WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship PS4 Review

WRC 6 is a rally simulation racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. WRC is the absolute pinnacle of rallying with the first-ever World Rally Championship season taking place across 13 rally events for the World Constructor’s Championship in 1973. An earlier incarnation of WRC titled as the International Championship for Manufacturers began in 1970 and took place until 1972. The World Driver’s Championship was only introduced in 1977 in which it was named as the FIA Cup for Rally Drivers until it was officially announced as the World Driver’s Championship from the 1979 season onwards.

Rally video games particularly came to prominence in the 1990s including the origins of the SEGA Rally series in the arcades in 1994 before porting to the SEGA Saturn in 1995, accompanied by the V-Rally series in 1997 with V-Rally 2 also launching for PS1 in 1999, while Codemasters released their first game in the Colin McRae Rally series. Both mainstays of rally gaming on PS1 continued into the new millennium as Colin McRae Rally 2.0 released on PS1 in 2000 and V-Rally 3 released on PS2 in 2002 for what was sadly the final game in the V-Rally series. Rally gaming continued its expansion in the 2000s with further Colin McRae Rally games releasing on PS2, while SEGA Rally finally made the leap to PS2 in 2006, alongside the introduction of varying approaches to rallying such as Rally Championship 2000 on PS1 and its 2002 PS2 sequel, EA Big’s arcade approach with Shox: Rally Reinvented on PS2, Pro Rally 2002 on PS2 and the precise simulation of Richard Burns Rally on PS2 in 2004. The WRC series returns with Kylotonn Games on development duties for the second consecutive WRC game, but can WRC 6 build upon the foundations of WRC 5 and what previous developers Milestone had achieved through their four iterations on PS3 and Evolution Studios’ sublime efforts from their longstanding WRC series on PS2?

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

WRC 6 contains all of the official licenses for the 2016 season which comprises of stages based upon the 14 rally events situated in various locations around the world including: Monte Carlo; Sweden; Mexico; Argentina; Portugal; Italy; Poland; Finland; Germany; the introduction of the all-new Rally of China; France; Spain; Wales; and Australia with each of the 14 rally events consisting of around 5 Special Stages and a Power Stage depending upon game mode as well as a Super Special Stage in some of the rally events that vary in length. There are dozens of professional drivers with their co-drivers including the multiple WRC champion Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke, Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon, Mads Ostberg and many more besides. All of the teams from throughout the WRC, WRC 2 and Junior WRC categories are included such as Ford, Hyundai, Mini, Peugeot, Skoda, Total and Volkswagen with all of their respective cars with full bodywork liveries.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The game begins with questions including if you are new to rally games and how often you play racing games to customise the experience around you followed by driving a Hyundai i20 WRC car around the Sagama Special Stage of Rally Italia Sardegna as an effective tutorial outlining the controls in order to get you settled into the handling and pace of the game as well as acknowledging pace notes. After the Sagama Special Stage, you will be able to select your preference of a semi-automatic or manual transmission with the tutorial ending by driving the same car through the Wedding Bells Special Stage of Kennards Hire Rally Australia in which you will learn how to approach changing a flat tyre and how much time it could potentially cost you when in the hunt for the fastest time.

Career mode begins with some basic driver customisation which is restricted to your driver’s first name, surname and nationality, while lacking the preference of a male or female co-driver from WRC 5. This is an area that has taken a step backwards in comparison to the driver customisation of WRC 4 as there is no physical appearance of the driver with no customisation of car number or number plate, while a step forwards could have been to implement yourself, a friend or an object into the game by taking a picture via the PlayStation Camera.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

Career mode features 3 different formulas of rallying including Junior WRC, WRC 2 and WRC, although there is no inclusion of the WRC 3 category despite its inclusion in WRC 4. Junior WRC is the entry formula for up and coming drivers and is the place to start in which you will be informed of 3 firm contract offers with all 3 teams offering a two season duration, while having separate conditions for their new driver to meet such as being as careful as possible with the car no matter what the result is and being fastest no matter how much damage the car receives. There is a mentality for team morale and team efficiency, alongside the categories in which the team races within and the amount of experience each of the 3 teams have. The manufacturer, wheel drive and power of the car provided by all 3 Junior WRC teams are identical which levels out the playing field and leaves it up to the skill of the driver across 6 rally events consisting of between 4 to 6 Special Stages depending upon the inclusion of a Super Special Stage and a Power Stage in each event.

