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WRC 8 – First Play Review and Impressions

WRC 8 is set to be launched in just a few days’ time, but here at Addicted to Play, we’ve managed to get our hands on a copy of the game before it’s available to the general public. We’ve spent the last few days playing the game, and we have to admit that WRC 8 is easily a step ahead of its predecessor Things have changed so much that the first-run “training” race isn’t only necessary to help recommend difficulty settings but to give you a firm understanding of the game’s new dynamics, physics, and graphics.

It wasn’t long ago that developers promised us an all-new career mode, improved graphics, updated physics, and an all-around better game. Did they deliver? We think so, and this is our first impression after spending a few hours behind the wheel of WRC 8.

WRC 8 Physics and Driving

As you can see from the video, our driving skills aren’t all that great. Well, the truth is, they actually are – if we’re playing Need for Speed, Gran Turismo, or Forza Horizon 4. But, in WRC 8, we’re like amateurs all over again, and that’s a good thing. See, the developers put so much work into making WRC 8 realistic that the driving dynamics and overall physics are superb. If you hit the brakes too hard on gravel, you will slide. If the front wheels lock up, you can’t turn. Hitting the handbrake too early or late will undoubtedly land you on the worst side of a ditch.

We weren’t a big fan of the views available. The in-cockpit view was amazing, but the third person view seemed a little close, even when the camera backed away a bit. It feels like it’s meant to be this way for a bit of extra realism, but if you’re someone like likes your camera distanced a bit from the car, it’ll take you a few runs to get used to. But, the same can also be said for driving the cars in general. While events that could damage your vehicle seem rather forgiving – we bounce off of a few trees and guardrails without having to end the race – controlling the vehicle is not. Before your first race in career mode, you’re given two different training sessions and we recommend that you take advantage of both of them until you get a firm grip on car handling or you don’t stand a chance in the first few events.

WRC 8 Career Mode – is It Better Than Before?

Career mode in WRC 8 is, well, intense. Not in an action type of way, though. No; it’s intense in a way that there’s a lot to do and a lot to learn. There’s a whole team management aspect to it that allows you to hire and fire different team members – engineers, drivers, etc – and there’s a research and development section that helps you “train” and “improve your vehicle.” This isn’t the same type of tuning or upgrading you might be used to in games like Gran Turismo and Forza, though, as this is more of a points-based, upgrade system that only allows you to upgrade as you level up and progress through career mode.

Part of the career mode also allows you to get in good with other manufacturers… or bad. Throughout the calendar of events, there are various days in which you can compete in events that allow you to earn or lose interest in not only your own sponsor but others. Speak of which, performing poorly in career events will also lead to a drop in team moral and a drop in your own sponsors interest too, so as you can see, there’s a lot going on. The thing about career mode, however, is that there’s no going back once you’ve played an event. Once you’ve raced the event, that’s it. There are no second chances.

All of this could also be a big flaw in the game, at least to those that aren’t into in-depth career and team management. If you like to control all aspects of the game, including your own individual career, then WRC 8 will not disappoint – it is a true simulator that regard as well. However, if you’re someone that likes to race more than anything then career mode may end up being more a nuisance than anything.

Getting Used to WRC 8 – How to Succeed Early in Your Career

If you want to succeed in your career early on, there’s no substitute for practice. I can’t emphasize this enough – the driving dynamics and physics are different from any other racining simulator on the market today. Of course, if you’re not intro rally, it’s important to know that you’ll need even more practice because the level of realism is so high that you really can tell the difference between driving on road and off. Even the sounds of the tires against different road surfaces is accurate, and that’s a huge plus.

But, we digress. The point is that you’ll need to take advantage of both training sessions before your first event, and you should spend a lot of time on the test track option that’s available once you get into career mode. You’ll want to spend at least a couple of hours here, getting a good feel for the car, how it steers, how it brakes, and how it accelerates on different surfaces – the car really does handle differently on different surfaces too.

For now, that’s all we’ve got, but we haven’t been able to log that much time with WRC 8 yet. Look forward to a long-term review and even more video in the coming weeks. WRC 8 launches on the PC via the Epic Games Store and on European consoles on September 5th. It will hit North American consoles less than a week later on September 10th.

WRC 8 Screenshot Gallery

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