Racing games are like my guilty pleasure when it comes to video games. When I have some down time at night, I might pop on a Forza series game and get lost for a few hours. I have never gotten the opportunity to jump into one of the hit rally racing WRC games. Nowadays with racing games, the developer will focus on flashy visuals and eccentric car customization. Games that don’t have these aspects are typically labeled as, ‘bad racing games.’ These games typically lose out in the actual technical driving aspect of the title. WRC 7 does the opposite of this formula and still comes out as an enjoyable, yet challenging rally racing game.
I was playing this title on PC, so I was able to crank the graphics up to ultra to witness the true beauty of the tracks. WRC7 features 13 rally racing tracks and 55 licensed rally racing vehicles. Being groomed by racing games with high customization, I was slightly disappointed to find out that you couldn’t really customize the rally cars themselves. Hell, you couldn’t really customize anything for that matter. After playing for some time I realized that none of that mattered with this style of racing game. Each of the 55 cars are faithfully programmed to match their real life counterparts, tuned perfectly for rally racing. Since the game isn’t about visuals, I couldn’t see any reason to have customization options in the game.
The meat of the game lays in the career mode. You make a driver and you have to pick from a few different contracts to start your career in the league. You then compete in a series of rally races to make your way to the top, and eventually compete and win the singles championship. I can tell you right now that I was not able to get that far. As a newcomer to this style of racing, I was met with a handful of difficulties. Now, before you go assuming things, that is not necessarily a bad thing. I was able to learn things about rally racing before the end of my time with this title. Rally tracks are long, winding, unforgiving roads with dangerous conditions at every turn. You have a teammate in your ear the entire time letting you know what is coming up on the track next. I was 100% lost when this started happening. By the fourth or fifth race, I understood what the man in my ear was saying and used what he said to formulate my racing strategy.
You are racing up against the clock on the tracks. If you crash your car or drive it off of the road, you will be reset and will take a pretty harsh time penalty. The tracks you race on are beautiful on ultra settings. Like I said earlier, there are 13 tracks to race on, each one can have different conditions. You can race during the day or at night, in snow or in the rain, or you can race with clear skies. All of these different things matter, especially driving in the night, that was extremely challenging. There were some graphical issues that I noticed with the tracks/levels themselves. The audience on the side of the road looked like audience members out of a 2006 wrestling game. Their faces had little to no detail to them, but then again, that isn’t where the focus of the game is. The locations were portrayed beautifully, aside from some small graphical hiccups in the form of some invisible walls I ran into outside of the tracks.
Crashing your car was visually appealing at some times, and others it wasn’t what I thought it should’ve been. It took a couple times to have parts fall off of your car. It felt you like you really needed to try to dismantle your car through crashing. Depending on how well you did in your races effected your teams’ morale. This would dictate how well your team would repair your vehicle between races. I also noticed a few funny glitches in the game that happened once or twice. While driving off road at a high speed, I would hit a small rock and was able to launch my car into the air, something I don’t think was supposed to happen.
As a newcomer to the rally racing scene, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with WRC7. Though I don’t think that this is the best entry to hop into if you’ve never done this before, I did enjoy it. The cars are faithfully represented to their real life counter parts. The driving is tight and gives you the real rally racing experience. The locations in the game are crafted very well, with some hiccups here and there. Racing in WRC7 really makes you pay attention to the small technical aspects of rally racing. The lack of a tutorial in the beginning left me a little clueless when it came to racing in events. There is no customization, which to me is a double edged sword, where I understand why it isn’t in the game, someone else might complain about this. I suggest this to anyone that loves racing games and wants to branch out to other aspects of the sport.
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Review statement: The copy of this game was supplied by the developer for the sake of this review.