WRC 10 is here and with it, the aim for providing fans with oen fo the most realistic racing sims the industry has to experience yet. However, there’s a few drawbacks, but also, some serious improvements to the franchise.
+Extremely well designed race tracks that mirror the real-life tracks
+Offers multiple play styles for drivers both new and old to the series
+Plenty of offline and online offerings for fans to enjoy
+Estonia is a huge addition to the franchise
-Can be slightly overwhelming for beginner players at first
-Intermittent crashes when loading into new events in career mode
It seems like a year hasn’t passed since the last time we got our hands on an all-new WRC title, but here we are, almost exactly a year later as WRC 10 makes its way out the door just in time to celebrate, a little early of course, the 50th anniversary of the World Rally Championship itself.
The reason being? Well, this year is only the 49th season of the World Rally Championship with the 50th set to begin in 2022. Regardless, KT Racing has done a noteworthy job giving fans exactly what they’d hope for: More racing goodness. KT Racing hasn’t held back either, WRC 10 delivers a worthwhile experience for racing simulation fans, albeit slightly buggy on PlayStation 5, but fun none-the-less.
So, what exactly has changed and what hasn’t? That’s what we’re here to discuss, especially since this is the first entry to land on the next-gen consoles, and because of that being combined with the 50th Anniversary mode, we need to take a deeper look into the game than you might actually expect.
The 50th Anniversary races stand out significantly above the rest
One of the issues with this game isn’t something that has been addressed in previous titles either, which to some fans, is a problem. Regardless of the difficulty setting you choose, WRC 10 can still be overwhelmingly challenging, and a bit too tough depending on the player’s skill. Even as an advanced racer, the game itself doesn’t balance out in the Anniversary mode itself.
The Anniversary mode, at the time of writing, doesn’t have that option, which is a damned shame, because this mode has a lot going for it. As someone who enjoys racing games spanning from Need for Speed to Gran Turismo, this one brings difficulty to an all-new level. It truly is a “one size fits all” approach that doesn’t seem to actually fit everyone – as weird as that sounds.
This is mentioned as the game itself does offer quite a few aids for novice to intermediate drivers. These tools can include assists that help with breaking, turning, less damage to the car, clear down to wrecking not causing permanent damage or rather, causing limited damage. Even as someone that does that, it’s worth stating that WRC 10 and the Anniversary mode is as challenging as it comes.
In my first few attempts at the Anniversary mode’s races, I thought I was doing pleasantly well, but unfortunately, it’s not as kind as I had expected. Rather, it was hard, brutal, and by the end of my first few circuits, I had actually restarted the races a handful of times in an attempt to ensure that I did my best to place in the top 3 racers. By the time each race had been completed, it became normal to see myself placing fifth to last in consecutive races. This wasn’t because I wasn’t good, but rather, because WRC 10 is designed to be rather tough and unforgiving, just as it is in real life.
For beginner’s, this is not an advised mode to start with, which puts Career Mode and Season’s at the forefront for beginners of any kind. Even as an experienced racer, it became clear that only the best of the best are capable of clearing these races.
The NPC crowds tend to be a bit nuts, standing just beside the road, becoming almost as useless as the barricades
Now there is one thing worth mentioning: Anniversary mode’s crowds are about as thinned out as they were during the previous titles. You won’t see as many of them, which to some, may come off as a little strange. Their lighter density is a bit of a weird design choice, but where they stand, is even weirder.
Racers may instantly notice that during their time on these older and more well-renowned stages, that crowds are just as close to the track as they are in modern ones. They’re standing almost on the track, which as someone who loves racing games, was a bit odd. However, it’s whatever floats their boat and makes it so they enjoy the race as much as they can.
Now, on another note of design choices, comes one that I’ve particularly become fond of: The car selection. You’ll find that Audi, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, and even Peugeot are all present. Heck, even the Lancias are here alongside the Audi Quattro. As someone who’s still rather new to the WRC experience, it’s still nice to see cards ranging from the ‘70s all the way into modern times. Yep, even as far as 2019. Most noteworthy, Ott Tänak’s 2019 Toyota Yaris.
