By Robin "Forerunner" Ritzen on August 31, 2020
Now, what could possibly be more fun than racing fast cars? Exactly! Racing fast cars on dirt and snow! WRC 9, developed by Kylotonn and published by Nacon, lets you do just that! So, did they manage to recreate the fast paced and aggressive racing called rallying? Let's find out!
First of all, I would like to give you some inside info on where I'm coming from. I have not played any WRC or rally game in the past, so this review is a fresh take on the rally game genre. I do play a lot of racing games like Project Cars 2 and F1 2020, so I will make some comparisons to those games.
Before diving into any big game modes like career, I first wanted to get acquainted with the general feel and gameplay of WRC 9. I fired up a quick race in beautiful Sweden, which is where I got my first look on the graphics from this game. With WRC 9 being a sim racer, I honestly didn't expect too much. When it comes to these games, I value gameplay way above graphics. With that being said, the environment looked beautiful while driving around in it at ludicrous speed. The cars looked equally beautiful and the interior was detailed enough to really get immersed into the game. My first attempt quickly ended folded around a big tree (They don't give way). Turns out you really have to pay close attention to your co-driver gently screaming directions in your ears. Coming to grips with this fact really helped me get up to pace and in less than no time, driving around a blind corner at full speed, completely trusting my co-driver felt really good.
Like most racing games, WRC9 features a career mode, and let me tell you, this is a juicy one! Career mode starts off with choosing a lower junior class or WRC3. These classes are much more forgiving as the cars go slower which means there's more time for you to react to whatever the course throws at you. WRC's career mode is definitely up to par with recent games like F1 2020 and MotoGP 2020. I might even dare to say it is better, as it perfectly combines the best of both worlds. This game mode involves so much more than just racing; managing your own staff and an in-depth R&D tree means there is plenty of variation to the game itself. The ultimate goal is to become WRC champion and it's a difficult but rewarding road!
I really like the steep learning curve of WRC9. You can't just turn on a dynamic racing line which tells you exactly where to brake and where to turn. I found myself having to restart quite a few times, just so I could learn the best way to attack a corner or finding out just how late I can afford to brake. Add some heavy rain and complete darkness to this already dangerous high-speed and you really start to build up a lot of respect for this sport. Firmly holding my steering wheel while not having blinked for at least five minutes straight, trying to maneuver my car around treacherous mountain passes and challenging fast sweeping corners is really something else. If you're looking for a casual rally game to play after work, this might not be for you. I personally found this to be one of the hardest racing games I played in years.
The game performs really well, both with a steering wheel and controller. I really enjoyed the amount of settings I could adjust in terms of force feedback and vibration. Taking your time to find out what suits you best is important to make the stages both challenging and fun at the same time.
With a lengthy career mode, plenty of stages and even more cars to choose from, the content WRC 9 offers at launch is more than enough to keep you coming back! Kylotonn did a fantastic job capturing the feel and emotion that come with rallying. If you're looking for a challenging but fair racing game, give WRC 9 a chance and I guarantee you will be hunting that WRC champion title in no time!