This review was written using a review copy of the game.
WRC 4 is the latest game in the WRC series from developer Milestone and features new cars, a new and updated career mode, updated weather and road surface conditions and more. The earlier games in the series were uninteresting and commonplace as far as racing games go, could WRC 4 be 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, the Career mode lets you start from the bottom of the ranks before ultimately becoming WRC Champion and Multiplayer pits you against the worlds best in online races.
The career mode is now packed with juicy content, a variety of cars, a roster of interesting drivers and it also shows off the newly improved weather system and road surfaces. In career mode, you can pick your driver and co-drivers names, nationality and looks should you so wish. You can also alter your cars number plate and number. 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, working your way from the bottom tiers right to the top, there are plenty of races to keep you going.
WRC’s menu system has been given a complete overhaul, menus are now easy and a pleasure to navigate. In previous games in the series the menu system appeared to be 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 pre-championship to find what you’re looking for and 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.
A hefty amount of work has gone in to car handling and performance, past games have ceased 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, movements feel more natural and hairpin turns bring further enjoyment. I did feel that using the handbreak on particular corners were a concern, but after adjusting my car settings in the garage it no longer seemed to be an issue. Which brings me to the ability to alter your car settings. This has appeared in many games beforehand, but WRC 4 has once again seen an improvement, a skeleton version of your car points out each section clearly and precisely. You can home in on particular features and change certain aspects of your setup with ease.
Visually WRC 4 has had a makeover, 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 behind, tracks are bland, trees still look as thought they’ve been created using paper cutouts and the onlookers cheering you on look less and less excited about being here after each turn. Backdrops however are another story, as I drifted the back end of the car around the curvature of the road I was impressed with the quality, alas you can’t focus on that too much when driving.