Rally Cross fans looking for a dedicated videogame adaptation of their favourite sport have been eagerly
awaiting a true return of the WRC franchise that the now famed developer, Evolution Studios – best known for its PS3 exclusive franchise, MotorStorm – started way back in late November of 2001.
While Milestone is a highly regarded developer in the genre, and recently pleased motocross fans with its MUD – FIM Motocross World Championship – its past two WRC titles failed to stay on the track. With a brand new game engine and a whole lot of promise – does WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship finally deliver the authentic experience that fans can drift into?
36 Cars, 54 Teams, 13 Locations, 78 Stages and an additional five Special Stages – there’s most definitely enough authentic content here to get hardcore fans’ riled up over. Do you want to take the current top performers in the sport, like Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen, through a full championship in virtual replicas of their cars? Of course you can. If you’ve got a few mates over and want to find out who’s the best of the best – look no further than the local Hot Seat mode, and if it’s taking your drifting skills online that you’re looking for, you will find a competent online offering that brings back the clever ghosting mechanics found within the recent MUD release awaits your arrival – keeping the online action’s intensity peaked at all times.
In the opening cinematic, the female narrator poses a question: “What makes a driver a champion? Determination…speed….courage?” Her answer to this question is as follows, “there’s only one thing that can make a difference: control.” It’s a bold narrative to open a game that relies on just that, control, to be a success. Yet, it is in just this aspect where WRC 3’s struggles are found. With the default settings there’s barely a difference to be found when driving on the numerous loose or slippery surfaces in the game: gravel, sand, mud, snow and ice. The only time you’ll truly feel a major difference in grip with these settings is when transitioning to/from asphalt onto one of these surfaces.
There are only two assists available (braking and stability) in-game and neither of them can be adjusted to preference. The stability assist is not a traction control either; it’s actually a steering assist that all but drives your car for you in the corners. When you’re hand braking into a left hairpin turn in cockpit view and find your driver’s hands turning the wheel to the right, it creates a disconnection between you and the game. While this might not be an issue for casual racers, the same cannot be said for the more serious drivers.