Better contract offers at the end of the first season depends upon the quality and consistency of your performances in the Junior WRC formula leading to a promotion to WRC 2 and eventually the main category of WRC, although unlike in previous games there are no indicators for progression towards such goals other than Special Stage and rally victories as there are no reputation points earned for finishing position, achieving an objective during each rally or beating a rival. Junior WRC and WRC 2 categories will prepare players for the step up from 6 rally events per season to 14 rally events in the main category of WRC, while the cars reach higher levels of performance and faster speeds when you make it to the WRC 2 and WRC categories with tougher opposing drivers making your push for the championship more difficult to achieve.

It is an excellent design choice for the Career mode to begin in the lowest formula of the World Rally Championship as it results in a rewarding feeling when you finally reach the main WRC category having progressed from the bottom of the Junior WRC all the way through to the top of the WRC which is a real standout feature for the game as not every motorsport simulation can capture such a sensation.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

Quick Game is effectively the equivalent of the Quick Stage mode from WRC 5 as it allows players to jump straight into a single Special Stage of a rally via your preference of any stage or all stages of any rally or all rallies in sequence driving in any WRC category, driver and co-driver pairing, car and team of your choice as well as your own tyre selection. Further customisation comes in the form of weather conditions and time of day which provides an excellent game mode to have particularly for people who only have a short period of time to still be able to play and enjoy the game in quick and short bursts.

Custom Championship is essentially the equivalent of the Quick Rally mode from WRC 5 as it has all of the options and preferences from the Quick Game mode, although Custom Championship allows players to drive in Special Stage with anywhere from a single rally containing 5 Special Stages through to a championship containing a maximum of 14 rally events in any of the three WRC categories. WRC 5 previously only allowed Junior WRC or WRC 2 category teams to participate in 7 rally events; therefore a negative restriction has been lifted. However, there is still no option to duplicate rally events resulting in each Special Stage of a rally event only being included once in every championship which somewhat unnecessarily removes the freedom of a customisable championship as showcased in the earlier games in the series when players could previously have a customised championship consisting of the same rally event being scheduled on up to 13 occasions.

WRC 5’s Rally School mode is replaced by a much more streamlined Driving Test feature which assesses your pace with how fast you are able to complete the short circuit, cornering with sharp turns and plenty of hairpins to manoeuvre around haystacks, handling differing surfaces such as a pool of water on an otherwise dry track and all-round driving skills with a maximum score of 100 for the best performance, while the percentage of damage sustained is also monitored.

The biggest new feature for every game mode is the introduction of 11 Super Special Stages which are exceptionally depicted on a 1:1 scale of realism in comparison to their real-life counterparts. Super Special Stages are short stages mostly set in stadiums situated in large cities providing greater general access for people to attend a rally event in their city. Five of the 11 Super Special Stages are competed during head-to-head competition with both drivers on separate tracks which cross-over for both drivers to experience the two separate areas of the track over the course of multiple laps which provides a different kind of excitement reminiscent to Race of Champions events.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The weather conditions includes sunny clear blue skies, cloudy overcast and dusty for four of the rallies, while eight of the rallies can be driven in the rain in addition to clear or cloudy skies and a snowstorm in Monte Carlo and Sweden with every weather condition making your car behave differently in relation to how difficult your car is to handle at high speeds and around sharper corners. The time of day also plays a factor by increasing or reducing visibility at dawn, noon, evening or night throughout each of the 14 rallies with headlights required, especially during poor weather conditions such as a snowstorm and night time.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The handling is superb and very authentic to how a rally car would be anticipated to handle in variable conditions and terrain as is simultaneously the case with the damage modelling as the bodywork will crumple as the car hits more hazards and punctures occur when hitting a serrated object such as a trackside rock during stages driven on higher difficulty levels. The car gradually begins to behave and handle erratically following crashes such as too many head on collisions resulting in a broken gearbox which means the car no longer being able to shift above third gear leading to the scenario of a severe reduction in speed through any high speed straights. Therefore, an overly aggressive driving style may result in increased pace in the short term, but slower pace in the long term if major damage occurs during a crash.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The car setup can be adjusted which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your car setup for each respective surface. The car setup is spread across four categories containing a variety of settings which may be customised to your personal preferences. Custom car setups include the ability to change the springs, shock absorber compression, shock absorber rebound, anti-roll bar and ground clearance on the front and rear suspension; calibrating the front and rear differential and gear ratio on the transmission; and altering the handbrake power and brake bias for the brakes. Each customisable component has eight bars allowing players to appropriately shift the balance of each setting to their liking. Soft and hard compound tyres are available for selection, although there is no ability to mix the two tyre compounds as drivers are allowed to do so in all formulas of WRC in order to find the correct grip in varying conditions such as an evolution from a dry to a wet surface or improving grip on a stage that is predominantly harder on the tyres such as gravel in combination with a different surface in certain areas of the same stage such as tarmac.

