Here we go, another game to get my hopes up that I could have a career in esports. After all I spend a lot of my day driving so why shouldn’t I be good at World Rally Championship 8? SPOILER I was not good and no contracts were offered.
FIA approved means you will be taking you officially manufactured rally cars across actual rally courses, good news if you are a big enough fan to know these tracks. Be prepared to experience over 100 special stages in current and legendary cars from the championship’s 14 rallies. Bigger and Kylotonn bring us the official World Rally Championships 2019 video game or WRC 8 to save on text.
Let’s get straight into it with the audio this game has, it is amazing and I would advise you to play it with a headset on to get the most from this team. The sounds of gravel being kicked up against the cars body work, the in and out of the media helicopter flying over head and even the co-driver all sound fantastic. However, the big round of applause has to go to the cars. The engines in these cars are a thing of beautify and the audio team have brought them to life with roaring and cracking engine sounds. Even down to the little details of extra sounds when engine parts are damaged.
Visually the game is equally as impressive as the audio. The cars look beautiful, well they do at the start of the race at least. All the tracks are stunning across the different rally courses. The new and improved dynamic weather conditions offer a real challenge but worth experiencing just to see the great look of a downpour.
It was very quickly clear that this game is pretty jam packed with content to keep you going. Some of it was still locked at the time of review but visible on the home menu. I want to highlight the competition section that has a section for esports races. The more coverage this world can get the better in my eyes. Away from this there are plenty of challenge events to set your best time on or split screen racing to get that backseat driver to put the controller where their mouth is.
Career mode is where you will spend the vast majority of your initial time in this game as you take your driver and crew through rally championships. Once you are in to the career mode you are introduced to your management tabs that you will interact with between events. At one point I thought I was getting close to ‘World Rally Championships Team Manager 2019’ but it gives you enough behind the wheel action to warrant the management work. Plus all the added content between races adds to that simulation feel the game wants.
As with previous racing titles I have experienced, your day to day activities are built into a calendar. From here you can select what you want to do as you progress between championship rally events. These vary from training days with gold to bronze rankings for times set, rest days to help your crew recover between races or extreme events which put your skills to the test with a damaged car or rough weather conditions, to name a few I encounter. You have to be careful what events you take on as they all have an entry fee but also come with a winning fee so spend wisely.
One area you will have to manage is the research and development tree. This opens up as you progress through the career mode and level up. This research tree could compete against any RPG out there. It means you can build a driver & crew that really works to you and gives the best returns. Know you crash a lot then develop your engineers and finance advisor to reduce the cost of repairs. Confident you are coming home 1st then boost your experience earned from wins.
You also need to manage your actual support crew that will join you at rallies. This is the team that will repair your car between stages, offer weather reports to select the best tyre choice or even help with recruiting more crew to select from at the next race. Pick your team wisely as you need to pay them after each race and they all come with their own stats.
Factor in you have manufacturing objectives to meet that add a slight challenge to each race, maintaining a positive relationship with the manufacture so they don’t break your contract and having an emails inbox and you quickly get sucked into a game that wants to give you the full experience.
It was hard to find any real negatives with the game to be honest. I would have liked to seen a bit more dialogue from my co-driver in regards to reacting to my poor performance which isn’t really a negative more an extra wish. Yes the game is difficult, I am sure being a rally driver is not easy. After all this game is a simulator so to say the cars were a bit unforgiving when you make a mistake is probably more a compliment to the great physics this game has.
It was hard not to enjoy and appreciate WRC 8, even when seeing my name at the bottom of the driver standings at the end of the race. This game looks prepared to keep the rally community busy for the foreseeable future. Put together the hard simulator racing, the deep career mode, challenging events and beautiful audio and visuals and you are on to a winner. This game was enjoyable even at the toughest of times and I am confident the rally community will enjoy every second behind the wheel of it.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*