WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship (PlayStation 5) Review

By Josh Di Falco 30.09.2021

Review for WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 5

When it comes to racing games, few experiences truly make the hands judder from the outset - and one of the best racing sims is back with WRC 10, with Kylotonn bringing the KT Racing engine to a new generation of consoles. Following on from WRC 9, this year's first entry on PlayStation 5 features more of the same that WRC fans will probably be expecting. However, there is an extra cherry on top, with the addition and premature celebration of the "50th Anniversary Mode" which highlights some of the more impactful historical events in WRC's history. Whether buying the 10th title in the long-lasting series or being a first-time racer - let's go for a drive and see how WRC 10 has done.

As soon as the opening credits have concluded, WRC 10 thrusts the player into choosing a difficulty, ranging from Novice for new players through to Expert for those who fancy themselves a pro. From there, there is a quick tutorial followed by a test race, which also gives the game a chance to recommend some options to toggle on or off prior to jumping into the rest of the game. Of course, none of these options are stuck for good, and they can always be changed anytime in the options section before starting new events. This opening section does the best job it can to help returning drivers familiarise themselves with the controls while also being a great introduction for newcomers wanting to get the best out of themselves on the world rally stage. While the opening stage could've gone overboard with the education-saturation like some other titles do, WRC 10 instead only teaches the basics - and the rest of the learning happens in due time with experience.

From there, it's straight into this year's Career Mode - and for the most part it's pretty much the same gig. Hardly anything has changed from the last couple of WRC titles, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, the recent Career Mode, introduced a couple of years ago in WRC 8, still stands as one of the strongest career modes when it comes to racing titles, four-wheeled or otherwise, and it has been a huge benefit since Kylotonn took that year off to redevelop the series. For those who are keen to hear more, Career Mode is the meatiest part of WRC 10, and in the last couple of titles it has generally been the only thing worth participating in - and even with this year's iteration, that still largely remains true.

Career Mode allows you to not only partake in the various rallies, events and chances to win the WRC titles, but it also provides the ability to choose and manage an own team. It begins by selecting an Agent, who is in charge of finding new events to enlist in, Mechanics who will fix the car in between stages during the rally events, and Engineers who help earn more experience points for various events. Furthermore, there are Meterologists who can predict the weather conditions for the upcoming races for better preparation when choosing tyres, Financial Advisors who can reduce costs while increasing prize money, and PR Managers who can help earn more reputation amongst the manufacturers. Finally, Logistics Coordinators can influence the crew's morale while making the buy-in fee for events cheaper, and Physical Therapists reduce crew members' fatigue for all events. For returning players, not much has changed here with the crew or their skill trees - however for new players, there can be quite a bit going on.

Screenshot for WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 5

Nevertheless, WRC 10 does a terrific job of keeping everything in order and making things quite easy to learn and handle. Multiple crew members in each discipline can be hired and placed in a reserve pool. Then, when new events come along, it's possible to select the main team to bring with - generally choosing those with the best stats. Keep in mind, each crew member comes with one positive and one negative, and it's these variables in addition to their individual stats that will be needed to be weighed up. For example, one mechanic may reduce the repair time by 4%, whereas another mechanic may be a little bit slower to fix things, but they may be able to reduce the degradation of the car instead. At the end of each event, the used crew members may be fatigued, and if not given a rest in between events they become unusable for a short time. The last thing to do is tiring out the best crew members before the next big rally, so that it's necessary to run with your next best. Managing them well and responsibly over the course of the season ensures the best chance of success.

Managing this team also comes in the form of the R&D skill tree, which allows to upgrade various nodes on four unique parts of the tree: Team, Performance, Crew, Reliability. These nodes require experience points, which can only be earned by participating in various events. Firstly, there's 'Training' that requires crossing the finish line on a closed-circuit track in the quickest time, and 'Extreme Conditions', a race in overly difficult conditions with a beat-up car. 'Manufacturer's Tryouts' allows to earn rep with potential new manufacturers for successful events and 'Event Rally's'. This is pretty much the same thing from previous titles as well, with very little actually being adjusted or changed in Career Mode. Interspersed throughout all this are the '50th Anniversary' events, but these are best played in its own separate mode from the home screen as well.

Of course, as entertaining as Career Mode can be for those who love to get their hands dirty with all the nitty and gritty managerial stuff, the main part of this meal is of course the racing itself, and the racing shines again in WRC 10. For those who have never played dirt rally titles before, be warned - this is not going to be an easy-to-pickup racer like the Forza or Need for Speed titles. When it comes to dirt rallies, keeping the car on the road while careening at top speeds is one of the most thrilling and mind-numbing experiences in a racing title. The cars themselves can be finicky, and that's mainly due to the obstacles on the road that comes in the form of loose rocks or crests that threaten to derail a 7-minute rally. Sometimes the tracks may come in the form of asphalt, snow, gravel or a combination. The tracks that are solely one of those elements are easier to prep for, by equipping the appropriate tires for the surface. However, for those races where there's asphalt and snow, choosing the right tires depends on the percentage-split of the track. But all of this will come with practise, and WRC 10 does a good job of aiding in this regard by automating this process for if not willing to learn.

