KT Racing go all out next-gen with WRC 10. The veteran rally game franchise finally gets the makeover it deserves.
For me, the WRC games have always been overshadowed by the polished visuals of Codemasters with its Dirt games. Whilst the WRC franchise has presented itself as a series of licenced pure rally games, the graphics have been a bit lacking. The visuals were a stark contrast to the racing physics which have always been superb if a little unforgiving.
For WRC 10, KT Racing has ticked all the boxes.
WRC 10 is a big game with a lot to offer players. The game is packed with modes both online and offline. Players can join time-limited online events, competing against others to get to the top of the leaderboard.
Solo options range from a quick race to a full career. The career mode has players managing the crew as well as driving in the rally stages. There is a choice of which championship to join: the Junior WRC, driving a FWD Ford Fiesta, or the WRC3 with its 4WD cars.
The game recommends the Junior WRC for novices. To unlock the WRC3 players must complete a fairly easy test drive to attract a sponsor and proceed. Junior WRC has no requirements but a less powerful car. Both modes allow players to manage the team and enter rallies around the world.
Players who want to drive without having to mess about with the team management aspect of the game can do so in the season mode. There’s also a 50th Anniversary mode that lets players experience some of the historic WRC events starting with the first WRC rally in 1973 through the Greek countryside in a classic Renault Alpine.
Multiplayer is catered for with clubs and online rallies. There is even the opportunity to co-op with driver and co-pilot teams. Local split-screen multiplayer is also included.
Drivers can further refine their skills by taking on challenges and trying the training circuits. If you just want to drive around, there’s a whole area to drive around that includes public roads and gravel tracks.
I’m not sure if it’s the additional power of the next-gen consoles that’s enabled KT to finally realise their WRC game, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The game perfectly captures the varied rally environments, allowing players to drive without screen tears or stutters.
The cars are very detailed, but not quite up to the standard of the Forza games or Gran Turismo. The car physics are, however, still very realistic.
Players expecting an arcade racer will be sorely disappointed. WRC 10 is unforgiving. And that’s being generous. The game expects players to put in the effort to master the art of rally driving. This means lots of crashes until you get used to the light, twitchy steering of the cars. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t curse at the screen a few times.
Driving full-throttle is not going to work. I had to slowly get up to speed over multiple stages as I got used to the cars’ performance. Better to go slow that careen of the road. It requires quite a lot of discipline to cool your cool.
It’s also essential to listen to your co-driver’s warnings about the upcoming road. It helps if you can remember you left from your right under pressure (something I’ve had trouble with since my driving lessons thirty years ago).
The game makes full use of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense dynamic adaptive triggers allowing me to really feel the brakes. The haptic feedback also means every knock and scrape is also felt via the controller. Playing with a controller is perfectly fine, but I found the use of a racing wheel that bit better as it felt more like driving a real car, giving me a bit more restraint.
The rally stages look great, capturing the landscape of the host countries. The visuals themselves are a big step up from the so-so graphics of the previous games. The game can be played from a third-person, behind the car view, in the cockpit, from a bonnet camera, or straight-up first-person.
From within the car, the engine sounds amazing. Each car seems to have a different engine note. The realistic audio is even more important if you opt for manual gears (which you should), giving authentic cues for shifting.
The game features the 12 rallies of the 2021 season plus extra rallies that add a further three countries, Chile, Greece, and New Zealand. The stages vary from asphalt, gravel, and even snow. Some of the locations are quite fast, but others are fraught with potholes and boulders.
WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship represents a new beginning for the series. It’s a game that looks great, able to stand head-to-head with the more arcade racers out there but bringing realistic and unforgiving car handling that requires discipline and practice to master.