As our regular readers will know I have reviewed previous racing games and rally Sims so it felt like a natural progression to review the next instalment of the popular WRC series of games.
I settled down in my gaming chair, put on my trusty 5.1 gaming headset and went into the menu and proceeded to turn all the assists off and the gears to manual. Note the reader you should be aware this is how I play ALL other racing games and have done so for years, I have a button map I am happy with so will remap the button to this when ever possible.
The 1st stage that greets you the new player is a test stage to assess your driving ability, ha-ha I think, look over at my wife, lift my right ear cup and say “ babe, hold my coffee and watch this, I am going to make this game my b*@ch”
So I follow the launch control instructions and I am away with a screech and spit of gravel, within 30 metres of the start I realise I am out of my depth, but my wife is watching and my entire manhood is riding on this…… the pressure is building now, my co- driver is shouting right 3 into 5 left maybe. I am thinking i shouldn’t have tried to assert my manliness over this game as it is showing me how insignificant I really am, should I bow to the dominance of WRC7 or attempt to win in this battle of wills. My senses are over loaded, the sounds are overwhelming, the woods are flashing past, my wife is expecting me to impress her and all I can think of is “I shouldn’t have tried this in psycho mode 1st go, all assists are off, damage is on, what was i thinking ????? “
Just as that thought entered my mind for no apparent reason a tree leapt out in front of me (or did I drive into it, who knows I am totally out of control but trying to style it out in front of my now near hysterical wife) causing me to crash and thus inhale sharply, this in turn scared my wife who was holding my coffee laughing at my frankly idiotic attempt to drive a 2007 WRC car with no assists on, she dropped said coffee in my lap in fits of laughter complete with snorts. So not only does the damage look great when you destroy and or damage the car but it’s incredibly realistic when your wife throws scolding hot coffee in your lap to simulate the bursting of the radiator and or intercooler…
WRC has a plethora of modes from career to solo and multiplayer also the option to create custom rally’s so you can create your favourite stages/ venues only. The only drawback is that the courses featured are the courses from the 2007 season so none of the older rally’s are there. On the plus side the super special stages are there. For any of you that aren’t familiar these stages, they are especially designed for spectators and pit 2 cars against one and other on a closed circuit course normally with cross over sections and jumps. They are adrenaline fuelled and really good fun to watch. They are even more fun to play online multiplayer with your friends, even though you cannot see their car, you get to see this cool ghost like tron car thing racing in real time against you.
Why they couldn’t include the actual car is beyond me, but then again I’m not a games designer and don’t pretend to be able to fathom the fizzgogs and whirly gigs that make a game.
1st go, all assists are off, damage is on, what was i thinking ?????
When you drill down into playing in career mode you start in the junior WRC class and have to work your way up to eventually get yourself a factory drive with one of the big teams. This isn’t a simple task and by this time you would have either mastered the game or turned all the assists on and turned the skill level down to easy. If like Neo from the Matrix, you no longer see the graphics just the code flowing in and out of the game your still playing with all of the assists off then none of the above is relevant and you would have assimilated this information anyway.
The Graphics are great if you’ve managed to say on this plain of reality and I didn’t notice any frame rate drop or clipping even when I “deliberately” hit trees, rocks, and all manner of miscellaneous objects at over 100 MPH and sent my car in an acrobatic spin flip or dead stop.
The Sound effects are rich and fabulous in Stereo, DTS and Dolby 5.1. The engines all have distinctive sounds, the gravel can be heard hitting body work and the underside of the car, the surfaces you drive on all sound different. Even the spectators and surroundings all play into an immersive sound field.
Where the controls are concerned at first I thought they felt a little “wishy washy” but as time went on I realised that in fact the controls require a far more subtle touch, imagine trying to shower a cat. Going in full tilt and trying to brute force your way through is only going to result in one end, yep that’s correct certain death. Where as if you approach with caution, taking little baby step and gradually working your way towards it, sure you will make the odd mistake along the way you may even loose a limb but gradually you’ll earn it’s trust. WRC7 won’t take your arm off or leave with one eye and covered in weeping scars, but with patience you can reach the giddy heights of a shaven pussy cat.
The days of the market place having a clear arcade rally game and a sim rally game are long gone, the decision now comes down to content contained within and WRC7 is exactly that its not a jack of all trades but a fully endorsed WRC7 sim.
It’s as hard to separate the rally games as it is to separate two legs that have been melted together with boiling hot coffee. So it is really just a matter of content and endorsement. If its the current season and all the current drivers/teams you’re looking for then WRC is the game for you !