Big Ben Interactive return once again with WRC 7, and while last years game wasn’t bad, Codemasters astounding lead with the Dirt franchise made it difficult to recommend.
Roll on WRC 7, with improvements across the board could this be a true contender for the Rally crown.
Starting off WRC 7, You’ll find a menu screen showcasing one of the games 2017 model cars, even through the narration you’re prompted to get excited about the new, spectacular 2017 cars.
Heading into the Career mode, you start off at the bottom in the junior ranks and after setting your name and nationality, there’s a choice of 3 teams looking for a new junior driver.
You’ll start off with a pretty basic Ford Focus before working your way through to unlock faster and more powerful cars, Some of these earlier cars feel unnecessarily difficult to get to grips with, while starting a quick race on a 2017 WRC model is much more inviting.
It’s a little confusing that gamers are expected to endure these early stages without a hint at what’s to come, but the double edge sword is just around the corner.
While you’ll probably crash more than a few times early on, you’ll notice your car can take a lot of punishment, the damage model is extremely forgiving which means hitting that rock at 70mph isn’t going to have that much of an impact on your performance, It’s nice to keep people on the road, however it also takes a little too much from the realism, take for instance Dirt 4, and the handling felt instantly accessible, although one lousy mistake would literally end your race.
WRC 7’s more arcade stance certainly isn’t as harsh, but it feels more of a necessary balance rather than an integral part of the game. It’s certainly a vast improvement over recent years and many will love the arcade system, but it’s not going to please the purists.
Thankfully there’s quite a lot of events to work through and progression feels balanced and fair without making life intentionally hard, while the arcade approach might make it sound a little easy, but thankfully there’s a nice balanced challenge throughout.
Graphically WRC 7 quite simply isn’t up to the standards of Dirt 4, Cars have their usual amount of shine, but the environments, surrounding spectators and tracks just don’t reach the same level of detail,
Overall presentation is on the same level, with narration far less enthusiastic, co-drivers sounding scripted and the whole race-time feeling just not offering the same sense of anticipation than that of Codemaster’s recent titles.
It’s difficult to judge WRC 7 when it’s main competitor is still half a lap in front, but to be fair, WRC is still a very competent game, It’s fun, challenging and looks decent enough, but the identity crisis between offering an arcade experience and still remaining realistic just seems to leave WRC 7 a little off the pace.
Some sections of the audio are second to none, take for instance the car sounds and the atmospherics for many courses and I’d even go as far as saying they’re some of the best available, but beside the monotone co-driver, and mediocre menu’s it just doesn’t feel as impressive.
Like many areas of WRC 7, there’s been some improvements, however other areas are still lagging behind, it provides a fun and accessible game, while somehow managing to feel bland and uneven.