WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

WRC 9 retains everything that made WRC 8 such a joy to play but also tightens a few things under the hood. It comes with the welcome inclusion of three new countries as well as new features, such as the Clubs mode to extend the longevity of the game. Throw in a great selection of cars and the promise of some great post-launch content and you are looking at a game that should not be missed if you are a rally fan.

Gameplay: Tough to master, but addictive to play.

Graphics: The cars and roads look incredible.

Sound: Very authentic sounding engine noises and effects

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WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship

Developer: KT Racing | Publisher: Nacon | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Racing / Simulation / Sport | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Epic Games Store

WRC 8 impressed us last year with its brilliant tracks, beautiful cars, and in-depth career mode, so we were eager to see what the developers brought to the table this year. With it being a yearly franchise they were obviously not going to give everything a complete overhaul, but WRC 8 was so good that major changes were not really necessary. Instead, WRC 9 comes with a couple of improvements to improve the overall playing experience as well as some new additions that fans of the series will enjoy.

For those not familiar with the World Rally Championship, it is a rallying series that is organized by the FIA and pits some of the top manufacturers against each other. Unlike traditional races, the WRC is all about posting the best times on point to point tracks that are spread across the world. The sport is a little more niche than circuit-based racing, but a lot more exciting as well as very demanding.

WRC 9 features the same interface as the previous game, so veterans will feel right at home. Everything is laid out in a straightforward and easy to access manner, so newcomers can also jump straight in. Last year introduced the career mode to the game, which saw players pick a category, choose a manufacturer and then take part in a series of events selected from a calendar. Career mode is back in full swing and remains relatively unchanged from last year. It’s a bit disappointing that there is still no way to customize your driver beyond choosing a name and nationality especially as you’ll look exactly the same as your co-driver. Another nitpick is that you still sometimes get impossible to complete career objectives at times. However, career mode is also still a lot of fun, and working your way up from the WRC Junior class to full-blown WRC Championships is very addictive.

Along the way, you’ll hire staff that will help you with things like repairs, weather reports, and finances as well as earn experience points that can be spent on a comprehensive research and development skill tree. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on your finances, team morale as well as your standing with the manufacturer to prevent your career from coming to a premature end. Career mode quickly hooked us and between the rallies, extreme events, historic races, and manufacturer tryouts there was rarely a dull moment.

Of course, not everyone wants to manage their own team or delve into the financial side of things, so it’s a good thing that there are plenty of other modes on offer too. Season mode returns, which allows players to take part in rallies without the crew management aspects while Quick Play is perfect for driving any stage of any rally with the car and weather conditions of your choice. Newcomers to the series are well-advised to stop by the training mode first, which features plenty of exercises on a closed track to give you a feel for the cars and how they handle. In addition, the game has a Test Area for players who want to adjust their car set-up in real-time so that they can tweak everything to perfection. The Training, Maintenance, and Extreme events found in Career mode can also be tackled separately in the “Challenges” section of the game.

Rally is not exactly a head-to-head sport, but WRC 9 comes with plenty of multiplayer options. Online multiplayer allows you to create or join a lobby to take on other players while daily and weekly challenges see players vying for top spots on the leaderboards. Then there’s the eSports mode for earning new badges and the welcome return of split-screen mode, which is a rarity on PC these days. One new addition to the series this year is Clubs, which allows players to create their own championships or take part in ones set up by other players. These clubs can be set to private or open to all other players and will definitely add some longevity to the game. All in all, there’s enough content in WRC 9 to keep players busy for ages and the developers have stated that they are not done yet. Along with a promised photo mode after the release of the game they are also planning on adding new stages post-launch along with a co-op mode where players can team up. In this mode, one player will tackle the driving duties while their partner can take a crack at reading the pace notes.

All of the tracks from last year make a return, so players can once again challenge their driving skills in Portugal, Italy, Finland, Turkey, Germany, and Whales. These tracks are still fun to drive and feature enough tweaks to keep returning players on their toes. Thankfully the developers have also included three new countries to the mix this year, so New Zealand, Japan, and Kenya make an appearance too. The biggest distraction in New Zealand is the beautiful coastal views while the tracks in Kenya can go from wide open to extremely tight as you suddenly find yourself weaving your way through villages. The asphalt tracks of Japan also pose a formidable challenge especially as narrow mountain roads make way for forested areas.

WRC 9 is no slouch in the vehicle department either and as this is a fully licensed game players can expect all the brands and teams they would expect. From the Ford Fiesta R2’s in Junior WRC to the Volkswagen Polo R5, Hyundai i20 WRC, Toyota Yaris WRC, and many others in the other classes, the cars are varied and look incredible. Some legendary cars also make an appearance for the historical races, with the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione being our firm favorite. Others, like the Lancia Stratos, Alpine A110 Berlinette 1970s, Ford Focus RS 2007, and Volkswagen Polo R WRC also make for unique driving experiences. The game even features three bonus cars where players can try their hand at taking non-championship cars, such as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS R-GT, for a spin.

Controlling these cars can be a real challenge but WRC 9 is also fairly accommodating to novice players. The game features a range of gameplay settings that can help newcomers and it is now also possible to adjust the difficulty between events while playing career mode, which was a much-requested feature in the previous game. ABS, TCS, and starting assist can be toggled on or off and transmission can be set to manual or semi-automatic. The severity of damage effects can also be set all the way from realistic down to visual only, which can turn the game into more of an arcade experience for players who prefer it.

Visually a lot of the assets from last year have carried over to WRC 9, but the game still looks great, especially the cars and the roads. The game could use a little more polish for some things, such as the spectators, but most of the time you’ll hardly notice these things due to the concentration required to stay on the road. The different weather conditions and lighting effects also look improved over WRC 8. We were also able to play the game with everything set to “Very High” at 4K resolution without encountering any stuttering or issues. We also didn’t encounter any bugs or crashes except when trying to tab out of the game, which would always result in an immediate crash. WRC 9 also, unfortunately, did not detect our, admittedly rather old, racing wheel but playing with an Xbox One controller still yielded an enjoyable experience. WRC 9 also sounds good with everything from the engine noises to the directions from your co-driver being spot on.

While at first glance it might not look like much has changed since the release of WRC 8, WRC 9 has plenty of tweaks and changes under the hood. We definitely noticed some changes in the responsiveness of the cars and the physics have also been tightened. The inclusion of New Zealand, Kenya, and Japan are definitely welcome and if the developers stick to their promise of post-launch content then rally fans are in for a treat. As it is, WRC 9 is a must-have title for fans of the sport, players who loved WRC 8, as well as any newcomers interested in flinging high-performance cars around tight corners at extreme speeds.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, NVIDIA 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950, NVIDIA Geforce 7050
  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or newer
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better (ATI Radeon X1600 NOT SUPPORTED)
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT 650M, AMD Radeon HD 6750M or better
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or newer, other unsupported distros may work
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, NVIDIA 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better (Open Source Drivers NOT SUPPORTED)
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: lib32-alsa-plugins or libasound2-plugins:i386 and libasound2-plugins-extra:i386 may be required.
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950, NVIDIA Geforce 7050
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.04
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670 or better
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

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1 Comment

  1. Tkova September 3, 2020
    Reply

    I really wish they would release this on Steam too. Waiting a year sucks and by that time WRC 10 will be out already.

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