As far as rally games go, last year’s WRC 9 was up there with the best of them.
It should come as no surprise, then, that this year’s follow up, WRC 10, is also rather good. Much of it will be familiar to those who have played any of Kylotonn’s recent rally efforts, but there are small improvements across the board when it comes to aspects such as visuals and handling, and there are some meaningful content upgrades, too. It’s just a shame there are a few issues that stop it from achieving greatness.
While WRC 9 did find its way onto PS5 and Xbox Series X, WRC 10 feels like the first entry in the series to truly make use of their power. Trackside detail has been improved rather dramatically in some places, making your time spent speeding around the game’s stages even more scenic. Not that you’ll get to admire it, though; take your eyes off what’s in front of you for a fraction of a second and you might find yourself in a ditch. Or worse. There are multiple performance settings, too, allowing you to play while targeting 30, 60, or 120 frames per second.
It’s just a shame that performance isn’t rock solid. We spent most of our time playing on the balanced setting, and while it was rare during normal gameplay, some screen tearing did occur. It’s by far at its worst when you jump into WRC 10‘s new Anniversary Mode, which presents a range of events inspired by the sport’s history. With the stages tweaked to capture the feel of yesteryear, it’s perhaps the sheer number of spectators stood dangerously around the track that causes the framerate to fluctuate that bit more than normal.
Still, Anniversary Mode is a welcome addition to the game, offering something a little different for those who want to test their skills and soak in some of the history of the sport. Initially only one event is available, but by completing that you’ll unlock the next, and so on and so on. The events are available in career mode, too, selectable as activities sandwiched in between rallies. In fact, completing all of the Anniversary Mode events unlocks the option to create and run your own private team, giving you more managerial tasks. But it’s unfortunate that some players might perhaps never unlock the option – the objectives times in the Anniversary Events can be pretty stringent.
The retro rallies found in Anniversary Mode can also be enjoyed in quickplay, and of course, WRC 10 features multiple new rallies for the 2021 season. Estonia, Croatia and Spain are included in the game at launch, while Belgium and Greece will be added for free via an update in the future, alongside additional cars, anniversary events and feature updates. So, while WRC 10 is already packed with features and content, you can look forward to more being added to keep it feeling fresh.
Aside from the unlockable private team option, career mode is otherwise largely unchanged in WRC 10. You can now take part in Shakedowns and there’s a new livery editor that allows you to make your car more your own, but if you’ve played a WRC game in the last few years, you won’t really find anything out of the ordinary. Is it much of a problem? Not really. Career mode still remains a highlight thanks to its raft of options. It’s up to you whether you just focus on racing or get more involved in your team’s workings off the track. And thanks to a range of assists and a difficulty slider, you can find a level of challenge that suits you.
What WRC 10 still doesn’t have, however, is a rewind feature. The ability to quickly rewind after making a mistake has become somewhat a norm in racing games, and here it’s absence is particularly felt. Some of WRC 10‘s stages are punishing, and to get the podium you often need to push your car to the limit. Needless to say, coming a cropper five minutes into what has been a perfect race can be infuriating. It’s particularly troublesome when taking on the game’s epic stages, which are two to three times longer than a standard special stage. Just one lapse of judgment or concentration, and your efforts may have all been for naught. A simple rewind function would solve that.
Those looking to pick WRC 10 up on PS5 will be happy to hear that its DualSense support is second to none in the racing genre. You can feel when your car has taken a battering in the adaptive triggers, while the brake will always offer some nice resistance. There’s great use of both haptic feedback and speakers, too, drawing you into the action. It’s a true next-gen advantage in our book, making your time with the game that bit more immersive. So, if you own multiple formats that WRC 10 is available on, bear it in mind.
Bringing back all of the modes from last year’s WRC 9, including the unique co-driver mode, while adding a new Anniversary Mode and some welcome new features, WRC 10 is the biggest entry in the series yet. It can be punishing at times, perhaps overly so, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the game’s authenticity. Racing through stages is always exhilarating, thanks largely to the impressive visuals and reliable physics model. And whether you want to sink your teeth into a meaty career or dive in for a quick challenge, there’s a mode for you. There’s still a little room for improvement, but WRC 10 is undoubtedly the best rally game you can buy right now.
WRC 10 Review: GameSpew’s Score