Today I am going to be taking a look at the sixth iteration of the WRC series, which is produced by Kyloton Games. It is the creator’s attempt to go up against DiRT Rally and other games on the market, but all we want to know is whether or not WRC 6 is the one to have if you are in the market for a fun, immersive rally experience. Here’s with some hope that it plays well and it can take on the ever popular DiRT series.
Before we dive into it, let’s talk a little about the game history. So, with this being the sixth in the series, you’d hope that they have gotten things right and that it is a playable, enjoyable game; right? I’ve read mixed reports around the web, and I think that this will be one that I am going to have to find out for myself. I have also read in various placed that the previous version left much to be desired, and it was not something that was recommended for a rally game. DiRT was the preferred game by many, which means that they had to pull something out of the air to make this game a contender in the rally world once more. I am hoping that this game is very much the opposite of WRC 5 and that it delivers a much more realistic driving experience. I am of course no rally driver myself, but I am looking forward to delving right into this one to find out what it has to offer. This might be an alternative to other popular titles for you to consider, or it could fall flat on its face. It’s time to play a game! So let’s crack on after we take a quick look at the overall performance of the game.
CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4/3.5 GHz (core/cache)
Motherboard: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2×8 GB (16 GB) DDR4-2666 CAS 16
GPU: GALAX GTX 980 HOF @ Stock
PSU: Corsair RM650
OS: Windows 10 Home 64 bit
I’ve not got a single quibble over the way that WRC 6 played on the system above. It was fluid with no random FPS spikes, and it meant you were able to play the game in >60 FPS without any worry that it would slow down, causing you to miss that vital turning point due to lag. There was however something that I cannot put down to the game just yet. I did encounter a crash, but I cannot ascertain whether or not that was down to an instability on my end or the game – no settings changed, and the crash never happened again. Perhaps my system just decided it wanted to throw a wobbly at that point in time.
When I first dove into this game, I tried to start off with a clear head to give myself the best chance of taking the game for what it was. So, I was not expecting insane graphics or something to handle like Forza (for example) but I must say that it does actually handle very well. Yes, it is lacking in eye candy, but the overall experience of running through fast, tight tracks is something that is a little more important. Let’s discuss the graphics to begin with and then I will go into detail about the controls as well.
Okay, right off of the bat, I will be the first to admit that I did some prior research to this game before receiving it for a review, and I found that there was one similarity across many reviews – its graphics are not up to spec for a 2015/16 game. However, graphics aren’t always the most important aspect to a game, the gameplay itself is as important or more important than its graphics. You can make a game look like a polished turd for a 2016 game (by other standards) but if it plays incredibly well, you can forgive it.
Thankfully, although the graphics aren’t incredibly well put together in WRC 6, the gameplay seems to make up for it. I would say that it is realistic in the way that it drives, but some of the physics aspects are broken to say the least. Imagine yourself ploughing into a tree or a barrier at 100 MPH. You literally bounce off of the tree, reverse a little, and then carry on your merry way with ‘light’ damage. No, game, no! That’s not how it works! If I plough into the tree, I either want to see the darn thing fall over with a destructible map or I want to be flung into it with such force, that I have a U-shaped car at the end of it. Is that too much to ask? I think not. However, besides from the obviously broken physics, the game does handle well and you get an awesome sense for the tracks that they’ve inserted into the game. There are more tracks and stages than you will find in other competing games, but you may also be pleasantly surprised to hear that there are special races that come in the form of their ‘Super Special Stage (SSS)’ races. They are two car specials whereby you race against your opponent in an attempt to beat them around the track, as with any racing game.
If you do end up crashing a lot, you will need to repair your car. When you are in the garage for repairs, you only have a certain amount of time to complete your repairs, and you have got to do it sensibly as if you were on a real rally stage. You cannot put everything back to normal if you have totalled your car, which is a shame in its own right, but it is also a little more realistic. I have yet to total my car and haven’t had to add anything other than new tyres, brakes and a little suspension tuning which meant I was able to do the repairs in the time required. For those who are crash happy, you may wish to rethink your approach to the game if you enjoy flinging yourself off of the cliff on every second turn.