Damage to car components can be repaired at the service park which is situated periodically each day after usually completing 1 to 3 Special Stages. Your team will have a maximum of 45 minutes to repair the damage with a set time allocated to each of the 8 categories of repair including engine, steering, gearbox, brakes, tyres, suspension, electronics and bodywork. If the 45 minutes allocation is marginally exceeded; time penalties will start to be incurred, although the absolute maximum repair time allowed is an hour and customised configurations are not allowed for Junior WRC cars. A diagram will provide detailed analysis of which areas of the car are in need of repair; the areas that are not in need of repair will be displayed in green, while yellow displays light damage, orange representing being on the verge of heavy damage and red showing heavy damage. It is important to pay attention to how damaged your car is, as crashing without repairing the damage will progressively lower the performance of your car, so it must be repaired tactically with the thought process being how best to approach repairing the major areas of the car without going above the 45 minutes time limit in order to avoid potential time penalties, while retaining a high level of performance for the following Special Stages.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

There are 5 excellently positioned camera angles including a camera located on the centre of the car bonnet; a first-person camera mounted to the front of the car looking ahead; a perspective from inside the car located around the driver’s line of sight with his hands on the steering wheel; and two third-person perspectives positioned a little closer to the car and further away from the car. The internal view and both third-person views all retain the ability to be fully rotated around the car to provide genuine immersion as players can see more of the surrounding environments in greater detail at any angle. The slide bar which was so expertly utilised in WRC 4 on Vita to bring the camera further forwards or backwards by 20 clicks has been replaced by 5 options between very close, close, normal, far and very far which determine the distance of the cockpit and both external camera distances in order for them to be as close or as far away as preferred. Therefore, such an appropriate level of customisation and all 5 camera angles being as well positioned as they are will certainly result in players being able to find a camera angle that suits their respective style of driving which is a major positive. However, the free camera which allowed players to explore more of the scenery after the game had been paused in WRC 4 has once again been omitted which would have been the perfect feature to combine and work in harmony with the PS4’s share feature.

You can watch a full replay of the Special Stage that you have just driven on with the ability to rewind or fast forward in super slow motion or quickly, pause, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and loop the replay back to the beginning to watch it all over again. You can view the replay from the 5 gameplay camera angles, while the internal view and both third-person perspectives can all be rotated with the third-person perspectives both having the capability of rotating 360 degrees in order to view your car in more detail as well as the nearby scenery. There are two further perspectives including a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the car, around the car and even inside the car behind the driver and co-driver to the level of detail of even seeing the co-driver’s pace notes and changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo, alongside an aerial view that is reminiscent of Micro Machines and MotorStorm RC. It certainly would have been amazing to see such a dynamic camera or at least the individual angles make the transition to being playable as you are driving as it would further complement the experience, while it is genuinely disappointing to not have the stunning aerial view as a gameplay camera angle.

Extras include such features as a DriverCard which displays the amount of stages you have completed in single player and online multiplayer as well as the amount of rallies you have completed, total distance travelled and your chosen title. Statistics provide a complete statistical analysis of everything including your total time played; maximum speed; total distance travelled on each of the three surfaces; your favourite car, rally, Special Stage, Super Special Stage and even camera angle; and so much more besides even to the accuracy of the amount of puddles driven through and collisions as well as the number of victories in comparison to the amount of offline or online races or rallies you have participated in. A variety of accomplishments to achieve totalling to 95 accomplishments such as Enthusiast, Expert and Veteran for completing 100, 500 and 1,000 stages respectively; Night Owl for winning 10 stages at night; Test Driver for completing one stage in every car; Natural, Hotshot and Elite for winning 50, 150 and 400 stages respectively; Daredevil for jumping 200 times; Spaceman for jumping a total of 1,000 metres; Skidder for drifting 30 metres in one go; Figure Skater for drifting a total of 500 metres; and many more interesting feats to accomplish. The showroom feature presents an accurate 3D model for any car of your preference within a garage with the ability to zoom in or out, rotate the camera, switch to a demo camera which automatically pans around the car and even the option of turning the headlights on or off, while the extras menu also includes a full listing of credits for everyone who made the game possible.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

There is a downloadable content pack available at launch which includes the Toyota Yaris WRC Test Car for £2.49, although there is the potential of more downloadable content as WRC 5 had a season pass containing new tracks and cars.

