WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship (PlayStation 3) Review

By Adam Riley 13.11.2012

Review for WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 3

The World Rally Championship series of FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) licensed racers started back in 2001 and remained as a Sony-exclusive from that time through until 2005, mainly appearing on the PlayStation 2, although there was one solitary PlayStation Portable edition. After taking a break for several years, it blasted back in 2010, this time with a new developer at the helm and in multi-platform format. Italian team, Milestone, has a track record of delivering some extremely impressive realistic racing experiences, with the likes of SBK: Superbike World Championship and MotoGP under its belt. Now, after two stabs at it, the group is back with FIA World Rally Championship 3 to fill the gap in the market that Codemasters normally fills with its DiRT line.

Owners of Nintendo systems have not always been treated well in terms of realistic racers, with only a smattering of titles appearing over the years, with the likes of V-Rally on the Nintendo 64, Dakar 2 on GameCube, and DiRT 2 on Wii being some of the scant highlights. Wii misses out yet again, which is a shame since FIA World Rally Championship 3 definitely stands head and shoulders above its predecessors. Milestone's official video game of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship features cars and rallies from the latest season, including support categories, and managed to hook, in the case of this article, a racing fan that normally prefers the more arcade feel of Ridge Racer.

After firing up the game there appear to not be too many options, with single stages to challenge and single rallies to take part in, plus a local four-player mode that is 'Hot Seat' only rather than split-screen. Basically, it does not bode well from the offset, but delving a little deeper reveals a plethora of delights for avid followers and those hankering for some rally action in general. The taste of 36 car models and 54 official teams is quite delicious indeed, especially with the super smooth visuals and solid frame-rate throughout. The new Spikengine that Milestone has used brings new lighting and particle effects, more realistic shadows, and more of an overall shininess than its predecessors as racers zip around the tarmac settings, off-road dirt tracks, icy patches and even sandy expanses.

Screenshot for WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 3

One of the highlights definitely has to be the Career Mode, which brings a dash of racing goodness and management savoir faire to the table. Players can customise their team and individual cars as they take on the world, facing new objectives if specific targets are hit or special manoeuvres are pulled off during races. A lot of the appeal for many will come from the elements of realism Milestone has tried to bring to FIA World Rally Championship 3, though, especially in how the cars handle. Vehicles will increasingly become battered if driving erratically, consequently proving detrimental to the speed and control, whilst the actual turning arc of different cars comes into play, meaning adapting to the circumstances if a must.
Saying that, rookies are encouraged to try the game out, with a set of tweaks for those more familiar with the 'never use the brake' attitude that accompanies less serious racers. Auto-Brake, Auto-Transmission, Braking Assistance, Stability Help and Physical Damage Levels are all options that can be turned on or amended to suit any driver, and there is even a 'Rewind Effect' that allows the action to be dragged backwards a few seconds to right any major mistakes (thankfully this is limited enough to not make courses too simple). After getting to grips with the fast-fast-slow-fast-fast-slow nature of racing and the feel of various terrain types, it will not be long before players will want to up the ante, taking on an entire Championship to become the best of the best and uploading fastest times via the online ranking system.

Finally, the audio plays a strong role in the atmosphere of proceedings, from the roar of the engine that makes use of live recordings using on-board vehicle microphones for authenticity, to the voice over work of the co-driver, offering constant updates on what to expect along each track. Milestone has attempted to throw in far more attention to detail than the previous two World Rally Championship releases and it certainly pays off.

Screenshot for WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

With 78 stages in the main game, plus an additional five 'Super Special Stages' across more than a dozen locations, as well as plenty of online options, there is certainly a lot of meat in this racing dish. FIA World Rally Championship 3 is definitely the game to look to this year for those looking for something to satisfy the need for a new dirt-track style off-road racer. The lack of split-screen multiplayer is a drawback, some of the differing terrain types seem too similar in feel, and sometimes the physics can be a little too harsh for what is after all a videogame, but as far as 'real' racers go, this is definitely one that should at least be taken for a spin.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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