If you like racing games, you would already be familiar with EA Sports’ Dirt Rally series, which lets you enjoy off-road racing in different locales around the world. Now, with the latest launch, the publisher has rebranded this series with the name ‘EA Sports WRC’ as it now holds the necessary license to reuse the brand name that has symbolised off-road racing for decades. Truth be told, I have been more into the traditional racing games than rally racers over the years. Partly due to the unforgiving nature of these games and partly due to the fact that there are many more options in the former genre to try out. However, with the new name and official WRC content, EA Sports WRC simply looked too appealing to pass on. Before you jump into my detailed review of the game, I would like to share the disclaimer that the review code of the game was provided to me by the publisher for PS5. The game has already been released worldwide and can be bought on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows.
Table of Contents
Game modes and gameplay
EA Sports WRC doesn’t feature a plethora of game modes but considering the genre, it isn’t necessarily required either. Let’s quickly go through the game modes on offer here.
Career mode: Career mode in WRC gives you three options. You can start your career in Junior WRC and gradually progress by using Rally3 cars that are nimble and work as particularly good starting points for new drivers. You can also choose to begin your career in the WRC2 championship, which as you might have guessed, lets you drive Rally2 cars and is more competitive in general. Finally, you also get the option to directly leap into the fight for the prestigious WRC title by using the powerful Rally1 cars.
Championship: In this mode, you complete a full season in either Junior WRC, WRC2, or the WRC. You get the option to either race as your favourite driver, or use your own driver and compete with your favourite team.
Clubs: This game mode lets you compete in championships with other players at a time that suits you. Through the Racenet website, you can join the Official WRC Clubs or even set up a private group for your friends to join as well as search for other clubs to become a member. Once you set up a club, you can create a championship for all members to compete in and any club that you are enrolled in will show up in the Club Hub section.
Moments: If you’re a fan of the real-world WRC, this is the mode for you. Here you get a live updated set of challenges that allow you to replicate iconic performances from the world of rally as well as the latest highlights from the current season. Every day, a new challenge is added to the season’s list. You get an XP reward for each race on the basis of your performance. Within each moment, there are certain objectives that you need to complete to be awarded gold, silver, or bronze XP rewards.
Builder: This mode lets you build your own rally car. After selecting a drivetrain layout, you can then pick from a range of mechanical parts, different body shells and exterior/interior customisation options.
I personally liked the ‘Moments’ game mode the most. The sheer fun of recreating real-world performances and the constant drive to get the gold medal keeps you engaged. However, for a WRC fan, the game provides the perfect opportunity to live out a full season through other game modes and if you know the drivers and the teams, the authentic experience will pull you in automatically.
Coming to the gameplay, the game has a steep learning curve. The first time I started racing, despite being conservative on the speed front, I constantly lost control of the vehicle to a point where it was impossible to avoid going off track and even completely turned around. As a result, I ended up taking several penalties and came in dead last. Over time, I learned how to effectively manoeuvre the vehicles and constantly improved my race results. If you’re the sort of gamer who doesn’t like to spend hours learning how to play the game and simply want to have fun right away, this might not be the game for you.
Graphics and sound
While most of the recent games that I’ve played on PlayStation 5 recently have looked brilliant, the WRC looks like it is a step behind. While I personally didn’t face many performance issues as such, there have been many reports of other players facing stuttering and frame drops while playing the game. Graphical fidelity, despite not being the area of focus for these sorts of games, seems to have taken a backseat here and that really leaves you disappointed. Considering the off-road nature of the races, the game could have truly offered a lot more on this front.
The exact opposite of this is the sound department. The game truly shines on this front. The authentic car sounds ensure you get an immersive feel while playing the game and the difference in sounds with change in vehicles is clear as night and day. Whether it is the sound of gear shift or regular whirring, everything sounds exactly how it does in real life. I would recommend you to play this game with headphones on as that’s the perfect way to appreciate the nuances in sound offered here. The developers especially deserve appreciation in this aspect of the game.
EA Sports WRC is one of the most authentic rally racing games ever made and the officially licensed WRC content makes it an absolute must-try for the hardcore fans. The game sound makes the game-playing experience more immersive than ever. However, as the learning curve is steep and the graphics are not top-notch… if you don’t already love the world of WRC, you might find it hard to truly appreciate this game.
Editor’s rating: 7.5 / 10
- Officially licensed WRC content
- Authentic car sounds
- Wide selection of rally cars
- Steep learning curve for new players
- Graphics could have been better