Welcome back to the next iteration of rallying in WRC 10. This latest edition adds some new rallies, an Anniversary Mode in line with next year’s 50th anniversary of the championships, plus a whole host of new updates that include a livery editor. You can even name your co-driver!
I often think of each new release of a big franchise like FIFA, Call of Duty and even the annual iPhone as same old, same old. There might be the one killer feature that has you reaching for your wallet, but these yearly releases are often a cash cow with not much on offer.
That was the expectation for WRC 10. My inbox was trickling through with lots of notifications about this latest rally game coming in 2021, then a few months to go, new features announced, and then… the release date passed. I believe WRC 9 was one of the best rally games ever made, but got the impression the new game wouldn’t be that much different (plus, is there the time to invest in all those seasons!?).
WRC 10 PS5 Review
While WRC 9 got a PS5 update with WRC 10, my mind was blown with this game. First off, the visuals on the PS5 are something else. Racing through the dirt tracks offered some stunning lighting effects (and the replay videos capture the scene pretty well). Looks aren’t everything (ask my wife), but it certainly helps when setting the tone; WRC 10 has raised the bar big time.
But it’s not the visuals that were the only standout, but the use of the DualSense controller. Astro’s Playroom was the benchmark, but subsequent releases never fully utilised it until Timothy’s Night. Well, KT Racing have seen and thus raised that standard.
Like Wreckfest, the haptic feedback adjusts accordingly to gear changes and provides enough resistance to make you feel involved. It’s not perfect (a steering wheel would naturally be better), but it’s immersive. Even better, the sound effects from the controller are insane. Each time you hear the stones chipping away, you can’t help but cringe about how the bodywork will look at the end of the stage.
But we’re being superficial here and talking all about the presentation. As per the introduction, WRC 10 has the same mentality of ‘if it ain’t broke…’ Once again, the management sections in the game are in-depth – sometimes a little overwhelming if you just want to race. The game does take itself seriously, so if you’re expecting an arcade experience, you might want to try something else.
In particular, the standard setup in WRC 10 is overly sensitive. An ant will fart, and you’ll slide off the track, so you’ll want to adjust the settings as soon as possible. The same for the difficulty as the default setting is hard going – no matter how good you think you are. In the first few stages, I was sliding out so much that touching the tarmac was like reaching dry land when lost at sea.
There are the usual extensive campaign modes with Junior WRC and WRC 3, before the main championships. You’d think the former are lite-versions of stages, but it really isn’t, and busting around the tracks in a Fiesta is unreal. The same for classic cars and events. As part of the 50 year WRC legacy, you’ll get to run some bespoke events, but these can happen a bit too soon, and the extra HP or change in drivetrain can be a shock to the system if you drive like James May.
There’s No ‘I’ In Rally
This is the nature of rallying, and like Art of Rally, you can get the perfect setup with enough tweaks. It’s fiercely competitive as winning isn’t simply about a podium finish, but it will determine the longevity of your career – notably your standings with the manufacturer and the morale of your team. On that point, it’s impressive how vital the co-driver is in a race. I struggle with processing all the commands they bark at you and typically look at the arrows on the screen, but if you have a good ear, your co-driver is indispensable.
Much like before, you have a pretty active hand in configuring your team in WRC 10, hiring the best and using their abilities to get the most out of repairs, and durability of your vehicle, among other things. If I’m honest, I don’t really like that aspect of the game so much. I appreciate this is a pull for many, but I just want to get on with it as it’s so satisfying to play this game on a next-gen console.
It’s worth mentioning the other features, such as the multiplayer options – both online and local split-screen. These aren’t aspects I’ve covered in this review as my guinea pigs for game reviews aren’t into driving games and would rather we endlessly play Cruis’n Blast – which isn’t a bad thing, but when it comes to solo play, WRC 10’s a winner. Especially if you’re a fan of rallying in general, what with the new Anniversary Mode of classic cars and the introduction of Estonia and Croatia.
Is it worth investing in if you have the earlier versions? You’re going to get that new iPhone aren’t you, so why not WRC 10. Some of the rallies that don’t feature in this year’s championship return as an option, plus there’s the Anniversary Mode for enthusiasts. As far as I see it, essential for any rally fan.