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Friday, 21 October 2016 08:25

Game Review: WRC 6

By

You don’t play a World Rally Championship game to relax. This iteration of the officially sanctioned WRC video game is a white-knuckle concentration fest that will test your mettle and water your eyes. Sounds like fun, hey?

Once loaded, WR6 drops you straight into the action behind the wheel of a VW Polo R taking on a stage of the Italia Sardegna rally. Surviving that, it is onto the Wedding Bells stage of the Australian Rally.

After crossing the finish line the game will evaluate your performance, and — ahem — suggest game settings appropriate to the level of skill shown. However, WRC 6 is not too strict, it will pop up a question asking if you are looking for some serious simulation action, or you are just here to have some fun.

Either way, there are plenty of tweaks that can be made to difficulty settings before heading out for the first rally stage.

Rally driving is more than just going fast; this is not circuit racing so throttle management and car alignment are the elements to get right if the fastest time is to be recorded.

The major way a driver can get this right is by having an affinity with the co-driver. WRC 6 offers a bunch of options as to how the information about the corners, bumps, driving lines and road conditions ahead will be presented.

Basically the timing and pace-note detail of events coming your way can be adjusted to suit the relationship between viewing the road ahead and adjusting the car's speed and positioning accordingly.

This is a full spectrum representation of both the WRC and WRC Junior championships. All 14 World Rallies are available, with some stages exceeding 10K in length, or special Rally Cross stages are available during career or one-off modes.

The game offers a great deal of variety. It allows you to take any role in any team: Citroën , Hyundai, Ford, Mini or VW. You can play multiplayer offline or online, or as a split screen on-the-couch, or up to eight players taking turns on a stage in hot-seat multiplayer.

Graphically, WRC 6 is not the most spectacular driving game on the market, there is plenty to look at, with static road-side obstacles dominating the tight tracks, and dust-devils at times obscuring the road ahead.

Generally, however the presentation is slightly bland and inert, none of which matters as you concentrate on in-cabin instructions, and getting a Scandinavian-flick timed correctly for the next Right 3.

Your beautiful rally car will take a beating, it will at least get dusty, but damage will also affect performance in many ways, from aerodynamics being affected by body deformation through to complete car failure, or a time-consuming roll.

Water fords, snow, gravel, mud and tarmac all play a part, with satisfying accompanying audio adding to the experience.

There are also a variety of camera positions available, though the in-cockpit view is only for those of strong heart, as it is difficult to maintain an eye on the road with the view locked through the windscreen as you counter-steer through the next bend.

The core of WRC 6 is the career modes, a chance to race through the rallies of Portugal, Poland, Finland, Germany, France (Corsica), Australia, Sweden, Argentina, China, Wales, Monte Carlo, Mexico, Italy and Spain. Or any combination of these, in varying weather, and at night, dusk or day.

Between stage days, each team will have limited time to make repairs, or adjust suspension, transmission, tyres and brakes in quite extensive ways.

A good performance by you and your co-driver will raise team morale, meaning their repairs will be far more efficient and enable your team to climb even higher in the ranks during subsequent stages.

This is a great presentation of rallying; WRC 6 is a step up from previous iterations. It takes itself both seriously, and certainly, at times, not so much, which is fabulous.

The heart rate will rise, the blood will drain from the knuckles and the swearing may happen as you fluff a crucial square bend onto tarmac, though that is preferred to a fall off the wrong side of a Finnish mountain. That would add a significant time penalty.

WRC 6 is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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