World Rally Championship ReviewCain Dornan
Sonys long-standing WRC series on the Playstation 2 has managed to garner itself a strong following as it has managed to continually improve with each additional title. With the success of the series on the PS2, it was only natural or Sony to bring the series onto the Playstation Portable. Considering the number of quality racing titles already on the system and the history that the franchised had, one could have appropriately expected the series to make a pleasing conversion onto the handheld system. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
WRC is essentially WRC: Rally Evolved on a handheld system; the only difference is, Rally Evolved is a hell of a lot better. It appears that the developer believes that handheld gamers do not require the same level of polish, accuracy and enjoyment than what their console brothers do, which apparently warrants the creation of a mediocre offering. Quite simply, the game feels lifeless, with controls that are far from realistic and the modes lacking any true lifespan. It may sound harsh, but after enjoying the past two previous games in the series that were released on the PS2, WRC on the PSP is disappointing in every aspect.
The modes on offer include Quick Rally, which randomly selects a course and vehicle and Time Trial, which involves selecting your desired vehicle and course and then attempting to score the lowest time taken for the completion of the whole course. There is also Single Rally, which is essentially Quick Rally but you are able to select the difficulty, car, driver and track, with the core mode in WRC being the Championship mode, which pits you through every single authentically created track in an attempt to put your team on top.
On the multiplayer side, the complete absence of Ad-Hoc support will disappoint those who wish to race their mates who do not have a copy of the game also. If you are not hindered by this restriction, you can race with up to three friends in the wireless time trial mode. There are also three multiplayer modes that can be played on the single PSP by passing it from player to player once their turn is up. You can play single rally, time trial and championship turn-based multiplayer, which are essentially duplicates of the single player modes.
The overall feel of the game is far from satisfying. Although the accurate track and vehicle recreations that are a part of the FIA World Rally Championship does manage to add a level of authenticity to the title, the unrealistic controls prevent the player from truly immersing themselves into the game as a driver. The game tends to feel more arcadey than what its true-to-life console offerings have presented.
The presentation of WRC is a mixture of both good and bad. Solid track detail and vehicle damage combine to form a pleasing visual appeal, while the games sound department does tend to let the game down. The vehicles sound like a 2-stroke mowes and not the roaring rally cars that they are, which is far from the authentic offering that one would expect in an officially licensed game to offer.
With a series that had managed to mark itself as one of the best rally experiences available on the PS2, we are left wondering what went wrong when the famed WRC franchise made its way onto the PSP. The end result is a mediocre title that does not offer an authentic rallying experience, let alone one that can be enjoyed for any longer than ten minutes.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.