WRC 4 is the latest game in the World Rally Championship series from developer Milestone and features new cars, a new and updated career mode, and updated weather and road surface conditions. The earlier games in the series were uninteresting and commonplace as far as racing games, is WRC 4 an improvement that racing fans want and ultimately a point in the right direction?
WRC’s main menu boasts the usual game modes: Quick Stage, Rally Mode, Career and Multiplayer. Quick stage allows you to drive straight on to the track, Rally Mode lets you choose how many stages you wish to drive in – whether that be single stages or an entire championship, Career mode lets you start from the bottom of the ranks before ultimately becoming WRC Champion and Multiplayer pits you against the worlds best (and worst) in online races.
The career mode is packed with juicy content, a variety of cars, rosters and it shows off the newly improved weather system and road surfaces. As is standard in most racing games you can customise your driver’s name, nationality, and co-driver to fit you. Once you’re ready to begin you can launch an introduction which informs you of the key skills needed to compete in the WRC, newcomers to the series are very much welcome here. You compete in full seasons with your goal being work your way from the bottom to the top and there are plenty of races to keep you going.
WRC’s menu system has been given a complete overhaul, menus are now easy on the eye and a pleasure to navigate. In previous games in the series, the menu system was clunky and stale, they now have some life in them and it very much reminds me of the DiRT and F1 games in style. When in career mode the menu system isn’t just your typical icon sets, instead we’re now faced with a more visual approach. You can move around your office pre-season and championship to find what you’re looking for, during stages you are greeted by your car and crew in a lively garage scene. Loading screens also are a pleasure to glimpse at with facts and other tidbits being shown, as a novice in the WRC world it’s nice to learn something while you wait.
Some of you may also be glad to know that the staff hire/fire section of the career has been removed, I felt that it was never needed in the first instance and was unnecessary for those just wanting to jump into the series.
A hefty amount of work has gone into car handling and performance with past games ceasing to impress me when it comes to driving. The steering often felt wooden and out of place. With WRC 4 it seems that great care has been given concerning driving as movements feel more natural and hairpin turns bring enjoyment rather than frustration. I did feel that handbrake handbreak on particular corners were a concern, but after adjusting my car settings in the garage it no longer seemed to be an issue. This brings me to car settings and customisation. This has appeared in many games beforehand but WRC 4 has once improved, a skeleton version of your car points out each section clearly and precisely and you can home in on particular features and change certain aspects of your setup with ease.
Visually WRC 4 has been overhauled, though it’s the cars that seem to be impressing more rather than the environments. The cars themselves are very detailed, from the paintwork to the tire-treads. The environments however are still trailing; tracks are bland, trees still look like paper cutouts and the onlookers look less and less excited about being there after each turn. Environmental backdrops are a little better and you may find yourself drifting around a hairpin turn which overlooks mountains and forest and you can’t help but just look.
As far as rally based games go WRC 4 is certainly an improvement but for some, it’s not going to be the rally game they’ve been waiting on. There will be something far superior on the horizon but for now Milestone’s latest attempt is good enough.