Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

[Review] WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship – Nintendo Switch

WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : Kylotonn
Published By : BigBen Interactive
Category : Racing, Simulation, Sports
Release Date : Nov 19, 2019

In all the years that I have gamed, I’ve never shied away from the fact that I am a huge racing fan. Whether it’s in games or watching it in person or on TV, I absolutely love the sport of racing. If I ever had to choose just one type of racing as my favorite though, I would be torn between two choices : Formula 1 racing for all of it’s beautiful road courses, or the complexity of rally racing, and the long standing WRC series of games is among my favorite. So when given the chance to take on WRC 8 on the Nintendo Switch, I couldn’t pass it up.

As a player, your approach to this game will vary depending on how deeply you follow the sport of rally racing. If you’re an avid fan and someone who keeps up with as many events as possible, the details included in this game just might make you extremely happy. The game comes with fifty actual rally teams, a dozen rally events and over one hundred stages of racing technicality for you to explore.

If you’re a more passive rally fan, WRC 8 might just be another racing game to you, but it’s one with a lot of depth and plenty of options to keep you busy and help you fall in love with the sport. You’ll be able to do just about anything and everything, from driving around a massive outdoor training area, to performing in single races or embarking on your own full length career.

Naturally, the career is the main pull in a game like this. Here you’ll assume full control over every aspect of your team once you sign with one. Off the track you’ll get to look around your entire teams warehouse and each department within. This is where you’ll do things like upgrade your car, your team members, assign perks that can help you either on the track or between segments. It’s also where you’ll keep up on your race calendar to sign yourself up for future events. This is done by spending the experience points you earn leveling up in races, or with the money you earn from the same.

On the track you’ll get basically the same experience whether you’re in a career, season, or a single race. You’ll get to make some minor adjustments to your car from your pre-race tent, such as changing the type of tire you have, and then you’re off to the starting area.

While other rally racing games introduce other event types, WRC typically keeps it’s focus strictly on rally events, and that is definitely the case for this eighth release. Each rally event consists of multiple stages, with each stage set on a lengthy, windy road in different locations. You’ll find yourself scraping dirt in the woods for one event, while the next could have you drifting through the streets of a city.

Each racer will take the course by themselves, at least as far as cars on the track. You won’t be fully alone as you’ll have a co-pilot riding shotgun spitting out details of the track ahead so you know how to prepare for your turns. This will include things like the direction the turn is in, a number assigned to the degree of the turn, any jumps or crests that could effect your handling, and whether or not these things chain together in a short span.

The race is broken down into a number of segments, and your goal is to set the best time through all of them. As I said, you’ll be running the course alone so your only threat will be the track itself. You’ll race across different surfaces like gravel, dirt, snow, asphalt, all offering varying levels of traction and difficulty for you to maintain a true course. WRC 8 serves you time penalties as well for different things like if you need to reset your car back on the track, or if you take off too early from the start gate.

Players looking to pick this up for a multiplayer experience may be quite disappointed, as there really isn’t one, at least not in the traditional sense. Your competition will be strictly relegated to a leaderboard and a series of weekly challenges. Compare your times to others to see how you stack up against the world of rally racers, but if you’re looking to rub fenders you won’t be able to.

For as long as I’ve been a fan of this racing series of games, and as much as I did enjoy playing this one, I have to say that the Nintendo Switch isn’t really the place for WRC 8 to land in my opinion. While it plays pretty well and the controls respond quite nicely, the games graphics are severely lacking on this console.

When driving in wet conditions, it wasn’t hard to miss the big blocks of textures that gave this game a very retro feeling, almost like I had turned the shadow quality down to low on my PC. The first time I noticed this, I was playing in handheld mode and wrote it off to that, assuming that when I docked it and played on the big TV it would improve. I was wrong. To top it all off, while messing around on the test track I managed to find a shed that didn’t have the walls coded properly, so I could drive right through them like nothing. And in the middle of the test area is a massive lake that I was able to drive around on the bottom of.

In the end, WRC 8 offers some pretty fun modes for the rally enthusiast, and mechanically plays quite well. However graphically and visually, it leaves this release feeling like more of a miss than a hit. If you can manage to not care too much about the visuals then you might enjoy this game, especially if you are a fan of the past releases in this franchise. If you want or need that extra graphical oomph then you might want to look away because this one has definitely been downgraded for the Switch.


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