Kylotonn’s latest entry into the WRC rally racing franchise has been released for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. We played the Xbox One version to see what’s new in this latest iteration.
Prior to reviewing the Xbox One version, we also met with Kylotonn back in August for a presentation of the game. We’re glad we did, because that meeting made us appreciate some of the subtle nuances that have been added that we could have otherwise initially missed. While WRC 7 is still more arcade-oriented than Dirt Rally, it has undergone some changes that make the game more realistic than it was before.
Of course, part of that realism comes from the WRC license, with all the official cars, drivers and tracks from the 2017 seasons featured in the game. That part was expected though, but the overhaul that these tracks received was a pleasant surprise. As showcased during our meeting with Kylotonn, the tracks in the game have all been meticulously recreated for the game this year. Sure, that sounds like something any publisher will say about their game every year, but for WRC 7 this means that tracks weren’t just made to look like their real life counterparts. In addition to how the tracks look, the developer also went out to measure every little bump and pothole in the road to make sure it appears in the game.
Though not exactly advertised as such, this ties into the “more demanding physics” that the game claims to have. Because of the exact replication of the stages, every little bump in the road has the potential to make you lose a little bit of control – and thus time. This makes track memorization even more crucial than before, and more realistically so – Kylotonn demonstrated this by having a real life WRC driver playtest the game, and he produced runs in-game that mimicked the real life experience (and stage times) he was already familiar with. More importantly than that though, our own personal experience was that WRC 7 does indeed feel more realistic and less forgiving than its predecessor did.
A shift towards more realism pushes WRC 7 more towards Dirt Rally, but also towards the “middle ground alternative” that is Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo leaving fans of a more arcade-like experience wanting – they’ll want to tweak the in-game settings a bit to be more forgivable. I’d say that WRC 7 beats Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo as its game though, making it the best choice currently available for someone looking for something a bit more accessible than Codemasters’ crown jewel of rally racing.
WRC 7 features split screen racing for the kind of local multiplayer excitement that rally games often lack, but my favorite feature has to be the addition of “Epic Stages”. Although that sounds like something out of a Flatout game, these are stages that are up to five times longer than a normal stage. This makes memorization extremely difficult, and you’ll also have to keep your focus for much longer. As a result, battling for a top result is less predictable and you can make up ground in some sections while gaining on others in sections that better suit you. I really enjoyed this, because falling behind on a normal stage usually meant that starting over was the best option.
Presentation-wise, the audiovisual delivery in WRC 7 is fairly similar to WRC 6 – the focus has clearly been on improving the driving experience. Kylotonn’s efforts in this area have certainly paid off, since this is by far their best entry in the series since they took over the reins with WRC 5.