The life of the pursuer is difficult, especially in rallying. You have to be convinced of your means, check the stopwatch, know where to recover tenths, precious cents, and enviable resilience. Asynchronous competition, the extreme loneliness of the game, and the rough natural conditions do the rest, so catching up is not just a question of skill, but also resilience.
Kylotonn’s WRC series has played precisely this role in recent years, with diligent and flawless application. The existence of Codemasters ‘ DiRT Rally and DiRT Rally 2.0 was, in essence, why the French title was always seen as the “other” rally game. Frustrating, I guess, but also a reason to be encouraged to do better. That’s what happened, and last year WRC 8 began to be “a contender” maybe not perfect, undoubtedly second-rate, but still competitive.
The story of this exciting run-up comes to life right at the climax: the WRC license will be in the hands of Bigben Interactive / Nacon until 2022, and then pass into the hands of Codemasters. Therefore, final tight for Kylotonn, who, as I told you after the first test of the title, has decided to give everything.
WRC 9 is the result of a long journey and draws its strength from being a layered experience. The construction of the world’s stages rally, year after year, has become more and more accurate, and the same pieces of asphalt, gravel, and earth have been improved edition after edition. What arrives today, albeit with some limitations, is the title that undoubtedly exploits excellently the license it boasts, for the quality of the track design, for the quantity of content, and for the career mode which, although linear and not very narrative. It offers detailed management of all aspects of a rally team.
Kylotonn introduced the three new stages of the original official calendar (which, of course, was devastated by the pandemic), namely Japan, New Zealand, and Kenya, and for the occasion redid the makeup of everything else. While never shining for the quality and quantity of details, assets, and models of the scenario, the new lighting system offers extreme views and more vivid methods than usual. The glance of Viana do Castelo in Portugal, for example, with the road that stands out at breakneck speed in the hills of the north of the Lusitanian country is a postcard that remains impressed and the lethal and sluggish intimacy of the Japanese streets. Ready to betray you with very rapid changes of slope.
The WRC 9 rallies also work for the new weather conditions that offer a remarkable unpredictability at each stage, with credible transitions and appreciable changes of context, both from an aesthetic and functional point of view. A sudden rain complicates the matter a lot, and the road surface reacts well to any weather stress.
WRC 9 brings a complex and meticulous story of the rally world championship’s essence, a little dry and cold in the staging, but essential, rigorous, and free from significant defects. Sure, the KT Engine isn’t as bright as the Ego Engine, which unfortunately makes all the difference in the world on the vividness and fullness of what you see on screen, but Kylotonn’s work does what it needs to and still succeeds. To enhance the license available.
The heart of the game, as usual, is the career, which follows those developed by Codemasters for F1, and allows us to become better acquainted with a world, that of the rally, quite angular. Starting from WRC 2 is essential to dominate the scene and become familiar with the world championship stages. The car’s development path also allows us to adapt our vehicle to the driving style we prefer during construction.
The variables are many; the micromanagement is a lot. It would have helped a bit of amiable narrative crap to pamper the player’s successes a little, more than anything else to feel part of a path, and not a simple resource optimizer. It’s all about tastes, but in terms of mechanics, even in times of career, everything works, and the level of challenge is not even trivial. Indeed, the WRC 2 deceives you because it seems like a walk, then you arrive in the premier class and take some severe blows.
This is because, beyond everything, the WRC 9 ‘s driving model is relentless and demanding. It remains enjoyable in the simcade world with the pad (although a bit of sensitivity tuning is needed). But the realism of the tracks and a rendering of the cars’ physics all in all very likely force you to always be super attentive to every curve. Especially if you set the damage to “simulation,” and it takes very little to become 1727wrldstar and break everything, completely ruining the race.
What pleased me most is that the changes of direction and weight transfers seemed much more gradual compared to the past, and the feeling of control, consequently, improved. The only aspect that remains problematic, at times, is the feeling of having little resistance on the brake in extreme weather conditions: both in terms of feedback (especially with the pad), and precisely from the absence of any perception of resistance, the speed with which you lose grip seemed excessive. The other historical problem of the series, namely the impacts, has been contained: it is difficult for a pebble to blow up or suddenly lose control of the car completely. Sometimes, there are cases of sudden decelerations from 100 to 0.
Nothing dramatic, either way, and overall, WRC 9 is as fun, challenging, and punishing as a rally game should be. Indeed, and this will please fans more than novices, it is the least didactic of the series and, while there is room for tutorials and fairly accurate training methods, also perhaps the least accessible.
In support of a more than pleasant and always trustworthy driving experience, WRC 9 has been developed with its community at heart and, above all, the eSport and multiplayer world. Over the year, new rallies will arrive (or return). In the tab dedicated to online gaming, there are always challenges to be faced and the possibility of meeting meetups in the company of friends and opponents worldwide. This year, it is possible to find real online clubs, and soon, the co-pilot mode will also arrive.
WRC 9 fails to undermine DiRT Rally 2.0’s importance, but it is by far the best episode of the series and is a carefully packaged product, able to enhance the license it boasts. It is a substantial experience, dry and without significant defects, which will meet rally fans’ taste thanks to a driving model that is a little more simulative than usual, challenging and satisfying, which goes to (almost) all the defects of past episodes. There remains the overall limit of a graphic and physical engine that cannot rival the Ego Engine, but also from that point of view, there is significant progress.
WRC 9 is a reliable, fun, and complete rally experience. An excellent way to enhance the license, and indeed the best game in the series.
- Good 0%