Ever since Bigben Interactive got hold of the World Rally Championship license in 2013, it’s been hard at work porting many of its top-selling racing games to the PC. Though WRC 07’s debut left a lot to be desired, one of the best titles from its franchise -WRC 08- has been ported to the PC flawlessly.
WRC 08 is an off-road arcade/simulator style racer. Instead of driving over normal pavement road surfaces, you’ll have to battle with tracks constructed of uncooperative sand, dirt, and mud. There are roughly 100 tracks that span the entire globe, including a serene, yet dangerously narrow, lakeside track. With authentically modeled rally cars and 50 teams to choose from, you’ll have plenty of options to scratch every inch of your rally itch.
As far as controls are concerned, it’s dead on with surprisingly intuitive responses using both an analog controller and a force feedback wheel. The power slides and tricky skids required to win pose a steep learning curve, but nothing beats the feeling of fishtailing through a hairpin turn perfectly without smacking into a barrier. Also worth mentioning is the real-time damage your car sustains after too many collisions. WRC 08 really focuses on precision driving, and a bit of slowdown is usually the only result of a head-on impact.
Accompanying the exceptional play are the wonderfully polished graphics, with plenty of little details – sand, rocks, and gravel are thrown wayside as you accelerate and round corners, and the cars realistically bounce up and down as they hit uneven terrain. The standard high res mode runs just as smoothly as previous versions and the frame rate was more than acceptable running on a standard RTX 2080 card. The dynamic weather system has to be seen to appreciate it, especially when racing through rain that ultimately turns into a harrowing hailstorm. This adds such a unique and dynamic dimension to the game.
To give you hints and warnings about the upcoming tracks, WRC 08 provides a CPU navigator who shouts bizarre-sounding directions such as, “Very long, easy right!”. While the voice may be relatively helpful towards beginners, it becomes annoying as the dickens to anyone who has memorized the course. The rest of the sound is clear and crisp with just enough catchy jazz and rock instrumentals to keep things pumping.
World Rally Championship 8 is a first-class rally racer. Though the beginning tracks might seem limiting at first, hop online and you’ll be guaranteed plenty of online action. Anyone ready for a change of pace from the F1 or Nascar genre should give this one a serious look.
– Great graphics, smooth controls and excellent online gameplay.
– Slight stuttering here and there even on a high-end card.
– Currently only available on the Epic store, which may split the community.
– One of the best rally games available for any platform.