this latest release, all of which I will get to shortly. But let’s first talk about the positives, the biggest being the WRC License. This game is fully endorsed by the FIA and given free reign with the World Rally Championship license. This means the official teams, drivers, and rallies all play a part here. To be exact, 65 stages, set over 14 rallies, with each stage modeled accurately on its real-life counterpart. At the start of the career mode the game offers up the choice of three teams, each with their own goals and challenges. Starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, the Junior WRC, with each successful season you will be about to climb up the ranks to become a fully fledged rally legend.
There are also several extra modes to play about with from the get go. Multiplayer is of course an option, but there’s more than just online play here. WRC 6 includes something of a rarity these days, Split Screen local multiplayer, allowing two players to go head to head on the couch. There is also a mode called Hot Seat, where up to eight friends can compete against each other by passing the controller around. The online multiplayer is your standard affair, where you can join or create lobbies and compete against players from all around the world.
WRC 6 also offers up two types of timed challenge modes; eSports and Online Challenges. In eSports players can take on rallies set up by the developer, Big Ben Interactive, in a bid to be the fastest drivers on the planet. The challenges remain active for a short period of time, and each player gets five attempts to gain a fast time. Unfortunately, Event #3 had finished at the time of my review, and #4 had yet to start, so I was unable to experience the mode. The Online Challenge is a rotating weekly challenge that has a predetermined set of rules for all players, such as mute co-driver or handbrake disabled. All players will be driving the same car in the same conditions, meaning skill is the difference between the winners and the losers.
This all sound very exciting, but WRC 6 is let down by the quality of the main part of the game; the driving experience.
First of all and most noticeable is the performance. I experienced massive screen tearing and several instances of frame dropping during my time with the game, even to the point of feeling nauseous, something that made it difficult for me to play for any long periods of time. Sure, not everyone will have the feeling when playing the game as I did, but I feel it is worth pointing out. There is also a weird issue I encountered whenever the car performed a jump; the camera would suddenly elevate its position. Not game breaking, but odd.
The car handling also left a lot to be desired, with many of the cars feeling light. I often found myself oversteering and then having to pull back the other way to counter the effects. But this is hampered by what seems to be a slight delay in the responsiveness of the controls. It meant it was another thing to have to think about when making sharp turns or maneuvers. The game also had trouble making its mind up when it came to off-road penalties. On some occasions, I only has to stray half a meter off the road and I earn a multi-second penalty, when other times I would completely come of the road and never get hassled. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it. Couple these issues with a monotone co-driver and car engines that only seem to make any sound when accelerating, and going silent when you take your foot of the throttle, and it ends up being a sub-par experience all round.
Even with the WRC and FIA license, coupled with lots of content and a split screen mode cannot make up for the performance issues I experienced; resulting in a game that I am unlikely to go back to. If you are hankering for some rally action, I would recommend waiting until June to see if Dirt 4 scratches your itch.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.