It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of WRC 6 after the pretty good WRC 3 and exceptional WRC 4 from Milestone and the fairly good WRC 5 retail releases on Vita showed true potential for where the series could evolve on Vita, although the consolation for WRC 6 is remote play. The performance during remote play is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance is the same quality as the PS4 version, while the control scheme has not been optimised at all. The default control scheme during remote play sees acceleration moved from R2 to the right of the rear touch pad and braking moving from L2 to the left of the rear touch pad. I had the best remote play experience with WRC 6 after customising the control scheme in which acceleration was re-mapped to R1 with braking moving to L1 and switching the toggling of the windscreen wipers of R1 to the right of the rear touch pad and moving the toggling of the headlights from L1 to the left of the rear touch pad; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are mostly customisable. The default control scheme consists of pressing R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to apply the brake or reverse the car; pressing triangle to manually shift up a gear; pressing X to manually shift down a gear; pressing O to engage the handbrake; pressing square to respawn your vehicle following a crash; pressing R1 to switch the windscreen wipers on or off; pressing L1 to turn the headlights on or off; pressing down on the d-pad to display damage; pressing up on the d-pad to display ghost car(s); pressing right or left on the d-pad to change to the next or previous camera angle respectively; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your car in that direction; moving the direction of the right analogue stick forwards, backwards, left or right to appropriately manoeuvre the camera angle to look in that direction from the cockpit view or pan the camera around the car in both third-person camera angles; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.

Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality of the DualShock 4 controller and the touch pad cannot be mapped to at all. It is surprising as the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is not utilised. This is somewhat disappointing as an optional control scheme from MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear; therefore it is clear that this level of functionality is possible for a controller in a racing game. There is evidently an increased amount of vibration on the DualShock 4 controller as it now vibrates for collisions and your approach to certain surfaces such as if you need to reverse as well as leaving the boundaries of the road. There is no light bar implementation which could have reflected the colours from the car status indicators by producing green when the car is in full health, yellow for a partially damaged component, orange if the car has multiple areas of damage, red for a significantly damaged component that will change the behaviour of the car and flashing red for significant damage throughout the car.

There is a vast increase in the amount of steering wheels supported by WRC 6 in comparison to WRC 5 on PS4 including support for the Logitech G29 Racing Wheel, Thrustmaster T80, Thrustmaster T100, Thrustmaster T150 RS, Thrustmaster T300 – RS (GT), Thrustmaster T300 – TM Leather 28 GT, Thrustmaster T300 – PS Rim, Thrustmaster T300 – 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition, Thrustmaster T300 – Ferrari GTE Rim (Ferrari 458 Challenge Edition), Thrustmaster T300 – Ferrari F1, every T500 equivalent of the T300 steering wheel series as well as Thrustmaster T3PA Pro Add-On and Thrustmaster T3PA.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

WRC 6 looks better than WRC 5, although it still retains a variable frame-rate of between 30FPS to 60FPS instead of aiming for a locked 60FPS. However, graphically there have been many enhancements in comparison to WRC 5 such as lighting, shadows, draw distance and more besides. There are some superb graphical touches such as sunlight shining through trees, realistic reflections on the bonnet of the car, headlights lighting darkly lit areas during limited visibility from poor weather conditions or night time, authentic crumpling of bodywork after enduring crashes and dynamic weather such as rain and snow. Everything is complimented by excellent car models, stunning trackside details throughout the surrounding environments and accurately portrayed bumps and undulations across every track to provide authenticity to the experience of driving a rally car in treacherous conditions.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, quick game menus, Career mode menus, custom championship menus, introduction menus, driving test menus, multiplayer menus, online leaderboards, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. The background of the main menu consists of a polished set of icons for each game mode or area of the game with a car offset to the left which takes centre stage when an icon situated to the right of the main menu has been selected. Unlike WRC 4; the presentation does not have an air of television style quality as there are no real-life rally footage or driver interview quotes, although there are historical facts during loading screens about the rally you are participating in such as the driver who has won the most rallies in that country and how high the attendances usually are.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

