It’s been a while since I posted my First Impressions article about this game. The reason: I was waiting for a patch to fix some of the audio and graphics issues I had with the game. I was hopeful. I was naive. I am, alas, disappointed.
The main problem is that I really want to like this game: I am a motorsports fan. I know about cars. I watched and re-watched all of the episodes of Top Gear (UK only, thanks). I love driving. I love engines. I love rally, and rally games.
So, in theory, this game was tailor-made for me. The reality, however, is that it was made by a tailor who was half blind.
Let’s start with the good: the mechanics are spot on. If you’re a rally game fan, you can feel the heritage of games like Colin McRae Rally and even Sega Rally in WRC 5. You can change the realism if you want something a bit more “sim-like”, but if you want arcade rally gaming, it’s here in all its glory.
The “rally simulation” setting adds a lot of realism, but takes away the fun. Instead of easily oversteering, you need to steer with your throttle on most cars. Oversteer is everywhere.
If you play with arcade settings, though, it’s glorious oversteer, specially lift-off oversteer and four-wheel drifting.
Another good thing is the amount of content: I don’t mind that it doesn’t really have multiplayer (other than “ghost mode”). Rally games (and real-life rally) are solo experiences by nature. If you’re expecting something like Need for Speed or Grand Theft Auto, even, you’re out of luck. The solo modes, though, are fantastic: the career mode specially, as it has a plethora of tracks from all over the world, including some that are out of commission.
But this is where it all starts to come undone.
Even though there are tons of tracks, the graphical sacrifices made to port the game to the Vita mean that all tracks look the same: drab. There are also no particle effects, so whether you’re on tarmac or gravel, the only difference is in the behavior of the car, and the color of the road.
Car models are beautiful, and I think that’s where they got it wrong. They should have used less polygons on the car, and more on the track. At the very least give me some dust! Some snow! Some mud!
At least it sounds great, right? Well, no.
There’s no music, but I didn’t really notice that until I read people complaining about it. I guess it’s because I prefer to listen to engine sounds, so usually in rally games I mute the music anyway. But the thing is, even though there’s no music, you still can’t hear the engine.
All you can hear is the crackle of the exhaust, and even that sounds tinny.
There are other nuances in the game that could have helped set it apart. It could have been a great game.
Sadly, WRC 5 was made by a team who really understood the physics of a rally game (and a rally car), but not really the visual and aural appeal of the sport.
This means that WRC 5 is the game that could have been great, but is just good. And that’s not good enough for me.
At A Glance
- Title: WRC 5
- Publisher: BigBen Interactive
- Developer: BigBen Interactive
- Format: Physical / PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N/A
- Cross Play: N/A
- Cross Save: N/A
- Memory Card Space Needed: 2.9Gb
(Note: Here’s where the official screenshots would have gone, but none have been uploaded to the Playstation Store Page of the Vita version of the game).