WRC 8... Reviewed!

Time to hit the old dusty, windy, muddy, rocky, and snowy trail in... WRC 8! 
Shout out to Bigben Interactive S.A. for sending over a copy for this review!

This is definitely a game for racing fans who have a soft spot for realistic rally racing. WRC 8 is the official SIM representing the World Rally Championship.

The physics in this release are running on the newest version of the KT Engine, which they also developed with the help of WRC drivers and engineers to take the realism to the next level.

According to the developers, this has resulted in more precise turbos, mass transfer, tire types, realistic wear and tear management, limited-slip differentials, etc.

This may be a shrug to those who aren't familiar with this stuff, but I'll give you an example of one of these features and why it's beneficial:

Limited-Slip Differential is something in the vehicle that allows two output shafts to spin at different speeds, but... only allows a certain max when it comes to different speeds. This helps when a tire loses traction by shifting power to the ones with traction. Limited-slip helps that tire by activating the break... and normally if you're driving on a street the road won't leave a tire without traction, but think about driving off-road and a tire isn't in contact with anything. The limited-slip differential kicks in to compensate for the off-road action, but it also works on the road and spares unnecessary wear to your tires. Speaking of tires, I think I have to get some soon (in real life).

I'm still getting adjusted to the handling of my car, but... I've gotten better. It was frustrating at times, but like any game... being the best you can be is part of the challenge... so you have to improve.

That said... I went from the bottom rank to the top after multiple retries on a Rally Sweden track, which brought me up to 9th in the overall Championship standings. It's not exactly number 1, but that's fine because it adds more motivation to go hard (that's where the fun comes in for me and knowing that I crossed the finish line at a lower time). It's literally me vs the clock. The tracks will definitely challenge you, so you will have to take care to watch where you drive + turn + jump + accelerate + more.

If at first you don't succeed, try try again! Make sure to hit the test area... because you're honing your skills for the real (err digital) thing.

In WRC 8, you get the Career Mode which has a lot to it... and further immerses you in the racing SIM.

There are people who may look at the UI of this career mode and think its a little too complicated, but there's no need to feel overwhelmed. You're shown what is what in the beginning, and its helpful for your overall race preparation.

Here is one of the options in the UI: R&D gives you the option to select a number of upgrades when it comes to your Team, Performance, Crew, and Reliability.

Team upgrades are things like "Backup"... which increases the size of the reserve (team); "Famous"... which increases your reputation among other manufacturers, etc.

Crew upgrades are things like "Engineer"... which unlocks the Engineer, and increases experience gained (OPT) and boosts the chances of getting perks as regards (PER); "Financial Director" which unlocks the Financial Director... and reduces costs (SAV) + increases the money earned during events (MON).

Reliability upgrades are things like "Armour"... which increases the bodywork's absorption capacity, all impact damage to aerodynamic parts are reduced. This affects the front bumper, rear bumper, and the spoiler; "Tyre wear hard" which provides better weight and differential distribution to reduce war on hard asphalt and hard gravel tires.

Performance upgrades are things like "Water puddles"... which reduces the deviation effect of water puddles on the direction of the car; "Low-end torque"... which provides new engine mapping that increases torque at low revs.

These are only 8 out of 73 options to unlock in the R&D, so you have plenty of options to unlock.

Visually the game looks really good, definitely leaps and bounds from its low polygon days on the PS2 (some of you weren't even born yet... which is mind blowing)... but that's where the rubber met the gravel. The cars look sweet, along with believable environments... and when you factor in the physics... it feels a bit more believable than other rally games I've played (recently).

The track models are some of the best I've played in awhile, and the beautiful environments make me just want to roam off the beaten path at times (I've tried, but it sends me right back to the track). 

You've also go the different weather conditions like snow storms, rain, realistic weather, night, etc. So even if you've played a track in the day... it can easily have a different look and feel based on the time of day or with different weather conditions. I made a gif just to give you an idea of the visuals, even if it doesn't give them 100% justice. 

The visuals are a joy to take in while taking on the tracks, but don't just look at the weather as something for show.

WRC 8 is packed with plenty of replay value and it's not all locked in the career mode, but that mode also has a lot to offer as you roll deeper into your career as a rally racer. The upgrades in the R&D kept me coming back for more because I wanted to unlock more useful features to boost my performance... along with the objectives. Objectives are presented throughout the season allowing you to receive XP + Money + More... once achieved. I will get back to "Achievements" in a sec.

By the way, check out your DriverCard to select/change your Nationality & Nickname + Badges that you can select based on what you've accomplished + Stats that show you your overall performance from start to finish.

I think the Stats are even sweeter for the serious eSports racers because it shows you what you need to work on and how you measure up. It shows you the number of cars you've totaled at what time of day, the number of collisions, punctures, skids, and a lot more. I don't know how much this would really matter to the average gamer, but it's a great addition for fans of rally racing + eAthletes.

I still have yet to access the (Weekly) Challenges because... it's not giving me access to that feature. It keeps saying "Connection Error" at the time of this review.

Other forms of replay value include the following:

Quick Play: Take on any stage in any car in... any weather.

Test Area: Drive freely to improve your driving skills and adjust your car's set-up in real-time. Take advantage of this.

Season: In season mode... you can take part in rallies without crew management (if you'd prefer to just not deal with that sort of stuff.

Training: Perform training exercises on a closed track.

The above modes are solo... but you also get to take on others in Competition modes like:

Online (duh of the day): Allows you to create a quick game or join a lobby to compete against the best WRC 8 players.

Weekly challenges: Allows you to compete against other WRC 8 players each week in a new challenge and earn points... based on your leaderboard position.

eSports WRC: Achieve the best possible time in several stages and earn new badges in eSports mode. It would be cool if they actually gave online props and/or rewards to those who pull ahead of the competition in perform.

Split screen: Play on the same screen with a friend.

Leaderboards: Self-explanatory, but... you will show up on the leaderboards if you perform well enough. 

50 teams, 14 rallies, 100+ special stages from the 2019 season and yeah... looks like replay value is covered nicely.

(Now back to those achievements) WRC 8's PC version is available on the Epic Games Store... exclusively for a year, and then it will be followed up by the September 2020 release on Steam. So play it based on which platform you'd like to have the game on. If you just want to game... Epic Games Store is stable, but I know some of you prefer to have all your PC games on Steam so that you can continue to build your achievements. Regardless of the platform... I hope that they're cross-platform playable.

WRC 8 is available for $49.99 for the standard version and $60 for the Deluxe Edition. $60 tends to be the standard, so I won't argue with that... I give a thumbs up for a standard version at a lower price. Some of you may gasp, but I think it would be a great idea for other developers to do similar. Instead of jumping beyond the standard $59.99, deliver the best version at the full price and if you wish to give a standard version at a lower price... do so (but reward those willing to support your title at full retail).

Fun Factor 4

Replay Value 5

Visuals 5

Price 5

4.75 out of 5 Cool Points

Brought to you by the... Baby Fu Clothing Co!