Screenshot for WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 5

While it can take time to learn and ultimately master, there are some handy assists that can be toggled on. Using them as the training wheels until getting comfortable enough to start toggling them off is recommended. For example, ABS makes braking easier while TCS also does its best to reduce the car from spinning out of control. The best way to learn how to control and tame these dirt rally cars is to start by enabling the assists, and then toggling them off after starting to get more familiar. There is another assist that prevents from false-starting, in other words, accelerating before the signal fires and thus getting penalised for it, however this assist is hardly necessary, as it's best to start conditioning oneself not to accelerate until meant to. The driving itself feels as alive as it ever has, and the PlayStation 5 controller's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers add a new dimension to rallying. From the moment the engine is turned on, the controller begins to vibrate at a low, soft judder, and that intensifies once the accelerator kicks in. Every bump, skid, drift, turn and crash are felt through the controller, and the resistance on the triggers when trying to brake is a nice detail as well. Truly, racing on a PlayStation 4 controller in previous titles has never felt like this. While this doesn't change the whole experience, as the majority of it derives from the digital simulation, the controller does at least add a nice new overlay to the experience. Another area where this title excels on PlayStation 5 is with the much-faster loading screens and the instant restarts in the race without delay. These are minor details that allow to jump back into the race quicker than before, without a lot of stalling in between.

In addition to the driving, rally drivers also have co-drivers who sit in the passenger seat, and they shout out their notes on the oncoming turns. If unable to hear them however, there also the on-screen pace notes that tell exactly what is needed to know. Of course, learning the jargon at the beginning can be tricky; for example, what does "Right 6 into Left 3 followed by a Hairpin" even mean? However, before too long these commands will be easy to follow, as long as one remembers that the numbers themselves equate to the sharpness of the turns. In other words, 1 means a sharp turn with 6 being a very mild bend, and then there's the numbers in between that fill in the gaps. The pace notes also exist in other languages as well, such as English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, while there's also a colour-blind option as well.

The main Rally Events generally consist of a series of Special Stages, and they are broken up into sections. Each section is competed on separately over a weekend, and they usually culminate on the final day with the big race. A new addition to these races is the 'Shakedown', which allows to do unlimited warm ups on the first track to kick off proceedings and allowing to get familiar. Prior WRC titles didn't have shakedowns, so this is a cool new addition to the series.

Other available modes include an Online mode and a Season mode.

Screenshot for WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 5

Finally, the celebration of 50 years of WRC won't be complete without its own mode of historical races that helped pave the way for the sport to become what it is today. It's a great place for newcomers and sport fans to begin, as it allows for brief dive into history to help establish various aspects of the sport. While these races can also be done during the Career Mode, it's recommended to do these tracks in the 'Anniversary Mode' instead, if only for being able to actually get context about each of the given races. For example, when doing the Rallye Sanremo 1981 mission with Michèle Mouton in Career Mode, there is no context given as to what exactly is going on or why this race is even important. Instead, this very important snippet is only available in the '50Th Anniversary Mode' where it can be discovered that Mouton was the first female driver to win a world championship event in rallying.

But enough gushing about what may have otherwise been an almost perfect rally game. Despite the visual upgrade and beautiful scenic shots that take place prior to each event, WRC 10 suffers from a lot of screen tears, or jitters every now and then. While these visual deficiencies can generally be overlooked in other titles, WRC 10 relies on precision when the car is placed on the track, and clipping a rock jutting out onto the track requires millimetre perfection. The screen tears seem to happen during those crucial moments, and they can derail an entire race due to an unfortunate mishap that launches the car off the track. WRC titles haven't delved into including the rewind feature seen in other racing titles, however when a 14-minute race comes to an agonising end because of a graphical break, this feature could never be more welcomed. Reducing the frames down to 30fps doesn't fix this either, neither does bumping it to 120 fps. For the most part the game was reviewed on 60fps for the best results - and ultimately, WRC 10 looked impressive for the most part when it decides to work.

In addition to that, the Career Mode has objectives that allow to earn standings with manufacturers, and like previous titles, it still suffers from the occasional dumb mission failures. For example, failing one objective that required completing three 'extreme condition' events in a 6-week window, and yet only two of those events were actually possible, resulting in an unavoidable failure. These sorts of objectives hurt an otherwise strong Career Mode.

Screenshot for WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Despite the visual breaks and screen tears that seem to happen oftentimes, WRC 10 is the ultimate rally game on PS5. At this point, there is no better alternative if the objective is getting the wheels dirty on the gravel roads. WRC 10 makes great use of the haptic feedback, bringing the vibrations to a new level of immersion while the triggers help add a new layer also. Career Mode is still unchanged from previous years, though the Season Mode is also still an option for those who don't wish to partake in the managerial aspects of the team management options. Otherwise, for those looking for the ultimate challenge beyond the AI opponents, the Online mode is still a bustling wonderland of challenges for all diehard competitors. Of course, this package wouldn't be complete without dipping into the historical races over the last 50 years of WRC, allowing for drivers to explore the older cars while also learning about their historical significance to the sport.

Developer

Kylotonn

Publisher

Nacon

Genre

Sport

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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