I started off with the mouse/keyboard approach and thought I’d swap to change it up later with an Xbox controller and/or a wheel with pedals. I have to say that even though I’ve not been into racing games with a keyboard for a while, it was pleasantly easy to pick up and just get on with it. The default control mapping needed adjusting to my personal preference (don’t they always anyway?) but aside from that, I can’t detail many horrid experiences when trying to turn corners at speed or rip that E-brake to get around a hairpin bend. One thing which I will need to mention is that the sensitivity is set to 20% by default, which is far too low to be able to make your car do what you want it to do. I cranked it up to 100% – all out or nothing, right? – and then it handled so much better than it did before at 20%.
Time to up the ante, and to go all out with a wheel. Plug and play? Why yes, it is! There were no major issues that I noticed when I used my wheel to play the game. All of the controls behaved as I had expected, but I did have to change a few of the buttons around – again, due to personal preference – which is no big deal at the end of the day. I am rusty on the wheel, but I didn’t have much of an issue getting into the game for the majority of the time that I did rack up with the wheel. It certainly does add an entirely different level of enjoyment to a racing game, which I thoroughly recommend if you are into your sim racing or otherwise. Just be sure you don’t overspend as they do get very, very expensive… but that’s a topic for another day.
Finally, I played the game with an Xbox controller to see what it would handle like. You can probably imagine that it felt like I was on an Xbox, as it even had the graphics to match. Sorry, was that too subtle? Anyway, I did notice that the controller mapping was pretty much good to go from the offset, with the exclusion of where to place the clutch (yeah, as if you would use that when in a rally car…) on the pad.
On all three accounts, I feel that the steering was a little delayed in the sense that it did not turn immediately, but that is a good thing in my opinion. Cars don’t instantly go into full lock when you turn its steering wheel; it takes time to get your car to turn a corner. It took some getting used to when pulling the E-brake, but once you get it nailed, you’re able to make some pretty fast turns around those almost 180-degree bends that they throw at you. Sure, you’ll probably fly into the barrier 9/10 times, but you will have a great time trying.
I have no major complaints about WRC 6, and it is supposedly a much improved WRC 5, which is something that we always look out for when a game (or hardware for that matter) is a flop. Would I go out and recommend this game? Well, possibly. The graphics let it down and make it feel as if my GTX 980 is more like a GTX 660, even with everything on Ultra and at 1080P, but it is a playable game at the end of the day. It’s fun and exciting to race through the tight tracks with lots of wicked bends, although I do wholeheartedly wish that more tracks were available. That is a negative that cannot be undone, but it is more than likely down to licensing more than anything else. Perhaps in the next iteration, we will see a larger track selection. Oh, and better graphics would not go a miss either… I like pretty maps and details.
The sounds seem a little off, and I mean that they aren’t as loud or as profound as I would have thought. The pace notes are just set pieces of voice recorded and thrown in rather than it being tailored to be random. It is all pretty boring but it gets the job done. I also noticed that they shorten when there are rapid corner changes going on. For example, it can cut out half way during a note and move on to the next one to make sure that you hear the final one in time. It’s not ideal, but you soon get the hang of it and you have to be able to make rapid decisions when rally driving anyhow. If you’re feeling daring, turn them off entirely, and see how you do.
Having played through multiple aspects of the game, I have to say that I do actually prefer the night time races a lot more to the daytime races. I am not entirely sure why that is the case, I think it just adds another level of difficulty to the game. It isn’t entirely a simulation style game, but it still requires a certain level of skill to be able to whip your car around the track without fatally falling to your reset point with an ‘x’ amount of time added to your stage.
So, the ultimate verdict: is the game worth its asking price of £34.99 on Steam? Honestly, if you are an avid WRC fan, it may be. However, for me, it isn’t worth its full asking price. The graphics just let it down too much. Yes, it plays well and I do appreciate that fact, but you need to make it into more of a combo in order for me to want to buy it. If you do some Google work, you can find it for less than Steam’s asking price, but I am not going to tell you where to find it as that is entirely up to you to do if you do not want to pay their full price. I am not condoning pirating! At the price that I was able to find the game, WRC 6 is surprisingly good value for money at that point.
I am going to continue playing WRC 6 and progress to the later stages where you (hopefully) get to use faster cars than the ones you start off with, and then see what it is like. I will update you on my progress as I continue to play through this game, and with my feelings towards the game. The initial review above will not change, but I may have a change in opinion further into the game (you will see!)
- It handles well.
- Racing feels accurate (speed etc.) compared with other games
- Poor graphics for a 2015/2016 game
- Controls need tweaking (minor - everyone has their own preferences)