WRC 8 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 8) is a mixed experience, at least based on my time with the game. As a more casual racing game fan, there was admittedly a skill gap required to jump in order to really get to enjoy WRC 8. But, with all that being said, is WRC 8 worth your time and money?
A Review code for the PC version of the game was provided by the developer to Culture of Gaming for the purpose of this review.
First loading into the game, I was brought to the main menu. As small as this may seem, the amount of games on PC that just instantly take you in-game without giving you a chance to tweak settings is high and quite frankly annoying. So right off the bat, a good impression was made.
Moving into the actual gameplay menu, I’m met with a multitude of options for game modes. Career, Championship, Training, and a few others. I hopped right into the training course, just to get a feel for how the cars handle.
Once the environment loaded, I took everything in. In terms of graphical fidelity, WRC 8 is passable. The car models look very good and detailed, but the environments come off as more geometrically basic by comparison, even playing on 4K resolution with maxed-out settings. Speaking of, on PC the game runs very well. I had no problems maintaining 60+ FPS even on maxed settings. A high and consistent framerate is super important for racing games, and I’m glad WRC 8 doesn’t suffer from any.
Anyhow, back to the gameplay. My car was loaded in at the starting line, and I may have jumped the gun a little bit too early. I hit the accelerator, and although my car was locked in position, by hitting the accelerator before the countdown reached “Go!”, I was met with a +10 second lap penalty. Ouch. But also, good to know.
Off the line, I was approaching the first turn. I took it way too fast, and crashed into a side barrier. Another turn later, also too fast, and I ended up in a ditch. By this point, my car was looking worse for wear, and on my current settings, the damage was negatively impacting the car’s performance. I eventually made it through a few laps, but at this point, I knew it was time to take a step back.
Taking A Step Back
As mentioned earlier, my primary racing game experience is quite casual, with most of my time having been spent in Forza Horizon 4 (FH4). While I’ve progressively tweaked the AI difficulty settings in FH4, and can now confidently race against the highest difficulty ones, there are a number of comforts I was used to in FH4 that I didn’t see as immediately present in WRC 8. Namely, the guide arrows on the ground that help you gauge your speed on corners.
Furthermore, when jumping into WRC 8, I defaulted into the habit into racing as though my car was a supercar when that’s not the case at all in WRC 8. I needed to adjust style, and get used to the handling and terrain of WRC 8. I delved once more into the gameplay settings and found a multitude of driver-assist tweaks to better help me acclimate. These were incredibly useful to ease me into the game, the only issue was finding them and fully understanding and realizing the result each setting would have.
However, going through the various menu systems to tweak, I began to critique the UI. It didn’t strike me as excellent, but not poor either. The UI is passable. One of the weirdest things is that on PC, even when using a controller, a mouse cursor is still present, and jumps from selection item to selected item. Past that, no glaring issues, except for just getting used to the depth of everything available to you.
After finding a handling setup I liked, I jumped into a couple of one-off races. I came in respectable positions, with the odd first place. Next, I jumped into career mode. IWRC 8 impressed me with this aspect. I was given quite a bit of control right off the bat. Players can pick their crew setups to better fit their needs, and there are even crew perks that give you little bonuses to help you along the way in career mode.
In career mode, you use a calendar style systems to go to and or plan events or activities and work your way from event to event. As you progress and get better and better, higher classes of cars that offer more performance are offered for you to race with. Overall, the career mode was probably my favorite mode of the game and reminded me more of say Madden’s or another sports game’s career mode, as opposed to say FH4’s career progression system.
Control and Terrain
Past the various game modes, there are a couple more points to make. The first is a high point of praise. WRC 8 offers incredibly granular control of your car’s handling and setup, as well as a multitude of gameplay options to further help you the player. So if you’re an experienced racing player, then you can delve into the settings and tweak to your heart’s content. Or if you’re more casual like me when it comes to these games, you can leave the more advanced car tuning alone, and still have a good time.
Another notable point is the terrain and weather system present. There is a noticeable difference from driving on dirt to the more solid road (as there should be). There’s also a weather system, that seemed to be realistically affecting the car’s handling as well. Both of these details further enhance the depth of WRC 8’s racing experience and will need to be accounted for.
Overall, WRC 8 was a very enjoyable experience, especially after taking a step back and breaking some of my bad FH4 habits. It offers several (all fun) game modes, as well as a multitude of options and tweaks so players of all skill levels can tune the game to their liking. If you’re like me, I would recommend slowly taking away more and more driver-assist options as you progress and get better. On top of all that WRC 8 looks good, and runs great.
- THE GOOD
- Granular Customizability
- Runs Great
- Looks Good
- Dynamic Weather Adds Nice Depth
- Feature Rich Career Mode
- THE BAD
- Questionable PC UI
- May Take Some Experience Getting Used To
WRC 8 is a fantastic racing game for both casual players, and more experienced players. The career mode with all its features is a very fun mode to play through, and it offers a lot of control over how you want to play. On top of all that, the game looks good graphically, and doesn’t seem to have any technical performance issues on PC.