WRC 7 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 videogames 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 third consecutive WRC game, but can WRC 7 build upon the foundations of WRC 5 and 6 as well as 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 7 contains all of the official licenses for the 2017 season which comprises of stages based upon the 13 rally events situated in various locations around the world including: Monte Carlo; Sweden; Mexico; France; Argentina; Portugal; Italy; Poland; Finland; Germany; Spain; Wales; and Australia with each of the 13 rally events, although the promising Rally of China has once again been removed from the calendar; resulting in it not being included in WRC 7. Outside of Career mode; every rally consists of 4 stages which is disappointingly one less stage than WRC 5 or 6 with the amount of returning stages from WRC 6 and new stages specific to WRC 7 being around the same quantity at give or take 26 each. However, that number can be reconsidered when factoring in the newly introduced Epic Stages are technically two Super Stages joined together to form one much longer Epic Stage; therefore totalling to 29 Special Stages, 10 Super Special Stages and 13 Epic Stages.
There are dozens of professional drivers with their co-drivers including the multiple WRC champion Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke, Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon, Mads Ostberg, Dani Sordo and many more besides. All of the teams from throughout the WRC, WRC 2 and Junior WRC categories are included such as Ford’s M-Sport World Rally Team, Hyundai Motorsport, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Mini’s Eurolamp WRT, Ford’s Yazeed Racing and more besides with all of their respective cars with full bodywork liveries. Volkswagen are absent from the 2017 season cars after pulling out of WRC at the end of the 2016 season; however a bonus cars category comprises of Volkswagen, Hyundai, Citroën and M-Sport cars from the 2016 season.
The car models have been updated to reflect the entirely re-designed 2017 specification WRC cars that have new aerodynamic elements on the front bumper and rear wing in addition to wide wheel arches and a giant spoiler as well as less restrictions on powertrain technology and rear diffuser design. Engines are now 80bhp faster, electronic and active centre differentials are introduced and cars weigh 25KG less; resulting in seriously faster cars that make the sport even more dangerous and frightening than ever, especially given the narrow width of the stages.
The game begins with questions including if you are new to rally games, if you want the most realistic experience or a fun drive to customise the experience around your preferences followed by driving a Citroën C3 WRC car around the Costa Daurada stage in Catalunya, Spain 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 Costa Daurada 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 Fafe Special Stage of Rally de Portugal in a driving test scenario in which you have to navigate the narrow and twisty track with as little damage to the car as possible; resulting in configuration suggestions based upon your performance.
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 since 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.
Career mode features 3 different formulas of rallying including Junior WRC, WRC 2 and WRC, although there is still no inclusion of the WRC 3 category despite its most recent 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 fastest no matter how much damage the car receives, being as careful as possible with the car no matter what the result is and a balanced approach in which you must do your best while simultaneously keeping the car in the best possible condition. 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, weight, horsepower and torque 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 4 or 5 stages depending upon the inclusion of a Super Special Stage in addition to the Special Stages and a Power Stage in each event. A collective of positive performances throughout the Special Stages, Super Special Stages and Power Stage within a rally will result in a sequence in which your car is driven onto the podium followed by your driver and co-driver celebrating in front of a rapturous applause from the on looking crowd.
Better contract offers at the end of the first season depends upon the quality and consistency of your performances in the Junior WRC formula which are presented as objectives such as completing a rally in 5th position or higher in your respective category, completing the Super Special Stage in at least 4th place and more besides with the goal of achieving three objectives within the first season; leading to a promotion to WRC 2 and eventually the main category of WRC. Junior WRC and WRC 2 categories will prepare players for the step up from 6 rally events per season to 13 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.
Quick Game allows players to jump straight into a single Special Stage of a rally via your preference of any stage or all stages within 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 has all of the options and preferences from the Quick Game mode, although Custom Championship allows players to drive in a Special Stage with anywhere from a single rally containing 4Special Stages through to a championship containing a maximum of 13 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 from WRC 6 onwards. However, there is still no option to duplicate rally events resulting, although the rally can be customised to include the same Special Stage up to three times per day over the duration of the 3 day rally event. Despite the introduction of customisation for Special Stages in which Special Stages can be repeated multiple times at different times of day; a rally event can only be included once in every championship which somewhat unnecessarily prevents players from creating a customisable championship with full freedom as showcased in 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.
