Our EA Sports WRC review will let you know what we thought of the latest rallying sim from masters of the genre Codemasters.
Codemasters have had a long history with rallying games, and EA Sports WRC is their latest attempt at creating the ultimate rallying simulator, a process that started in 1998 with Colin McRae Rally, charting a 25-year-long journey with many Codemasters mergers and acquisitions along the way. So, is EA Sports WRC the title that achieves that goal? Let’s find out.
Rally Round the Clock with EA Sports WRC
As you should probably expect from a rally sim, most of what you do in the game consists of rallying, also known as "racing without anyone to race against" for the uninitiated. You rally around famous courses throughout the world, either competing with your own custom-made team or even as famous drivers and in famous cars from real WRC events.
The brand license is on full display here too, so if you’ve spent almost any time watching televised WRC events, you’re likely to recognize at least some of what is going on. You also have a slew of both single-player and multiplayer modes to wrap your thumbs around.
In terms of single-player, the main draw is the career mode where you can create your own regional rallying team, with control over everything from the drivers and engineers to the specific cars you use and your logo.
This career mode is actually a pretty in-depth simulation, putting you at the helm of your team through year-long seasons. As you go, you have to manage the expectations of your benefactor, completing their objectives to improve their mood so you can get more support. Basically, you keep them happy as you perform through the seasons and grow your team.
Spoilt for Choice
You have an absolutely stunning variety of cars to choose from and courses to run, and as you go you build up your racing team to get even bigger by hiring more drivers and engineers, as well as increasing the size of your garage and your fleet of vehicles.
It’s somewhat inescapable that most of the time you’re going to be running rally after rally, so it can get a bit dry, especially if you end up needing to re-run the same course over and over again. The lack of any other game modes gives you little chance to escape of course, but what did you expect from a pure rally experience?
One great thing about the game is the inclusion of the driving school that we talked about in our preview of EA Sports WRC. This feature is something sorely missing from many advanced racing songs, and it can really help to get you started if you’re not used to rallying games.
There’s a whole bunch of both basic and advanced classes, with a big focus on mastering the different skills on the different surface types that you’ll find out in the real gameplay.
You also have a breathtaking amount of control over the difficulty of the campaign. Whether you want realistic damage physics and no retries allowed or you prefer something a bit more forgiving, it means you can be sure of an experience tailored to your needs.
More Modes and Fun Stuff
Aside from the campaign, you of course have a lot of side modes and other options to try. If you are a big real-world rally-head, then there’s the championship mode that lets you pick from different famous rally teams, leagues, and courses, without committing to a full campaign.
There’s also quick play and time trials, two modes that have been in rallying games since time immemorial, but for my money, the real fun to be had is in the Moments mode. This is a constantly updating challenge mode that gets you to perform a series of real-world impressive moments from various WRC events.
Honestly, the level of depth and complexity in the game is honestly kind of intimidating. If you actually know what you’re doing, you can even build your own vehicles from scratch. Of course, you’ll also have to earn credits and unlock improved parts by actually playing the game.
You even have the option of designing your own liveries to use on your custom-built machines, or on famous cars you know. Obviously, the editor includes the ability to paint your vehicles in specific colors. Still, the decal options are so numerous that I’m 99% sure you could make anything if you had enough time and patience on your hands.
Visually, EA Sports WRC fits the bill in terms of realism. There are fantastic weather effects, realistic particle simulations, and really well-made lighting effects. Even on more modest PC builds the game is blistering. There’s nothing quite like rocketing around a bunch of hard turns on a dusty road and seeing the huge column of smoke you’ve kicked up behind you as you fly by.
At the end of the day, EA Sports WRC is an even more niche product than many realistic driving simulators are already. If you’re really into the WRC events, teams, and courses then you’re probably going to find the definitive rallying experience where, as Codemasters have almost always promised to deliver.
There’s certainly plenty on offer here, and this is one of the most in-depth rally sims that these devs have ever managed to put out. If you’re the sort of hardcore WRC fan who watches events all year long and loves the idea of micromanaging your own rallying team, you’ve possibly found your dream game. Even for casual rally enthusiasts this game offers a fun experience, but you'll probably need to take a break from the 24-7 rally madness at some point.
EA Sports WRC was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the Developer over the course of 20 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.
- Huge variety of customization options
- Realistic driving that adapts to your needs
- Tons of real-world rally courses and teams
- So in-depth it can be a bit overwhelming