A male voice-over introduces players to each of the game modes and gameplay elements, while the co-driver voice-overs are more realistic in comparison to WRC 5 as they really add to the rally experience with authentic co-driver pace notes depicting the required approach to the upcoming corners, straights and jumps. Despite the quality of the introductory voice-over and the co-driver’s pace notes; I am still astonished by the lack of TV style commentary in a rally game when you have a commentator such as Jon Desborough who is more than capable of describing the unfolding action as he has proved on many occasions via the British television coverage of WRC. Sound effects include the realistic roar and grunt of the engines, screeching tyres and collisions with trackside objects such as fencing, posts, foliage, rocks and haystacks. Ambience has improved in comparison to WRC 5 as crowd reaction takes place trackside throughout each stage instead of just being highlighted at the beginning and end of Special Stages, alongside climactic celebratory music. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which is surprising given that it would provide an exceptional increase in atmosphere by projecting your co-driver’s pace notes when driving.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The trophy list includes 41 trophies with 27 bronze trophies, 9 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Newcomer bronze trophy for completing your first stage in solo mode and the Crash-Test Dummy bronze trophy for completely totalling a car in any mode. The majority of the trophies are earned naturally by progressing through the Career mode such as the Junior WRC Driver bronze trophy for starting a new career and the 14 bronze trophies representing reaching the podium on each of the 14 rallies, amongst many other Career mode related trophies. A recommended tip for anyone who wants to reduce the duration and difficulty of your journey to the platinum trophy would be to adjust the level of A.I. for your opponents to the lowest possible settings and to utilise all of the assists from the driving style which should certainly provide a significant advantage in every Special Stage and Super Special Stage throughout the Career and single player modes. Harder trophies include the Next Freak gold trophy for completing a stage without taking any damage in any mode; the WRC Champion gold trophy for completing a WRC season as champion; the Certified Driver gold trophy for achieving a score of at least 90 on the driving test; and the Legend gold trophy for completing all of the 95 accomplishments. There are 3 online multiplayer trophies which are mostly easy to achieve as there are 3 bronze trophies for completing a Special Stage, winning a Special Stage and winning a Super Special Stage online, therefore there are no online multiplayer trophies to reduce any possibility of platinuming the game providing you can win a single Special Stage and Super Special Stage in online multiplayer. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 20 hours to platinum the trophy list.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

There are two sets of difficulty levels with one set appropriately assisting your driving style and the other allowing you to set how hard the A.I. controlled drivers are to compete against. Driving style difficulty levels include amateur, semi-pro, pro and simulation with each level containing their own respective driving assists such as amateur affording every available assist, while semi-pro allows handling to be affected by crashes and switches off stability help. Meanwhile, pro removes the luxury of the starting assistance and simulation forces players to shift gears manually, alongside a custom driving style that allows for any combination of settings. The A.I. driver level includes easy, medium, hard and expert which provides a far more competitive pace set by each of the A.I. during every Special Stage following every step up in difficulty, therefore resulting in players having to be flawless when playing on expert difficulty, while the easy difficulty level will usually result in victories despite making mistakes.

The major addition to the multiplayer is the introduction of split-screen multiplayer for 2 players with all of the Special Stages available from every rally, every car and driver from WRC, WRC 2 and Junior WRC, any dynamic weather conditions and any time of day to choose from, while the graphical fidelity and sense of speed is retained from the single player performance throughout all 5 gameplay camera angles. However, both cars will display as a wire frame with no textures, no collision detection resulting in not being able to block a car from overtaking you, no option to switch from a vertical split-screen to a horizontal split-screen which makes the reduction in screen size more noticeable given the narrow tracks as players would most probably prefer to have a wider view, no replays, no option to turn off the time penalties and it would be beneficial to be able to customise the positioning of the co-driver’s pace notes.

Local multiplayer also retains the hot seat mode for 2 to 8 players who can pass the controller after each player has attempted to set the fastest time at the chosen Special Stage in the same weather conditions and time of day as every player with each player having their choice of car from WRC, WRC 2 and Junior WRC categories, therefore the hot seat mode is easily accessible as there is no requirement for a second controller.

