The WRC series has been pretty well known for bringing in a level of realism when it comes to rally racing. It’s something that’s helped the series excel above other fast paced rally series’ – though not quite as real as DIRT Rally – at the same time it’s made the games fairly difficult for those who enjoy a more casual, arcade experience. In WRC 6 however, that’s all changed. The core WRC experience is still there, but there’s now an option to make the game a little more enjoyable and a little more arcade.
I’m that aforementioned casual racer. I adore games like Forza Horizon over the more hardcore Forza Motorsport games, but at the same time I do enjoy the cut-throat twitch racing experience from the WRC series. However, I’ve always found that the WRC games require a level of knowledge in WRC, and why not? These games are marketed as the “Official” games of the FIA World Rally Championship, and like the real championship one wrong move can cost you and your team the race.
That being said, as a game this unforgiving experience can be a little too harsh sometimes, especially when you just want to enjoy the game. That’s why I’m absolutely in love with WRC 6‘s more casual gameplay mode.
Upon diving into the game you’re thrust directly into a no-holds-barred race, the full, core WRC experience. Hitting rocks that loiter some corners can cause you to puncture your tires meaning you either have to put up with it, or change the tire and loose 30 seconds. Taking a corner too hard can send you ploughing into the lush forestry which can mean the end. And while this shows you how harsh the game can be, it actually acts as more of a way for the game to learn your play style.
When you eventually roll across the finish line the game looks back at the race to determine what skill level it should be set at which will hopefully make the game a little more challenging for those of us with some idea of how to control a car. This can of course can be changed if the game rates your skill too highly, but it’s also an impressive way of ensuring the game isn’t a doddle from the get-go.
In addition, you’ll also be asked what you’re here for. Are you here for fun, or are you after the core WRC experience. This for me, is literally a game changer. I spent most of my time playing for fun, which I found much more enjoyable than the more hardcore experience as I was able to throw myself around corners, take more risks, and enjoy the thrill of the race without worrying about losing precious seconds changing tires, losing radio signal, or busting my gearbox. For the most part, no matter how hard I pushed the car I only ever had to repair the bodywork, which was a blast.
This isn’t to say that the harsh experience is no longer there, because it is, but as someone who prefers a much more casual racer, I enjoyed WRC 6 so much more.
In WRC 6 you’ll be able to dive right into your racing career, starting from Junior WRC all the way up to the roaring engines of the main WRC vehicles. You can choose your team, and start work building your way up the ranks completing challenges as you go. This time while racing is indeed important, there are challenges which players can aim to complete like coming before another driver in the championship. This makes the racing more intense as you try and shave seconds off of your time.
For the most part the career mode isn’t really that remarkable, it has all of the right ingredients and feels familiar to other WRC games. However, I feel that Kylotonn have made this game much more accessible. While most rally games, WRC included, have thrown you in blind expecting you to understand exactly what the co-driver is barking at you, WRC 6 now offers you a chance to actually learn.
During a race, your co-driver is still giving you the pace notes, but this time if you enter the pause menu, there’s an obvious window with a breakdown of what exactly that pace note means. This allowed me to actually get to grips with what the co-driver was saying and helped me prepare for the road ahead. This is a complaint I’ve been making for some time now and I’m over the moon that WRC has finally given me clear and concise instructions as to what I’m actually supposed to do. It also helped a ton during night races where visibility is severely limited.
While it seems like I’m singing WRC 6‘s praises, there are some aspects that aren’t so great. Visually WRC 6 feels like a complete step back from the fidelity found in WRC 5. Upon loading the game I actually thought I’d opened up the wrong one for a second. The game looks more like a last-generation game than something you’d expect from a title released three years into new-gen consoles. While staring at the scenery is the last thing you’ll be doing in WRC 6, the vehicles and the way the road reacts to your car seem to have also taken a big visual hit. While this doesn’t effect gameplay and it’s something you get used to eventually, it is still slightly disappointing.
Visuals aside, WRC 6 isn’t without its issues either. While the game does a good job of making sure you’re on the road at all times, there were a good few times that the physics would throw my car into the air if I ended up hitting a rock at a dodgy angle. What’s more, the automatic recovery occasionally threw me on top of hay stacks in chicanes or on top of narrow fences causing me to just give up and restart the race.
Understandably, there’s a certain level of haste when releasing a game to coincide with an annual event and it certainly shows in WRC 6. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, on the contrary. I’ve actually enjoyed WRC 6 more than other games in the series, however visually and mechanically the game does have its flaws. If you can see past these then you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself whether you’re a hardcore rally fan or a more casual racer.