Been a crazy year for me here, I have a little girl arriving in November, I am stepping down as site manager and when it comes to reviews. This is my 3rd racing game, I have reviewed DiRT 4, Project Cars 2 and now WRC 7, I would say Project Cars 2 has to be the most accurate racing simulation to date, with one hell of a hard learning curve.
So what was I expecting when it came to WRC 7? well, hurdling down some of those narrows roads from tarmac changing to gravel, wet to dry, with deadly drops on either side when possible, to sheer speed topping in at around 140mph, while holding my breath hoping to make it to the end.
Living in Wales comes with some exciting opportunities when it comes to Rally enthusiasts, you can actually watch Rally Touring cars rip up our mountains in the valleys, this is something to be seen, but its even better when you get a chance to be inside a Rally Car. Which thanks to being press and some waffle added one of the teams offered me this chance, on goes my helmet, dropped into the seat, metal frame all around, these cars are rather bare-boned I thought to myself. The engine started, drivers say’s “You Ready?” I say “Yes” and brum brum, we are off. I shit myself from start to finish and then puked at the end, sheer speed, G-Force, and quick reactions, just made it a whole new experience for me and my body just could not take it, think I’ll stick to video games from now on.
Let us roll back a little, not everyone has played a racing game or cares about racing games, or you might simply be reading this review wondering, should I give it a try, well let me give you an idea what rally racing is all about. When you start rallying, everything is set via time-trails, over a few days from a selection of stages. If you win a stage, get the fastest times across all the days, you get to bring home all the glory and points. You get to race in all weather conditions from, snow, rain, sunny, misty, fog or a mix of them all and everything takes place over gravel, mud or tarmac.
You are not alone when racing you get assigned a co-driver that will give you details of the road ahead, corners coming up, change in weather condition and any dangers you need to be made aware of, so always be listening to that one person. Compared to DiRT 4, WRC 7 takes Rally racing towards a simulation, but not as hardcore as Project Cars 2, thank god, I did not want another experience like that so soon.
Rally enthusiasts what everything and everything is here, all the teams, all the cars and all the sponsors, from all 13 different rally locations from this year’s World Rally Championship.
The game’s locations look and feel stunning to drive through, from snowy forests, sun-dried gravel/rocky tracks and beautiful cliff tops with sheer drops. The amount of detail gone into creating these tracks, is great, its looks well designed and thought out, almost look like the real thing, to a degree, just drive around any snowy track and look at the snow, the trees, look how dense it all feels, the shadows, the lighting, it all adds to the immersion.
So we have all the cars, but how many cars you might be asking yourself, how about 55, which have all been modelled to a high accuracy so they reflect their real-life counterparts. Moving into the cars, they are little lacklustre, don’t have the same awe-inspiring effect that the exteriors have, but then again, what was I expecting, I have been inside a rally car now and there is little to nothing to make your jaw drop to the ground.
There was one issue though when speeding around snowy stages when inside the car, the snow did not build up on the window screen, come on, where does the snow go, its something they did not think about during development, or could not simulate.
Before you dig deep into the game mess around with the settings, I would recommend using assists where possible or tinker around with the braking and the steering, personally, I found them to sensitive at the very start of the game. Even with all the tinkering that I did, and with the assists on, I still found the cars a handful to control at times, but its better than nothing I guess.
So you know the tracks, the cars, let us start a game, let’s start a new career, create a driver, sign them to with a team and start from the very beginning, junior and push myself to perform well so I can rise through the ranks. Doing well will give you a chance, to get spotted and having other teams try and sign you up, or you could be invited to attempt a rally in one of the higher tiers, which is a triumph in itself.
As you are the driver and that’s all your are there to do there is no need to repair your car, which is great, because in all honesty I know nothing about a car, apart from, how to turn, break, change gears and go, that’s about it, if someone asked me to look under the hood at the engine, its a whole new ball game, I have no idea.
You do have a team, and how you perform effects there performance and attitudes, perform well, then your team feels good and will perform their tasks on time if you are not performing too well, then the opposite happens. You must also consider what the team wants you to do in a form of play style, push the peddle to the metal and don’t worry too much about damage, other teams will want you to be more careful and bring your car home with little to no damage, so make sure you are doing well and taking note of what your team wants you to do.
After playing single player for sometime and you have your skills up to a good standard, you might want to jump into multi-player and put your rally skills to the test, speed will be everything here, via leaderboards and challenge modes where the game picks the car, track and challenges for you, then it is down to you to get the best time or at least try to.
Other than that, that’s the game, race, perform and be the best, visually stunning environments, good weather effects, not so much with snow, good amount of cars and courses and a nice learning curve. I was worried that I was crashing a lot at the start of the game, and it came to a point where I was thinking, are the parts in the car going to last much longer, but I have to admit, it did take a long time before something fully failed.
Overall WRC 7 is an enjoyable, rewarding title, with a curve that will suit rally enthusiasts looking for a simulation, it is not as simulated as Project Cars 2, but its does try. It will not take newcomers by the hand, but it will guide you and teach you to drive from the very low tiers and as you improve, so does your standings. For experienced drivers, you will be tested, oh yes you will be, so be prepared.