VIDEO: First 'proper' rally game this gen in action

Like many rally fans, Milestone didn't appreciate the fact that Colin McRae Rally turned into DiRT and left a gaping hole in the genre for years. Traditional point to point racing through timed stages with no other cars on the track is something you just don't see as the meat of a game any more. So they made a proper rally game – and it's playing very nicely.

The studio is known for creating the SBK motorbike games, and while they've had a couple of stabs at the four-wheeled genre before, it looks like this time they're going to get the handling bang on the money. The cars in WRC feel weighty and react differently to every type of road surface.

It's not just press release bullet points, either – watch in the video as I start a turn on wet tarmac and find there's more grip than I was expecting and nearly collect a road sign in the process.

Apart from my own misjudgement, the car handled brilliantly, slewing around under heavy braking on the mud and generally being a bundle of fun.

The game will feature four classes of car (WRC, S-WRC, P-WRC and J-WRC) and plenty of authentic-looking stages. Sadly, the tracks in the game are not identical to the real-world stages of the WRC as they were too long, but the reduced-length stages are certainly long and challenging enough.

The car has 32 damage points (not that I needed them hehehe), and you're given limited time at the end of each stage to fix the most pressing issues. Damage is linked, so if your radiator is broken and you don't fix it completely, you can expect your engine to go further down the line.

Above: The car moves serenely over the snow... not so serenely into a tree

The game is already fun to play with a pad – it should be awesome with a steering wheel. I played it with the assists switched off and manual gears on, which is where the sense of reward comes in. I didn't care that the yet-to-be-balanced difficulty level put me last. I got to the end in one piece and that was rewarding enough in itself. Especially as the dev put it in the wall on the third corner.

In many ways, WRC is a retro racer. Games like this died out in the mid-noughties so it feels a lot like you're playing a PS2 game, but I mean that in the best possible way. If all the comments on DiRT 2 articles are anything to go by, there's still a big market for a 'proper' rally game. On my brief playtest, I don't think that any of those people are going to be disappointed.

31 Aug, 2010


  • blocpartier - September 2, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    Loved DiRT2, been watching WRC for a long time now, and I'd be satisfied with DiRT3 as much as I love European rally over American rallies. This video is making me want to dig out of my closet my WRC game for my PS2. But in all seriousness, attending an actually rally event, as did I with Rally America (yes, I got my picture with Block, saw Pastrana and Mirra) on the Olympus leg earlier this year, requires that you be a hardcore fan and gearhead. It takes a lot of driving to get to the spectator points.
  • reverandglass - August 31, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    I love point to point rally so much I still play the original Colin McRae for PS1. Hope this live up to expectations!
  • SpNerd - August 31, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    Way more excited for DIRT 3
  • wrapdump - August 31, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    Looking forward to this, however I'm not sold on the wheel. Got one for Forza 3, and without the sensory feedback of actually being in a car, I find using a wheel quite odd.
  • Bawheidbob - August 31, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    Sounds great it is about time 'Rally' games went back to being about 'Rallying' V-Rally and the original Colin were great and although Dirt2 was decent it was not what i wanted. This is where a case of going backwards is forwards :)
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - August 31, 2010 4:50 p.m.

    I have to say, I like the direciton Dirt and Dirt 2 took. I'm not a fan of the whole X-Games garbage in there cluttering up the interface, but I like the variety of rally races in the Dirt franchise. The monotony of just doing timed races without others cars can get a bit old these days, I feel.
  • flabslapper - August 31, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    man I haven't played a rally game since Top Gear Rally on the N64...I'd love to play a new one that played like the old ones
  • Ninjadmin - August 31, 2010 2:56 p.m.

    Aw man! I cant WAIT for this!!! :D Cant believe its taken an entire console generations worth of time for a proper rally game to get released on the current batch of consoles. But the wait has made me soooo excited for one. Day 1 this.
  • JohnnyMaverik - August 31, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    Also that might have just been the track you were playing, the snow screen above looks spot on, although also from a flattering perspective so who knows....
  • JohnnyMaverik - August 31, 2010 2:38 p.m.

    Graphically it looks a little disappointing, not much detail, foliage looks a little blocky, the limited draw distance makes sense but at the same time looked a little too limited, it actually looks like a ps2 game with high poly models and higher res txtures in a way. Handling does look great though and the rest is ok, so it got the important bit right.
  • sixboxes - August 31, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    Holy crap. That looks stupid-good. There was a stretch of that vid where all I did was stare at the reflection of the trees on the hood of the car. The attention to detail is a bit obscene. That said, the likes of DiRT and DiRT 2 are more up my alley anyway, because I'm not a real serious racing game fan (read: I'm a bit shit at racing games). Hah.

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