If you are looking to test your off road skills WRC 9: World Rally Championship delivers an unforgiving, yet authentic experience. The game is packed with content that will keep sim racing fans busy for hours. The rally game features more than 100 stages and new challenges in Kenya, Japan, and New Zealand. The game even includes new modes like a brand-new Club system where players can create their own online championships and invite friends all over the world to compete in. With better vehicle physics, new environments and unforgiving weather effects let’s hit the back roads and see how the racing experience stacks up.
WRC 9: World Rally Championship Review Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Deep career mode
The career mode in WRC 9 features hours of detailed content that will have you chasing the checkered flag, and much more. This is one of the areas that the game really shines, allowing you to race your way from Junior WRC, through WRC 3, WRC 2 and finally into the main stage WRC. Not only are you able to control your fate on the track, but you can determine how your team takes shape between races. Behind the scenes you manage your team’s finances, objectives, crew, R&D upgrades, and even the events you take part in. WRC 9’s career mode is very involved letting you shape your on-track experience like never before.
Gameplay that will test your skills
The World Rally Championship series has been known for it’s incredible sim racing pedigree, and WRC 9 is no different. The controls are tough, but fair, reacting to the varied mixed surfaces your rally car is exposed to. Vehicle physics on mixed surfaces like gravel, dirt, tarmac and snow are excellent and they really pose a wide range of challenges in different environments. WRC 9 does an excellent job presenting the technical and mental demands of the sport. It really pays off to practice when the opportunity arises, this pays dividends on race day. The gameplay, much like the motorsport will test your reflexes, skill and will. If you are looking for an easily accessible arcade style racer, WRC 9 presents a very steep but rewarding learning curve.
New race modes to get you moving
WRC 9 comes with a wide variety of modes to race in with both classic local co-op options and online showdowns. It’s great to see split screen included for some epic couch co-op showdowns. The big inclusion this year is the addition of two new game modes to help bolster the online community for the franchise. Not only are players treated a deep career mode that lets you control the direction of your team, but it also has new additions.
The new league system offers deep customizable online championships that you can invite your friends to. You can even schedule heats at different times to suit everyone’s schedule, which is a fantastic touch. I really appreciated this feature which adapted to my schedule and let me race more. Overall, there is a lot of deep race modes that will provide dozens of hours of entertainment.
WRC 9 performance under the hood
Although the landscapes and environments whip by at breakneck speeds, they look authentic to their real-world counterparts. The graphics aren’t as punchy as titles like Forza Horizon 4 or Project Cars 3 but they are an upgrade from WRC 8. The new locales in Kenya, Japan, and New Zealand look great. Kenya really steals the show in both looks and wide-open tracks that offer more variety in racing. The red sands contrasted against the lush green backdrops are stunning with local wildlife like zebras and flamingos dotted in the background. Kenya is a welcome change to the more enclosed and denser European tracks. The cars, weather effects and environments look great, but there is room for improvement with so many visually dazzling competitors on the grid.
WRC 9 rally car realism
The cars have been modelled extremely well, and crash deformation looks incredibly realistic. Racing with an “in-car” view really shows off all the detail that has been put into the interior of the vehicles. If you are hoping for an experience as close to driving the real-life cars, WRC 9 pulls out all the stops.
Sound design needs more time in the garage
The sound design is unfortunately lacking, rarely hitting the right notes. I found that all the vehicles sounded far too similar. The roar of the engine also often drowned out the voice of my co-pilot and at times audio dropped altogether. An example of this is hitting walls and barriers, sometimes you’d hear a loud crash when making contact but, at times, no sound effect would be present at all. There is also very little soundtrack to speak of, with just a few generic tunes in loading screens. The sound design is definitely a weak spot in an otherwise very enjoyable sim experience.
Final thoughts on WRC 9: World Rally Championship
WRC 9 is a fun, yet very challenging romp through the world of rally racing. It’s an experience packed with content both new and familiar. Career mode lets you manage your team from A – Z offerings hours of team planning and racing. The new track additions of Kenya, Japan, and New Zealand offer racers some new challenges that breakaway from tradition in a good way. The new online Club System is also a major plus that really helped keep me connected to the online community. Although certain technical aspects like audio are rough around the edges, this is a rally experience worth checking out.
+ Excellent car models
+ New tracks are great additions that look and drive great
+ New race modes like online championships add to replayability
– Audio design leaves a lot to be desired
– Presentation visuals and menus mainly unchanged
– Steep learning curve for new drivers
OVERALL ASSESSEMENT OF WRC 9: World Rally Championship
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)
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