WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship is a rally simulation racing game that comes from a new developer known as Kylotonn Games. I haven’t always been a huge rally racer gaming fan but I was still intrigued to see what the game has to offer.
The game is straightforward and even from the main menu its simplistic design and easy layout sets the tone for the overall presentation of the game. The game feels part simulator with elements that feel more arcade-like. The game directs you with a female voice-over that helps navigate you through the menus. With games like this, whether its FIFA or other sports games, I like to first start out by having a quick practice in the quick mode. I have to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about rally racing going into the game but it’s fairly easy to pick up. Even in the quick race mode there are plenty of options and variables to tweak and select. You can select things like different courses, teams and whether your car is suited for tarmac or gravel.
The controls feel well done and it felt natural playing with the DualShock 4 controller. You use R2 to accelerate, L2 is brake and reverse, square to gear shift upwards, pressing X to gear shift downwards, pressing O to use the handbrake, R1 changes the camera, down on the d-pad respawns after a crash and other functions can be used via the d-pad. Also pressing triangle allows you to restart the current section from the time set up to the start of that sector. I had a practice with these controls in the quick stage mode before moving into more challenging modes.
The Quick Rally mode has the same options as the Quick Stage mode, except Quick Rally means players can drive beyond a single Special Stage with anywhere from a single rally containing 5 Super Stages through to a championship containing up to 7 rally events. The career mode is the main portion of the game and is your equivalent of the career mode in say FIFA. There are three rallying modes here that include Junior WRC, WRC 2 and WRC.
Junior WRC is the starting point for new players which is best if you’re not sure what you’re doing. The cars in this mode are all the same and it sees you testing your skills as a driver across seven events with five special stages. The better you do means that contracts will be offered to you and give you opportunities for promotion to WRC 2 and eventually the main category of WRC. The Junior mode does a good job of teaching you how to play the game and this is where I really improved and became a better driver. The WRC top mode sees you take part in a 13 event rally set, with higher performance cars and faster speeds. This is much harder than the previous modes and I have to say it took me some time to even become vaguely competent at completely courses in a decent time.
If you find that you’re really struggling with the game there is Rally School, which is a nice feature in the game that I can see being incredibly helpful to new players. This mode has 29 straightforward lessons that teach you the ropes of the game. I spent a bit of time myself in this mode to help improve my driving skills and would certainly recommend doing so if you’re new to this type of game or find yourself struggling.
The game has official licenses with events that take place in many different locations.
There are dozens of professional drivers with their co-drivers to choose from and I had a go with almost all of them. As I’m not a follower of rally driving I didn’t know the drivers but I’m sure fans will enjoy getting to play as them.
The main aspect of the game that stood out to me was the brilliant handling and responsiveness of the controls and handling of the car. The car controls feel realistic and change according to the different conditions, whether its road surface or weather. The car also takes damage and is shown in on the right hand side of the screen, if you ever played Destruction Derby then you will know what I’m talking about. The car gradually begins to behave differently as it begins to take more damage. This is where the risk and reward factor comes in. You’re trying to complete the track as fast as you can but in doing so you’re more likely to severely damage your car. Weather conditions have an interesting impact on gameplay and can include sunny weather, rain, snow and these conditions change how the car feels to control. When you need to repair your car you can use motorhomes that are available each day after completing 2 or 3 Special Stages. This aspect of the game is almost a mini-game in itself and sees you trying to repair your car within a 45-minute slot. If you run over that time you start to receive time penalties.
The presentation of WRC 5 looks good enough but certainly doesn’t push the PS4 to its graphical capabilities. The lighting, textures and environments look good and the variety in locations are interesting to play. The cars themselves not only play well but they also look reasonably realistic and it felt like I was driving a real car. The menus in the game are very simplistic but I actually like the slick design and easy navigation it provided. The sound design is decent and the female voice-over introduces players to each of the game modes and gameplay elements, with an arcade-like feel. I also enjoyed the co-driver voice input that adds another layer to the experience. He will direct you on the course and make occasional comments that reflect your driving. The sound design of the cars is great and the environmental sounds help me the game feel more immersive.
The game has online multiplayer which includes both private and public modes. You can create your own 2-8 player races and invite your friends to race. I didn’t get to play this with friends but tried with other unknown racers and for the most part it was decent enough but didn’t feel as good as the main game. WRC 5 also has local multiplayer which is awesome to see implemented as many games these days don’t seem to include anymore. 2-8 players can share the controller and take turns to set the quickest time for a stage. This is quick, easy to use and would recommend giving a go if you like playing with friends. It would have been even better if there was split-screen multiplayer to race at the same time.
WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship has plenty of replayability because there is a lot of content within the different game modes. The multiplayer also adds another way to play the game and gives it even more longevity. Overall WRC 5 does a good job of making you feel like a rally car racer, with immersive environments, strong sound design and decent visuals. I would certainly recommend this game if you’re a fan of rally or racing games and it’s a nice addition to the PS4 catalogue.
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