Reviews PlayStation

WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship Review

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World Rally Championship 7 is the officially licenced WRC FIA rally game, developed by Kylotonn Games and published by Big Ben Interactive. When it comes to rally titles, there is obviously a limited audience and I, for one, have never played a WRC title before.

I was excited to try it out, because I just love the sound of turbo’s kicking in and I have recently started playing some more racing games, and one famous rally game in particular. Unfortunately, WRC 7 is plagued with some issues and at the end of the day, it simply felt like a mediocre experience from start to finish.  

The official experience

Right from the start (and every time you boot of the game) it lets you know that it is the official World Rally Championship FIA experience, will the official licensing and all the bells and whistles. Rally enthusiasts would probably drool over it, but for someone like me, I quickly grew tired of hearing it over and over again. All I wanted to do is race in a Volkswagen Polo R5, which it allowed me to do.

It is my favourite of the rally vehicles and it looks fantastic, but other rally cars that got my attention was the Ford Fiesta RS that had some incredible handling and the beautiful Toyota Yaris. Then, there is also the Porsche 911 GT3 RS RGT which came with the Day One DLC and a plethora of other rally cars to enjoy.

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The game boasts 13 beautiful locations from different countries, 53 special stages as well as a plethora of weather and time-of-day effects. Different terrain elements make a big impact on your driving experience throughout the stages and it is definitely something to take note of. Then, there are also 55 official teams in the game from WRC2 drivers to WRC Junior drives.

The game allows you to jump into quick play right after a brief introductory race. In quick play, you can try out all the cars and officially licenced teams, which I used to plan what I would choose in the career mode. The career mode is expansive and sees you create your own driver and join a junior team to compete in various officially licensed events all on your way to rally glory.

The career mode has everything you would expect, but it started to feel like a tedious process after several hours. It simply felt bland and nothing really exciting happened. There are things like team morale to look at, some email messages from rivals and even news stories. Then, if you manage to do well, you might get offers from other teams to join them.

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In the end, though, it just couldn’t keep my attention for long. For me, that was partly due to the controls not feeling all too great. You control your car’s movement with the left analogue stick and it just felt a little off. That was on the standard PS4 controller, but as soon as I plugged in my Nacon Pro Revolution, the handling felt noticeably better. 

If you aren’t a rally expert, or just not that good at racing games, you should definitely pick a lower difficulty, with vehicle damage turned down and driving assists turned up.

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I didn’t particularly enjoy changing gears manually, so I turned on the automatic gear shifting. With that, it was one less thing to worry about while listening to the navigator and watching out for every bump, as I drove along in somewhat of an arcade mode.

The game can be as realistic as you want it to be, which offers great variety for different gamers. Even so, none of the difficulties felt like fun to me, with easy being basically a boring arcade mode, while higher difficulties just felt like a chore.

Multiplayer from South Africa

Whenever a game has an online component, we almost make sure to tell our local readers how it handles with our ping from South Africa. Although matchmaking took quite a while for me, when I got into the game there I experienced little issues. At certain points, I did experience a bit of lag, but for the most part, it was a smooth ride.

Then, there is also the option to compete in weekly events. These are dedicated, time-trial challenges with set rules for all players. This week played off in Sweden and it showed off some beautiful, snowy environments to race through.

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Although I didn’t do well on the leaderboards, it was a fun experience that left me excited for the event and made me want to improve my driving skills. Then, there is also split-screen local multiplayer, which felt incredible. Even so, it’s all just about setting the best time and you can see ghost cars of other players in real time, which was added a feeling of competitiveness.

Under the hood

The game looks fantastic on the PS4 Pro, with the cars having an incredible level of detail. At the start of a race, even the NPCs faces look good from a distance and the lightning, as well as the sounds, are great. The most important thing for me is a stable frame rate, especially in a game where one bad move can see you flying off the track and losing valuable time.

Thankfully, I experienced no FPS drops. It was, for all intents and purposes, a smooth ride. One thing that I experienced at the start of my time of the game, was that of driving into a small bush. Instead of just running over it, it was as if I hit a brick wall.

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This incident occurred again and again when I went a little off-track due to a mistake, which left me with a feeling that all immersion was broken. Why in the world would a little bush bring your vehicle to a grinding halt, other plants don’t have the same effect? I did experience some additional bugs in the graphics, as some objects just popped in and at one point, my car was clipping into a rock.

All in all, the game does look beautiful and I loved the massive draw distance on each of the levels, as one could see far off into the distance. These 13 counties that the game plays off in are so beautifully rendered that I would go so far as to say they were the highlight of the entire game. One of the things that kept me playing was that I wanted to see new stages and more than once, I lost control of my vehicle due to looking around at the sights.

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The sound is decent and the music accompanying the game gets you hyped to race again. However, the most addictive sound is that of a rally exhaust, which I simply couldn’t get tired of. That, coupled with the fact that I had to pay attention to the sound that my car makes and what the navigator told me at every turn, made for a great audio and visual experience.

The Verdict

WRC 7 is a decent racing game that might get boring quickly if you are not a rally enthusiast. For the petrol heads out there, the game delivers those amazing exhaust sounds, beautifully recreated vehicles and incredible tracks to prove your worth on. Unfortunately, there are some bugs and for anyone who isn’t a big rally fan, the game will probably get tedious after a while. The multiplayer handles well from South Africa and although the career mode is quite long, nothing really jumped out at me as something special, as it quickly became boring.

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Further, there is a dirty rally game that was released recently that is just a bit better for those who don’t care about official WRC FIA licensing and teams. In the end, I didn’t particularly enjoy the controls all that much and playing the game felt more like a chore than an entertaining gaming session. Saying that however, I showed it to my father who after watching me play it for a few hours loved it and went all petrolhead on me, talking about every little detail of the cars and tracks, so there is definitely an audience out there who might love the game to bits.

Available On: PS4, Xbox One and PC | Played On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 15 September 2017 | RRP: R929

This review was based off a promotional code provided to us by Apex Interactive.

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"It was, for all intents and purposes, a smooth ride"

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