They didn’t skip out on big name racers either. You’ll find plenty of them on the roster, plenty of their cars to experience, and the experience’s close to what they would have had to offer if you’d been in their seat all those years ago. If you’re new like I am, it’ll definitely pique your interest.
Let off the gas and take a small break, things do get a little bumpy along the way
Now, one thing to understand about WRC 10 is that it still makes the same missteps that its predecessors did. In these missteps that happen is that some of the most interesting features are exclusive to the Career mode. This is where you can manage your team ranging from Public Relations to your Technician’s.
This is worth noting because these features are truly that important. You’ll find that building your own race team isn’t just about building a team. Every element of each person you recruit is just as significantly important as your actual skill. They can influence how much you earn after an event, how much morale you can gain or lose, but at a cost: They also have negative effects as well.
This was the same case in the previous titles. There hasn’t been a lot of change in how your race team works, just in how you manage them. Just remember, some of the features you may enjoy, are locked behind completing the Anniversary mode.
Another issue is the difficulty in completing some of the bonus objectives you will receive throughout your entire career. Some will include completing Extreme Condition races, some not losing morale during a month, or even partaking in Anniversary races that appear. Some can also include not using specific tyres during a rally. It’s annoying really as some are not tangible or even possible for new players.
The other issue: Managing car damage as well as your tyres between every race. You will find that this is an extremely important element for the game as you play it. If you plan things out just right, you won’t have any trouble, which for some, is actually a blessing in disguise once you get used to planning out your tyre usage as well as what tires you want to keep on you during long-term events.
Don’t expect to run into the Arctic Rally in WRC 10, but instead, enjoy Estonia now and Belgium, and Greece post-launch
Now, one of the saddening things about this game is that the Arctic Rally isn’t going to be featured in WRC 10. Rather, we see Sweden still in place, albeit cancelled, and Belgium as well as Greece being implemented shortly after launch. You’ll still experience locales in Japan and Chile as well, but also, Estonia as the new highlight for the series.
Sadly, you’ll find that you’ll be going across the same tracks, at times, more than once, which can be a bit strange at first until you realize that there’s a lot more going on than previously thought. You’ll just find that the overall speed of each race has been slightly lowered, giving the pacing itself something of a twist in the long run.
You’ll find yourself having to learn how to balance circuits such as Estonia’s gravel tracks, the dirt tracks of Chile, and even some of the beautifully detailed tracks of Croatia. There’s plenty more going on, but it would be rude of us to ruin that for you before you jump on into the game. Each race has its own momentum you’ll have to adjust to in order to become the best raer you can be. Some races prefer high speeds while others take advantage of the game’s ability to throw fast straight aways in your path before curling into an immediate slowdown.
This is where the simulation elements are a step ahead of what they were before. It’s a real visual treat on next-gen consoles too as the graphics do pop from time-to-time, but also, they do tend to begin showing their age as well due to lower resolution textures standing out among the rest. Even the adaptive triggers are a nice change and certainly do give the PlayStation 5 build an advantage over the rest.
The Verdict – Nearing the finish line
It’s hard for me not to admit: KT Racing is certainly some of the leading experts in what they do. They are excellent at delivering memorable experiences, challenging races, and unparalleled attention to detail with tracks in WRC 10. The biggest complaint is that visual flaws do exist, Anniversary mode is excruciatingly painful to some, and it leads to some minor changes we hope get added in the future.
WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship
Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch
Version(s) Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Developer: KT Racing
Release Date: Available Now
For what it’s worth though, WRC 10 is a minor step in the right direction to making a title that is certainly stronger than WRC 9 in many ways, but due to its crashes, minor performance stutters, and visual glitches that happen, WRC 10 still has room to improve. That doesn’t go without saying: This is still the best franchise there is when it comes to the World Rally Championship experience and a perfect way to begin celebrating the 50th Anniversary of WRC.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game that was provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.