The online multiplayer includes a quick game mode which searches for an existing online multiplayer game to join as soon as possible, while lobby mode allows players to join or create a game in which choosing to join a game will provide a selection of customisable preferences for the type of online lobby you would prefer to join including mode, difficulty, car category, Special Stages and rallies which will quickly and effectively find an online lobby for you to join. Creating a lobby provides a variety of options such as public or private lobby visibility, stage or rally mode, difficulty, car category, types of Special Stages, all rallies or a specific rally and for the stage to be selected by you as the host of the online lobby or via a voting system, while you can also invite your friends into your own customised lobby for 2 to 8 player online multiplayer races.

As entertaining as the online multiplayer is and despite the online multiplayer being as fast as the single player game modes; it has some problem areas such as any of the 1 to 7 cars driven by other players do not have any textures and collision detection which provides the look of racing against a ghost car lap time instead of competing against players from around the world. Time penalties during online multiplayer races can be quite excessive which can quickly dull your excitement for the majority of a Special Stage knowing you are not going to have any chance of winning as you have received a 10 or so second penalty for accidentally crashing off the circuit which rather frustratingly cannot be turned off in the lobby settings, while online multiplayer also lacks the ability to race with an advanced car setup in dynamic weather conditions and at any time of day.

WRC 5 took rallying to new places by entering the historic realm of eSports which returns for WRC 6 allowing players from across the entire world to compete in parallel with the 2017 World Rally Championship season in a collaborative partnership between WRC 6 publisher Bigben Interactive, the world’s largest eSports company ESL and WRC with WRC 6 eSports coverage broadcast live via Twitch. An important part of WRC eSports is that it has become more accessible than ever before as it is immediately included free of charge in WRC 6 whereas it was previously downloadable content for WRC 5; therefore providing greater value for money in WRC 6.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

There are weekly Shakedown events as players are challenged to earn the highest points score in which players participate in a global time trial at a particular Special Stage within a pre-determined rally with imposed car modifications such as a disabled handbrake. Score modifiers also have a huge part to play including a certain initial score which progressively counts down via a time penalty per second it takes to complete the Special Stage, while a bonus for drifting or jumping is provided for drifting or jumping a particular length, although there can sometimes also be an off-road penalty for spending time off the circuit.

Championship events are similar to Shakedown events, although they are based upon a weekly time trial over a specific Special Stage in which you must set your best time instead of revolving around scoring points. There are no car modifications, although there are time penalties for leaving the circuit or having to respawn the car, while collisions with trackside objects will affect handling as your car becomes more damaged.

The online leaderboards focuses on record times for each of the 5 Super Stages throughout all 14 rally events, while you can compare your positioning on the leaderboards with players only from your friends list, globally and to immediately find and display your position within any given leaderboard. Each leaderboard contains the overall amount of players who have participated within that particular leaderboard; each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); car manufacturer; and the best time set by each player for every Super Stage in every rally event, although the WRC category of car which was chosen when that specific time was set is not factored into the online leaderboards. However, there are also time trial focused online leaderboards for the weekly championship and shakedown events as well as ghost car lap times to compete against the top 5 in the world across every single Super Stage which is an excellent design choice as it effectively provides online competition even when the player who set the time is offline.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The replayability of WRC 6 is quite extensive due to the quantity of content on offer across a progressive Career mode from WRC Junior through WRC 2 and to the very top of WRC, Quick Game and Custom Championship modes in single player which is perfectly complimented by the introduction of 11 Super Special Stages and 2 player split-screen multiplayer. Every major feature from WRC 5 has also been retained including local hot seat multiplayer, online multiplayer, weekly online challenges and championships, entrance into the 2017 WRC eSports season and competitive online leaderboards including ghost car lap times for the top 5 players in each Super Stage which are all sources of lengthy replay value which will be bringing you back for an extensive period of time.