Weather conditions includes sunny clear blue skies, cloudy overcast and rain for 11 rallies in addition to clear or cloudy skies and a snowstorm in Monte Carlo and Sweden. Every weather condition makes 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 13 rallies with headlights required, especially during poor weather conditions such as a snowstorm and night time.
Handling seems more responsive in comparison to WRC 5 and 6, although this may be as a result of the increased focus on aerodynamics in the re-designed 2017 specification cars. Handling is very authentic to how a rally car would be anticipated to handle in variable weather conditions and terrain as is simultaneously the case with damage modelling as bodywork crumples when 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 causes the car to no longer be able to shift into higher gears 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.
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, although customised configurations are not allowed for Junior WRC cars. 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, brake bias and brake strength for the brakes. Each customisable component has a slider bar with a varying degree of movement 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 between 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. 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.
Time penalties have been reduced in their severity as they were previously 10 to 15 second penalties for sometimes leaving the track by no more than two feet in WRC 5 and 6, although time penalties amounting to 9 seconds per automatic respawn after a significant crash and accidental entry into a trackside audience are still harsh and can mount up quickly if not consistently maintaining 100% concentration on precision acceleration, braking and positioning of your car. An option for time penalties to be turned off within easy or custom driving style difficulty levels is essential for any future WRC sequel.
There are 5 excellently positioned camera angles including two third-person perspectives positioned a little closer to the car and further away from the car; a camera located on the centre of the bonnet; a first-person camera mounted to the front of the car looking ahead; and an interior view located around the driver’s line of sight with his hands on the steering wheel. The internal view and both third-person perspectives 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 driving style 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 from onboard a helicopter 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. A set of Esports Badges have been introduced representing the individual rally events which are earned by competing in each Esports round. 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.
There is a downloadable content pack available which costs £3.99 or can be obtained alternatively by purchasing the Day One Edition that includes the Porsche 911 GT3 RS R-GT rear-wheel drive race car as driven by Romain Dumas in the FIA R-GT Cup, although the car is not available in Career mode or Custom Championship mode.
It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of WRC 7 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 7 is remote play. WRC 7’s remote play performance 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. Split-screen multiplayer is displayed in split-screen during remote play, although it would have been much better to have the player using remote play to have their own full Vita screen with the other player having a full television screen. The default control scheme during remote play has not been optimised at all; resulting in acceleration having been 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.
The controls are appropriately 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 cycle through 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 which 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. Vibration occurs during collisions, when encountering wheel spin particularly through hairpin corners or when needing to suddenly apply the brakes as well as during jumps and track undulations. 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.
The majority of the steering wheels that were compatible with WRC 6 are still compatible in WRC 7, although there are a couple that are no longer compatible and a few that are now compatible. Compatible steering wheels on PS4 includes support for the Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel, Logitech G29 Racing Wheel, Thrustmaster T100, Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback, Thrustmaster T150 Pro Force Feedback, Thrustmaster T300 RS – 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, Thrustmaster T500 RS – TM Leather 28 GT, Thrustmaster T500 – PS Rim, Thrustmaster T500 – Ferrari GTE Rim (Ferrari 458 Challenge Edition) as well as Thrustmaster T3PA Add-On, Thrustmaster T3PA Pro Add-On and Thrustmaster TH8A Add-On Shifter.
Graphically, there are further enhancements in comparison to WRC 6 with even better lighting, particle effects, variable weather conditions such as rain and snow, mud splattering onto the third-person camera angles and varying times of day, while the most exciting aesthetic improvement is the re-designed 2017 specification cars. The density of trackside trees and vegetation has increased, but with that comes some shadow pop-in that is drawn as you arrive closely to trees, overarching rocks and even tunnels on certain Super Stages such as Pietrosella – Albitreccia in the Tour de Corse Rally of France. PS4 Pro support produces a 2560×1440 resolution accompanied by better anisotropic texture filtering and improved shadow filtering, although the frame rate remains the same as on PS4 at a locked yet consistent 30 frames-per-second. Kylotonn had experimented with virtual reality having demoed WRC 6 running on Oculus Rift which provided even more immersion for each first-person perspective; although rather strangely there are no virtual reality headsets supported for WRC 7.
