WRC 9 REVIEW: 2020’s most immersive, challenging and rewarding motorsports game

Choosing which category of motorsport is the most difficult is similar to picking which football league is the hardest in Europe. Because the drivers of different series rarely cross paths, there’s no definitive answer.

A strong contender for the most challenging motorsport though, has to be WRC. Rallying takes place across the world on a variety of surfaces in some of the worst weather conditions imaginable.

We were huge fans of WRC 8, but can this year’s game top 2019’s iteration?

The Complete Career Mode

Career Mode is the bread and butter of any motorsports game, the quality of the single player experience is what sells copies.

WRC 9 has arguably the best Career Mode of any racing game on the market, it’s a shining example of what can and should be done.

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship Car Selection
MAKE YOUR CHOICE: You get to choose which WRC 3 or Junior team you’ll begin your journey with

You begin your journey in either Junior WRC or WRC 3 and work your way up to the top echelon of rallying, the World Rally Championship (WRC).

Which team you initially opt for has an impact on your fortunes, as the faster cars are often more unreliable. You’ll have to choose what you value most, speed or consistency.

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There’s much more to the Career than driving, the level of depth and detail on offer rivals F1 2020’s My Team mode.

You choose the staff you employ and manage your budget, not unlike MotoGP 20’s Career. You’ll also have to carry out tutorials and training, which not only improve your cash flow, but also help to perfect your skills.

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship RD
EVOLUTION: Research & development plays a big role in your success in WRC 9

There’s also a huge R&D tree on offer as well, even in the junior categories when you start off.

The ultimate goal is to, of course, become WRC champion. It’s a long road to get there, but one that’s well-worth the journey.

Realistic Gameplay

Rallying is brutal, it doesn’t take any prisoners.

Unlike circuit racing, rallying takes place in almost all weather conditions. Rain or shine, snow or searing heat, it doesn’t matter, you’ll be heading out to those stages.

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship Extreme Weather Safari Kenya
THROWN IN THE DEEP END: You’ll experience the full force of the weather system from the start

There’s no such thing as an easy rally stage, even in “perfect” weather conditions. Dust hangs in the air and limits your vision on gravel, sheer drops loom at the side of the track, it’s very far from easy.

WRC 9 is at its best when the conditions challenge you the most and you’re relying on instinct and faith to make it to the end in good time.

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It’s a tough game, even for experienced players, but Kylotonn have done a fine job to make it accessible to new players where possible.

One of the first tutorials you’re tasked with is to drive at night, in the rain on a gravel stage in a heavily damaged car and it’s absolutely glorious. It’s also terrifying, but it gives you an idea of what to expect.

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The cars look, feel and sound exactly as they should do, the graphics and sound are top-notch. The menus are a dream to navigate as well, you won’t encounter many issues in this department.

Any problems?

The issues in WRC 9 are few and far between, but they have to be addressed.

Some of the complaints players had last year have been addressed too. The issue of being unable to change the difficulty during a Career has been corrected, for example.

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However, you still can’t change the difficulty mid-event, something that will put off new players trying to find what setting to use. No option for a racing line is also a turn-off for those new to the series.

The semi-automatic gearbox’s late up-shifting has also been improved. Although it’s still not a true automatic, which hurts pad players and the inexperienced racer.

Strength in Depth

Despite the alterations to 2020’s calendar, there is the full original 2020 schedule on offer in WRC 9. WRC 9’s new Clubs System has also paved the way for an official WRC esports series as well.

In Multiplayer, you’ll be able to compete with your friends across a series of rallies that’s as long as the 2020 season!

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship Legends Cars
GOLDEN OLDIES: You’ll have a lot of fun throwing these classics around the stages

There’s a lot of cars to choose from, as WRC, WRC 2, WRC 3 and Junior WRC are all available, but also classic cars too. These “Legends” cars are some of the best throughout the series’ history and are a unique challenge to drive.

Finally, the tutorials aren’t just limited to the Career Mode. You can choose to take on challenges outside of single player and there’s a lot on offer to improve your racecraft in the car.

The Verdict

WRC 9 is extremely impressive, it’s a real contender for this year’s racing Game of the Year. There aren’t many faults with this game at all, it’s the best rally game we’ve had in years.

The only downside is the game’s accessibility, but this is down to the nature of the sport, there’s not much that Kylotonn can do about that.

With the potential for this game to come out on the next generation of consoles later in the year, the sky’s the limit for WRC 9!

RealSport Rating: 4.5 Stars (out of 5)

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