WRC 6 has genuinely progressed upon the foundations Kylotonn set in their WRC debut game WRC 5; although there are a variety of improvements required before any WRC game could be considered as being the ultimate package of a definitive WRC experience. WRC 6 contains an excellent progressive Career mode, although the WRC 3 category and the respective teams, cars, drivers and co-drivers are nowhere to be seen; therefore including the WRC 3 category would be an immediate step up in realism for the Career mode as would be the ability to mix tyre compounds to better suit changing surfaces and evolving conditions to find the appropriate level of grip. A huge up taking for WRC 7 will be to follow up their success in accurately conveying Super Special Stages by using laser scanning or GPS data to have a 1:1 scale of realism for each Special Stage and Power Stage in the same method utilised to achieve a full 1:1 representation of the 11 Super Special Stages contained in WRC 6. Given the excitement the Super Special Stages provide; the evolution of that feature would be to include the complete and official Rallycross championship, especially to increase the competitiveness in local and online multiplayer with smaller, tighter tracks. Following on from implementing 1:1 scale representations for every Special Stage and Power Stage would be the journey of creating the most truly historic WRC game to date; classic seasons beginning in the first-ever WRC season when it was referred to as the International Championship for Manufacturers in 1970 and continuing through the decades and eras of WRC including new tracks, track variations, legendary drivers, cars, teams, engines, aerodynamics and much more besides would not only be amazing, but unprecedented. When you consider that there are many seasons in which a track has been a staple inclusion of the championship such as the Monte Carlo rally from even as far back as 1911 in a variety of rally formulas it would remove some of the complexities of covering WRC from a season by season retrospective. However, there are still a number of rallies that have not been contested in WRC for quite some time such as America, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Morocco and many more locations besides varying from around a decade to multiple decades of inactivity on the WRC calendar. Classic seasons could also bring about an additional classic time trial mode in which you are not competing with players globally, but instead to drive the same cars as legendary WRC drivers such as the first WRC World Driver’s Champion Sandro Munari as well as further champions including Ari Vatanen, Carlos Sainz, Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen and many more besides in an attempt to break their actual real-life lap records.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

A stage editor that would allow players to utilise features from each stage and customise their length, width, track undulations, surface, grip and trackside details for a stage without any limitations would provide ultimate freedom and unlimited replay value for players. Expert dialogue from a stage designer identifying why specific track components are iconic and how to make an iconic stage for any era of WRC car in reflection of classic seasons would enhance the feature even further. Reversing, mirroring and reverse mirroring stages to provide three new sets of stages for use in every mode outside of Career mode which would be interesting as players would have to learn to approach braking and acceleration for a technically different track configuration.

Commentary needs to be finally introduced as it is an extremely rare feature in rally games that would certainly set WRC 7 apart were it to be included as it would absolutely play a huge part in a much improved immersive television broadcast styled presentation if Jon Desborough was to be the commentator on events as they unfolded on track and providing factual knowledge such as referring to the fortunes of drivers and teams from previous attempts in the specific rally event you are participating in.

Manager mode in which you must find sponsorship for your team to utilise the income to fund car development; promoting the team; maintaining team morale as high as possible; assessing the drivers you currently have; and offering contracts to reliable pit crew, technical advisors, engineers, aerodynamic designers, the best drivers and much more besides. Manager mode would be the manager equivalent of the Career mode in telling a rags to riches story of starting out in a new factory and being towards the back of the Junior WRC category and rising through the ranks to the leading the WRC category and the possibility of achieving the dream of winning the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship

The addition of split-screen multiplayer in WRC 6 is a breath of fresh air, although far more customisation options such as both cars being fully textured with collision detection so players can block each other’s attempted overtakes, an option to switch from a vertical split-screen to a horizontal split-screen to provide a wider view which would help on the narrower tracks, a replay feature and the ability to re-position the co-driver’s pace notes. An option to turn off the time penalties is essential for every mode, especially split-screen and online multiplayer were a single time penalty or a multitude of time penalties can render entire races unenjoyable within only a few straights or corners. Some new inventive camera angles such as the individual camera angles from the dynamic camera, a camera attached to the bodywork overlooking each tyre, a helicopter viewpoint and a true driver’s eye perspective with limited peripheral vision which highlights the nerves of the driver from breathing to a higher heart rate in circumstances of being close to winning your first-ever Special Stage, Power Stage, Super Special Stage or an entire rally in Career mode or following a collision.

WRC 6’s developer Kylotonn are already experimenting with virtual reality having demoed WRC 6 running on Oculus Rift with PlayStation VR compatibility set to be included at some point in time post-launch which will provide even more immersion for each first-person perspective. From a technical standpoint Kylotonn has also already confirmed a PS4 Pro patch that will enhance the resolution and frame-rate, although it will not be 4K native and there is no word as of yet on high dynamic range visuals.

 

Analysis

  • Title: WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship
  • Developer: Kylotonn Games
  • Publisher: Bigben Interactive
  • System: PS4
  • Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
  • Cross-Buy: No
  • Cross-Play: No
  • Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer) 1-8 (Local Hot Seat Multiplayer) 2-8 (Online Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 18.76GB (PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)
Jason

Jason

Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel.Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

So what do you think?

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