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, local and online 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 controversial moments, the driver who has won the most rallies in that country and how high the attendances usually are.
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 and 6 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 which are now available in a number of languages including British, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Chinese. 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 ever-present roar and grunt of the engines from the 2017 specification cars, screeching tyres when sharply applying the brakes especially during hairpin turns and collisions with trackside objects such as fencing, posts, foliage, rocks and haystacks. Ambience has substantially improved as there are noticeably better crowd reactions and cheering as you drive past a group of WRC fans standing trackside; with all audio being complimented by dramatic instrumental music that perfectly suits the drama of WRC. 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.
The trophy list includes 41 trophies with 26 bronze trophies, 10 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 13 bronze trophies representing reaching the podium on each of the 13 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 drastically reduce the 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 20 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
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 assist, while semi-pro allows handling to be affected by crashes. Meanwhile, pro removes the luxuries of starting assistance and braking help, alongside simulation which forces players to shift gears manually, while a custom driving style allows for any combination of settings. There are 4 A.I. driver difficulty levels including easy, medium, hard and hardcore 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 drive flawlessly when playing on hardcore difficulty, while easy difficulty increases the probability of victories despite making mistakes.
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. While split-screen multiplayer is appreciated; it must be stated that there are a variety of issues that have not been improved upon since the introduction of split-screen multiplayer in WRC 6. Such problems include 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 ability to play a group of Super Stages or rallies in the form of a customisable championship, 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 option to turn penalties off, no replays, no option to turn off the time penalties, it would be beneficial to be able to customise the positioning of the co-driver’s pace notes and if a player changes their control scheme, then it also adjusts the controls for the other player.
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 find lobby provides 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. Create 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 still has some problem areas that are recurring from WRC 5 and 6. For instance, all of the 1 to 7 cars driven by other players do not have any textures and collision detection which provides the look and feeling of racing against a ghost car lap time instead of competing against players from around the world. Time penalties during online multiplayer races have been toned down, although a slight mistake here and there can still see them pile up if your not careful; otherwise you may be driving at least part of a Special Stage knowing you are not going to have any chance of winning as you have received a 9 seconds penalty for auto-respawning on-track after 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 once more for WRC 7 allowing players from across the entire world to compete in parallel with the 2018 World Rally Championship season in a collaborative partnership between WRC 7 publisher Bigben Interactive, the world’s largest eSports company ESL and WRC with WRC 7 eSports coverage broadcast live via Twitch. An important part of WRC eSports is that it has become as accessible as WRC 6 as it is again immediately included free of charge in WRC 7 whereas it was previously downloadable content for WRC 5; therefore providing pretty good value for money in WRC 7.
Challenge events are a mixture of WRC 6’s Shakedown and Championship events were a weekly time trial takes place on a specific Special Stage in which you must set your best time in order to score points to improve your rank, although fewer points will be awarded for each additional attempt, but bonus points can still be awarded for a positive performance.
Online leaderboards focuses on record times for each of the 4 Super Stages throughout all 13 rally events, while you can compare your positioning on the leaderboards with players 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 still not factored into the online leaderboards. However, there are also time trial focused online leaderboards for the challenge 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 7’s replayability 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 29 Special Stages, 10 Super Special Stages and 13 Epic Stages. Every major feature from WRC 5 and 6 has also been retained including 2 player split-screen multiplayer, local hot seat multiplayer, online multiplayer, weekly online challenges, entrance into the 2018 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 bring players back for an extensive period of time.
• Title: WRC 7 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: 19.68GB (PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download – Version 1.01)
- Gameplay - 84%84%
- Graphics & Sound - 86%86%
- Controls - 90%90%
- Difficulty - 64%64%
- Replayability - 78%78%
Overall, WRC 7 is recommended to fans of WRC, motorsports in general, rally gaming, driving and competitive racing games, although there is not enough new content to diversify it from WRC 6; there are improvements in key areas such as graphics, audio and handling that make WRC 7 more playable and enjoyable in comparison to WRC 5 and 6.