Here’s the thing, if you want, go read my review for WRC 9: FIA World Rally Championship if you want to know my thoughts on WRC 10: FIA World Rally Championship. It’s about 95% the same game and that’s a low estimate. And while a few things here and there are changed, WRC 10 has a lot of the same issues that WRC 9 had and pound for pound if they were side by side I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship: A lot like WRC 9
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 [Reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Genre: Simulation Racing
Players: 1-4 (Online Multiplayer)
Release Date: September 2, 2021
Price $49.99 (USD)
I’m really not going to get into the same stuff that WRC 9 had. The game operates largely the same, you have a calendar to plan events, have to manage team members, have largely the same (at least visually) upgrade system, even racing is almost the exact same from the prior game. Take that for what you will, if you loved the last game, this is more of it. If you weren’t a huge fan of the last game, this might be an issue.
The Big Caveat
Here’s the basic thing: WRC 10: FIA World Rally Championship is one of only three rally racing games available right now on current-gen platforms The other two are WRC 9, which you should already know my feelings on, and Dirt 5. Between last year and now, I was able to play Dirt 5 and it is a mess, to say the least. WRC 9 and WRC 10 might be kind of boring and bland. However, Dirt 5 isn’t even functional in the long term, and that’s due to a specific race event type: Sprint.
In Dirt 5, the Sprint race type involves using a very small car (with a big wing on the top). The general idea is that when the car is going fast, it creates downforce on the wing to push the car down and give you more grip. In actuality, you can’t control your car and even the normal difficulty racing AI will blow you out of the water. When you Google “Dirt 5 Sprint Cars”, the first few results shouldn’t be “First sprint car race is IMPOSSIBLE” or “Who on Earth at Codemasters approved Sprint handling model?” If the Sprint mode was completely eliminated from that game, there’d be some serious competition for rally racing but it’s semi-required.
The big new addition here is a “50th ANNIVERSARY MODE.” This is meant to allow you to race on tracks and in cars of historic rally events. Sounds neat, right?
Here’s the issue, this mode is separated out on the main menu but it’s also integrated into the actual career mode. Making you think that these historic rally races are optional missions in the career mode. Scratch that, you HAVE to do these historic events in order to unlock them in the Main Menu. Meaning, if you select “50th ANNIVERSARY MODE” from the main menu, but you haven’t actually done any of the races in the career, well, you won’t be able to do them from the main menu either.
It is a truly baffling decision. It’d be like if a racing game had a Career and Arcade mode, but the Arcade mode tracks have to be beaten in the Career mode in order to be unlocked.
Also, bear in mind, these historic events are brutal. Their difficulty seems harder than the rest of the races. You also only get a limited number of retries before you bomb out of the event completely. And, during the race, I don’t think it actually tells you what time you should be shooting for, but I could be wrong about this one.
There’s is a Livery Editor. But there’s no online system to download other people’s creations. Also, aside from the very basic paint colors like “blue” and “red”, every other paint color is locked behind career mode objectives. So, even if you wanted to do something elaborate, you can’t, unless you are great at the game.
Old vs. New
I downloaded WRC 9 to do a little comparison between modes in 9 and 10. This is what 9 basically had: Career, season, quick play, training, test area, challenges, online events, co-driver, esports WRC, split-screen, and leaderboards. I don’t care about the showroom mode.
This is what WRC 10 has (new stuff is bolded): Career, quick play, season, livery editor, clubs, online multiplayer, leaderboards, co-driver, split-screen, challenges, test area, training, and 50th ANNIVERSARY MODE. That’s it. The “clubs” thing is just an online thing and isn’t germane to the game at all. They did add in a female co-driver voice, though.
Stuff they didn’t upgrade/include
Here’s a small list of stuff, mainly issues I had with WRC 9 that they didn’t bother addressing: the rewind/flashback system. It can really suck to be on the third to the last corner of a race, take it an inch too wide and go sliding off a mountain road, necessitating you to redo the entire race again. Dirt and Forza figured this out, let you roll back the gameplay some, and let you try to salvage it, or if you do want this to be solely a simulation game, at least include a noob-friendly mode so regular people can play.
Still very little music in the game. Aside from the main menu and crew simulation, there is nothing. I can theoretically see why having music during an actual race might be bad, it could distract you from following your co-drivers instructions, but not having it makes it MORE distracting. You could find the same “I’m on hold” type of music they have on the crew stuff, at least. The engine sounds are also anemic and there is ZERO crowd noise. This is especially strange in the historic rallies since there are more people around, but they are completely silent.
Lastly, it’s all just rally racing. You have to be phenomenally into rally racing to get your money’s worth out of this game. Think about Wii Sports, which included five games in it: tennis, bowling, baseball, golf, and boxing. Now, imagine if Nintendo stripped out four of those five games, and just left you with bowling, while also wanting you to pay full price for it. No matter how good that bowling game is, it still wouldn’t be half as interesting as if it were on a compilation disc with four other sports on it. Bowling games come out to this day and only about one percent of people are into them. They didn’t need to include Rallysport or Landrush but, at least something slightly different or fun here, would have been nice.
This game was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher through a third-party PR company.
By definition WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship is a slightly less impressive game than WRC 9 was. It still has the same basics, albeit with a few new tracks, but that’s really it. The new modes that are included are badly integrated and not even worth attempting, since so much content is locked behind campaign progression. It’s still a decent rally game, and better than Dirt 5, but it’s so singularly focused that it’s not easy to pick up for beginners at all.