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World Rally Championship PS3 doesn't fare much better electronically than it currently does in real life. Although it's great to see a sensible and level headed approach to rallying, none of that mattered because it simply failed to deliver a believable experience.
The poor old World Rally Championship has had a bit of kicking lately, with manufacturers dropping like flies, famous events dropped from the calendar (no more Rally Monte Carlo) poor TV and media coverage as well as a lack of competition has turned the once mighty series into a shadow of its former self.
So it's a bit of a surprise to see this official WRC title. Still, it's good to see a proper rallying game that focuses on the sport properly without the extreme flavour of Codemasters' DiRT (PS3) games.
World Rally Championship offers a choice of modes, allowing you to have your own career, play time-attack, run single stage, a whole rally, or multiplayer for up to four players. The menus are there to do a job, don't expect any pretty presentation because you're not going to get it-the aim here is function.
Sadly, things don't really improve once you get going. Following the real-life series, the choice of cars is limited to either the Ford Focus or the Citroen C4, while the P-WRC (cheaper, Production like cars) and the J-WRC (Junior World Rally Championship) offer more variety.
Once you get to the gravel it's more of the same. WRC can best be described as bland. The game's colour palette is washed out to such an extent that while on the Wales Rally GB it's all but impossible to make out the road ahead from the verge, meaning you'll frequently find rocks, trees and other such debris rushing to greet you.
World Rally Championship makes a valiant attempt to offer decent handling, but having hustled a car or two over the loose stuff, I know the feel of a car on gravel and the cars in WRC feel decidedly twitchy. Even the rumble feedback didn't transmit the feeling of driving the different terrains rallying offers.
I know the feel of a car on gravel and the cars in WRC feel decidedly twitchy.
Sadly, that's not where the problems end, either. The audio track for the cars is almost laughable in places and the music feels as if it's been lifted from a copyright free catalogue.
The worst thing though has to be your co-driver. One minute your instructions are being delivered in a flat monotone voice, the next minute he or she is screeching at you to concentrate, or berating you for not driving fast enough. It's so infuriating that pretty quickly I'd opted to turn the co-driver speech off, which of course, makes the driving that bit tougher. Why they couldn't have opted for a real co-driver like Nicky Grist, for example, is beyond me.
So by now you're probably thinking that WRC is a pretty bad game. Well that would be harsh. The smaller cars, like the Suzuki Swift are good fun and multiplayer mode isn't too bad.
If you can get past the poor presentation and the limited range of full-spec WRC cars, there's a solid enough rallying game here that will find considerable favour with those, like me who were put off by the direction Codemasters went in with DiRT.
WRC is a tough game to recommend, it fails to involve you on anything more than a basic level.
The publishers would normally be commended for remaining so faithful to the source material, but when that material is some what mediocre; the game is bound to be little more than average. So, as it stands, WRC feels like a game sorely lacking in polish, and therefore is somewhat of a missed opportunity.
WRC is a tough game to recommend, while it provides a passable driving experience, it fails to involve you on anything more than a basic level. This game would have been great in 2005, but in 2010 it all feels somewhat dated. You'd be better off saving your cash and going for Colin McRae 2005.
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