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

WRC 8 offers a bunch of new improvements and features compared to its predecessors, which makes it one of the best rally simulators currently available. It’s not the easiest of games, but there are enough aspects that can be customized to ensure players of all skill levels can have fun. You will still have to put in the time and effort to really master your vehicle and the demanding courses, but it is more than worth it. The new career mode also has enough depth to keep players hooked, as you make your way up the ranks. If you are looking for an off-road racing game with plenty of depth and mountains of content, then WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship is it.

Gameplay: Hard to master, but very rewarding.

Graphics: Apart from some rough edges, WRC 8 is a great looking game.

Sound: Everything sounds like it should

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WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship

Developer: KT Racing | Publisher: Bigben Interactive | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Racing / Simulation / Sports | Website: n/a | Purchase: Epic Games Store

Just as with the actual WRC championship, competition is fierce when it comes to the digital simulations of the sport. However, only one game holds the official license and for its triumphant return after a year of absence, it promised a lot of brand new features. Thankfully, these promises were not just empty marketing speak either as the developers of WRC 8 has made good use of the extra time to improve the game. The result is a game that not only looks better than previous entries in the franchise but more importantly, plays better. In addition, it comes packed with brand new additions that are sure to please any self-respecting rally fan.

WRC 8 offers a variety of game modes, so you can choose whether you want to jump straight in at the deep end with the new career mode or ease yourself into things with the training mode. The latter features the ability to perform training exercises on a closed track, which will spare you the humiliation of careening straight off a cliff edge as we did during our first rally event. Simulation is the name of the game in WRC 8, so on everything apart from the easiest modes and settings, you can expect to be challenged. These challenges will come from your car, which you will have to adjust to perfection as well as the tracks, which can be death traps if you don’t pay attention to the directions being rattled off by your navigator. This game also comes with a brand new hazard for the series in the form of the weather, which is now much more than just a visual effect and can seriously impact everything from visibility to handling. Along with the aforementioned game modes, WRC 8 also offers a quickplay mode for some instant racing action, a Season Mode, which is like the career mode without the management aspects, and a “Test” area for driving around freely while you adjust your car setup. It doesn’t end there either as you also have access to weekly challenges as well as a split-screen multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, the online multiplayer mode was not yet available at the time of writing this review.

Since WRC 8 is the official simulation of the World Rally Championship, it comes with all the benefits that you would expect. These include 50 teams, 14 rallies, and 100 special stages from the 2019 season. One of the biggest new additions to the franchise is the in-depth career mode, and it is certainly worth a closer look. You begin by selecting your team and then have to prove your worth to them by winning races and keeping everyone happy. Podium finishes not only keep the team happy but also brings in cash, which is needed for the new management aspects of the game. While it is only you and your navigator in the car during races, there is a whole crew of mechanics, engineers, physiotherapists, agents, meteorologists, and other staff back at headquarters.

They all have important roles in the team but require payment for their hard work as well as some time off unless you want to overexert them. The hiring and management of staff is not really that complex, but it adds an interesting new layer to the game. Another benefit of winning is experience points, which rewards you with R&D points when you level up. These can be used on a skill tree that is filled to the brim with all kinds of useful perks. The repair bills that arrive via email after each rally will also help to turn you into a more cautious driver as there is no easier way to get booted from a team than by running the finances into the red.

In career mode, you also get to plan your schedule using your calendar. Rallies take place on fixed dates, but in between, you are free to choose what type of events you want to spend your time on. Taking a break is great for resting your crew, but it is also time that could have been spent on something more interesting, such as an extreme event, historic race, or manufacturer tryout. Extreme events provide you with a car that is just one bump short of a total wreck and then challenges you to get as far as possible with it in the most severe weather conditions. It’s not for the faint of heart, but pulling it off is immensely rewarding and it’s a great way to really test your skills. Historic events, on the other hand, offers you the opportunity to drive a legendary car, which makes for a nice change of pace. Then there are the manufacturer try-outs, where you can boost your reputation with other manufacturers by taking one of their cars for a spin and attempting to get as far as possible within the allotted time. Unfortunately, there is no way to unlock a roster of your own cars, but throughout the game, you get to drive WRC cars, WRC 2 cars, as well as Junior WRC cars and the bonus legendary cars.

