[Review] WRC 8 The Official Game – Nintendo Switch

Written by Brett Hill
  • Developer: Kylotonn
  • Publisher:  Bigben Interactive
  • Release Date:  14/11/2019
  • Price: £44.99 $49.99
  • Review code provided by Bigben Interactive

Introduction

WRC 8: World Rally Championships was originally released on the PS4 and Xbox One in September 2019, receiving a mostly positive reception from fans and critics alike. After having a 2-year hiatus the return of the officially licensed rally simulator from Kylotonn boasted upgraded driving physics, realistic graphics and authentic experience for any fan of the series. Just over a month later screeching out of the gate it landed on to the Nintendo Switch.

It was a joy to hear that the Switch version was also going to include all the same features and career mode as its undoubtedly more powerful competitors with no compromises to the gameplay, the only feature to be missing from the Switch release would be offline and online multiplayer. With over 100 stages, 14 locations and dynamic weather conditions what could go wrong……

Do I have what it takes to be the next Henri Toivonen or is it best to casually hand the keys in and walk away whistling from the scene after crashing into a tree?

Leave it to the professionals

As a teenager, I loved playing racing games – two titles, in particular, were Colin Mcrae Rally and TOCA, they managed to capture the excitement and realism of what it was like to be behind the wheel at high speeds. Another reason which kept me popping that disc back into the console was fun. The developers crammed it full of wacky bonus content, tracks set inside an active volcano, tanks which made multiplayer much more interesting and then there are the cheats, fancy lowering gravity just give the name of the racer MOONWALK or BLANCMANGE to race in a jelly car. We fast forward to 2020 and I feel the genre has lost that fun-factor over the years, a break from the intense racing and career mode.

I feel WRC 8 suffers from this problem like most official sports games released these days. It’s pretty standard now to combine it with a convoluted, over-complicated management simulator complete with confusing menus to navigate and unnecessary decisions to make. I understand there is a market out there for this style of gameplay but for the casual racer, it can be off-putting. There is a season mode which lets you experience the career without the management mechanic but with only one car to choose from it is very limited and can get repetitive rather quickly.

Taming A Wild Horse

The main issue with WRC 8 is the controls, it is almost unplayable constantly spinning out of control, crashing into innocent spectators and coming last in every race soon wears thin. There was no improvement switching from Joy-cons to a gamepad and was an endless battle as if the car was fighting back like a wild horse. Combining this irritable problem with the monotonously long tracks it was hard to keep engaged and the appetite to complete even your first season had soon disappeared but for the purpose of this review, I valiantly progressed.

It’s hard to understand how the game was even released in this state. At first, I thought it was down to player error and I would improve over time but after hours of trying to hone my skills and failing on epic proportions, it was evident something was wrong with the controls and vastly needed revamping.

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? Nope It’s A Tree

Another big issue is the visuals, I would recommend completely avoiding playing WRC 8 in handheld mode. With framerate problems, blurry textures and items appearing out of nowhere it’s clear that the Switch drew the short straw on this release. Each stage had this pixelated haze on the screen making it feel like a PS2 game. The text was unreadable, sponsor stickers on the car were illegible and road signs juddering past as you hurtle into an un-rootable spruce writing your car off. In docked mode, the visuals were noticeably better upping the resolution to 720P. One final bugbear is the unnecessarily long loading times with most races taking over a minute to load.

Conclusion

I feel harsh leaving such a sour review for WRC 8 but there was nothing positive I could really say about this game. The controls make it unplayable with no incentive to stick with it, unless you are a rally fanatic and enjoy managing your own team and driving them towards success then I would skip this iteration of WRC completely, especially if you own a Nintendo Switch. The visuals were ugly leaving a grainy pixelated haze on the screen, also the environment around the track had very little detail to the with trees looking like a green blob on a stick with no texture what so ever and buildings looking like squares dumped to the side, all in all, its a mess of a game that will leave you bored and irritated.

PROS

• Official licensing
• extensive career mode for Rally fanatics

CONS

• Atrocious controls
• Visuals are less than desirable
• overly complicated menus

Verdict
A Sloppy port that is unplayable due to the controls, will only appeal to Rally fanatics.
1/5

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