WRC 8 is a fantastic spectacle of a racing game, with great attention to detail and improved physics.
WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship is the latest installment in a long-running series of rally games from developer KTC Racing and publisher Bigben Interactive. The World Rally Championship games are more realistic affairs with plenty of cars to choose from, realistic physics, and numerous stages to tackle an amalgam of challenges across. Based on one of the "most difficult and unpredictable motorsport competitions in the world," it makes sense that WRC is an attractive prospect for fans of the Dirt or Gran Turismo series. WRC 8 is a solid improvement over the previous installment and a worthy contender when it comes to realistic racers on console and otherwise.
Sports fans will be pleased to know there's a wide amount of real-world cars to choose from in, which is obviously one of, if not the biggest, draws for the entire thing. From entry-level vehicles to tougher, more powerful rides, an entire spectrum of rally cars are represented here, all customizable to each individual player's liking. They're also painstakingly detailed, with a tremendous amount of care having been paid to each individual ride's look and feel. Paying for the rights to represent a dizzying amount of cars was obviously the right move here, and any rally fan will be thrilled to see all the vehicles in play.
WRC 8 does include all three official series: the Junior WRC, WRC 2, and the main WRC. Each stage becomes a more challenging endeavor, which even the most seasoned racers may eventually find issue with. There's a lot to take in, too: a gorgeous new dynamic weather system that makes for some hazardous and difficult driving conditions, for one. There's even a level that requires players to buckle up and jump into a car on its last legs in the middle of a storm to push it to the end of a race. It's harsh, unforgiving, and even terrifying – and to have it so early on, it's a great reminder of what players are up against when jumping into a game this realistic.
This game thrives on throwing curveballs, from twisty tracks set late at night to misty-eyed mornings that will have players reaching for a cup of coffee out of habit. The environments may change, but the challenge doesn't. Rally cars will soak up dirt like a sponge, whatever the weather conditions are during a certain race will take a toll on them, and even the environment will "rub off" on the vehicles. And it's not all for the sake of cosmetic changes. These elements will affect rally car visibility, handling, and reliability. This is why players need to keep all their wits about them when behind the wheel.
Everything is made possible, however, by out-of-this-world physics. This year's game engine features excellent, satisfying handling for each car, but for those who prefer to put their own spin on things, there are an unbelievable amount of ways to customize how a car feels. This is great news for anyone who'd like to play with a racing wheel, which this title was practically made for. Jumping behind the stationary wheel feels like a dream, because it offers the most flexible control possible with a racing title like this one. If one is available, it's recommended to use it any day over the typical Xbox One controller.
Beyond simply racing through various challenges, players can tackle the Season mode to take the game in large chunks, or pursue Career mode with the ultimate goal of becoming a successful driver. Others are involved as well: an entire crew that must be paid, morale kept in the green, and mood stable. There's even the manufacturer to keep in mind, and without them, as well as the staff who repair vehicles. It's a massive undertaking to micromanage every bit of the Career mode, but for players who live for this kind of customization, it's a special kind of boon.
There's more to WRC 8 than simply flying solo, however. Of course it comes with a full suite of online multiplayer tools, though competitors have already made it their business to all but master their craft. Still, if playing around with Career mode or simply trying to hone skills isn't something players are interested in endlessly pursuing, there are great online options to fall back on, with a bustling lobby at this point. Given that there are so few direct competitors to WRC 8, hopefully things remain this way.
WRC 8 is not a game for novice racers, which may be a turn-off for some. But for those who live for the thrill of the unknown as it relates to hitting the road and tearing up the track, it's a stupendous celebration of vehicular matter.
WRC 8 is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC now. A digital Xbox One code was provided to Screen Rant for purposes of review.