As we already mentioned, WRC 8 is a simulation through and through, so you have your work cut out for you if you plan on reaching the finishing line in one piece, never-mind making it to the podium. Stages can take anything from five to fifteen minutes to clear and one mishap along the way can put a serious damper on your chances of winning. There were many times where we lost focus just for a split second and ended up sailing off a cliff or crashing into obstacles. The result is always damage to the car as well as time penalties, which really hurt you in the long run. However, the unforgiving nature of the game is also what makes it so much fun as you really need to master the art of accelerating, braking and using the handbrake at the right times. Even relatively straight stretches of road, which are few and far between in this game, can have uneven ground or bumps that can mess you up if you are not careful. You also have to deal with all kinds of different surfaces, which means having the correct tires and trying to keep everything in and on your car intact for as long as possible. It is possible to take the difficulty down a couple of notches if you want to have fun without worrying too much about realism, so WRC 8 has something for everyone.

WRC 8 is without a doubt the best-looking entry in the series, although it is not without a couple of rough edges. The stages are not just technically demanding, but also interesting to drive, which scenic settings that feel a lot more open than the competition. Events can take place in Finland, Germany, Turkey, Wales, Spain and more, so there is no lack of beautiful scenery to ogle. Races can also take place during dawn, noon, evening, and night, which can change the mood completely. Then there is the weather, which can range from clear to cloudy all the way to threatening and rainy. Watching trees sway around in the gale force winds as your wipers futile attempt to clear the rain and snow from your windscreen is quite an experience, to say the least. The weather effects not only look brilliant, but they are also dynamic, which keeps things interesting on the track, especially if you have to deal with puddles and other hazards after a bout of rain. The car models in WRC 8 are all exceptionally detailed and show every spec of dust and dirt as well as the crumpled bodywork that comes from reckless driving. We also love the smaller details, such as the drones zipping around from time to time recording the race or the helicopters hovering overhead. However, while it’s nice to see so many spectators lining each track, it’s best not to scrutinize their character models too closely as they pale in comparison to the rest of the visuals. It’s a minor gripe and honestly, you spend most of your time keeping your eyes on the road, so the spectators only really show their shortcomings when you watch the replays. On the plus side, the physics feel really solid, which is what you want from a serious rally simulation.

In terms of options and settings, WRC 8 has plenty of things to tweak for optimal performance. In addition to adjusting the gameplay, controls, and sound, you can also customize the graphics to your liking. Everything from the resolution to the refresh rate can be changed and you can also adjust the quality levels of shadows, lighting, particles, crowd density, water and much more. The only strange thing we noticed is that the texture quality only has a “Low” and “Medium” setting, unlike everything else that can go right up to “Very High.” A host of post-processing options, such as SAAO, bloom, and antialiasing allows you to further improve the visual fidelity, depending on your hardware. We managed to push everything up as far as they can go and still got acceptable frame rates, so it would appear that the game has decent optimization. We had no issues with the controls either as the game plays great using a controller, but for best results, a steering wheel is obviously the way to go. The audio is also perfectly fine, with music that is tense, but unobtrusive, realistic sound effects, and a navigator that provides clear and concise instructions. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with all the rally jargon used by your navigator, though, as visual cues are also shown on your screen.

We are far from experts when it comes to rally games, but we can safely say that we enjoyed our time with WRC 8. The game is unforgiving, but very rewarding and putting in the effort yields results, which is very satisfying. The different types of events keep things interesting between the rallies and the career mode has enough features to keep players engaged. It can be a little overwhelming at first but take your time to tweak everything to your skill level and you’ll see be having fun. Visually, the game still has a few rough edges, but we can’t argue with the scenic locations or the impressive weather effects. Overall, if you are a fan of rally simulators, then you really can’t go wrong with WRC 8.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows® 7 64bits
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD FX-4350
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 2GB or ATI Radeon HD 5870 2GB
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 19 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Soundcard
  • Additional Notes: 64bit Only
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB or Radeon RX 580 4GB
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 19 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Soundcard
  • Additional Notes: 64bit Only

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