WRC 3 Review
Rallying is special. Not in the insulting way – we don’t mean, you know, special. But special. Hardcore. Insane. Dangerous.
It’s car versus slippery road, with the added distraction of your co-driver shouting numbers in your ear and the threat of flipping over a tiny rock into a ravine down below to think about.
And therefore, rallying games are a special breed of game, because again – it really is just you versus the road. There aren’t any cars you can bang into to slow down around corners while pretending it was a mistake, no slipstreams to take advantage of on the long straights, no shameless attempts at cutting corners from driving over the grass on u-bends.
We’re mentioning this because the lack of extra fluff and spectacle means rally games rely on their handling more so than other racers, and the good news is that WRC3 has the handling absolutely spot-on.
There’s a tempting raw aggression in rallying games, because of the dramatic powerslides you can throw around each corner, yet in WRC3 that is tempered by so many extra factors – your angle, your speed, your car and most of all, the surface.
Sudden appearances of loose gravel ahead is frightening because it temporarily yanks you of the tarmac safety zone you’ve become accustomed to but this threat only works if the handling reflects the slippy, unpredictable nature of the surface.
And that’s why WRC 3 is fun and strangely hypnotic to play. You constantly need to re-adjust your handling, accounting for what’s under your tires while trying to stay fast.
The physics are a little wonky when it comes to collisions, your car suddenly chopping around the air like an empty crisp packet in a breeze, but the tire-to-ground stuff is perfect.
It’s good the handling is perfect because there’s little else going on here. The presentation is an odd mixture of amateur and awkward. Someone has tried to push a sense of style and character into the menus and has come up short – it doesn’t have the vibrancy of Dirt Showdown or the class of Gran Turismo 5.
It’s also a little flat visually. The sound of dirt and gravel being crunched before
Career mode is a cut and dry affair, where you unlock stars to progress through the ranks. There’s a nice variety of challenges that throw different tracks and cars at you, while it’s easy enough to unlock stars that you won’t hit many frustrating difficulty spikes. Yet with no personality or variation on the actual in-game action itself, WRC3 is relying on you being a hardcore rallying fan.
And if career mode fails to entertain you? You’re out of luck, as there are no other modes here worth poking around with besides time trial if you’re extremely dedicated to the cause.
That sums up WRC3 – it’s for hardcore fans, not those on the outside looking in.
WRC3 should have been more aggressive on the presentation side (and we don’t mean more dubstep) because it does little to endear you to the game, and the overall package needs an injection of creativity and daring in the modes.
And that’s a great shame because it’s hard to recommend this to those who aren’t die-hard rallying fans anyway.