WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship

I don’t think the sim racing genre benefits from being on the same yearly release grind as Call of Duty or Madden. We don’t need a brand-new game every year. So there’s no reason why WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship couldn’t have been a DLC rather than an entirely new game.

That’s the problem with this year’s release — it isn’t an entirely new game, but it’s priced that way.

I love rallying, but I don’t love it enough to pay $50-$60 a year for what amounts to a few new cars and tracks. Yay, every team has a new pixelated JPG of the IRL drivers — maybe that floats your boat. I don’t care much. There are not enough significant changes to distinguish it from last year’s entry. It looks the same. It sounds the same. It feels the same. It’s essentially the same game. 

When it works right, the force feedback feels pretty decent. I run a Thrustmaster T300RS set to 100% force in the wheel drivers and 110% in WRC 10 settings, and I feel fairly well-informed about what my tires are doing when I’m driving. 

I encountered some game-breaking FFB bugs during my first week of play and waited on publishing this review to see if they were fixed. Weird stuff still occasionally happens, like the FFB triggering before the race starts, but it’s no longer game breaking. At one point, WRC 10 reset my pedals so even when I fully depress them I only got 80% of full signal, necessitating a full reset of my Thrustmaster T-LCM pedals via their calibration software. Thankfully, I haven’t hit that bug since the latest patches.

If WRC 10 arrived as a $30-40 DLC built on the WRC 9 engine and game, would I be encountering new and exciting bugs? On release, WRC 9 was way more stable for me than WRC 10 has been. So what’s the benefit of a yearly release again? $50-$60 is too much to pay to be a beta tester.

Handling and realism

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship

WRC is Dirt Rally 2.0’s gentler and more forgiving brother. At the game’s default 50% setting, the damage is less severe (though you can always crank it up) and your car sticks much more tightly to tarmac and gravel (though ice and snow are far slippier). And rear-wheel-drive cars don’t seem determined to kill me the way they do in DR2.0

WRC 10 is also more forgiving when using a handbrake. In DR2.0, even a slight pull would send your car’s rear whipping around. In WRC 10, you have to pull quite a bit further on the brake to achieve the same result, which means you might dare to use the handbrake more often. 

Note: the gearbox system of WRC 10 is less realistic than DR 2.0’s. I can use the handbrake to lock the rear wheels of a RWD car without stalling, which makes life easier for new players but might gall more experienced sim racers looking for extreme realism.

Difficulty Dynamics

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship

I suspect the game has a dynamic difficulty curve. I absolutely blew my first rally, coming in last place, with more than a minute and a half between me and the number one racer. In my second rally, I absolutely dominated, finishing more than thirty seconds ahead of the competition. 

While I definitely improved and adapted to the WRC physics engine between the first and second rallies, I didn’t get that much better. WRC 9 made no such adjustments and pummeled me into last place every race.

Or maybe not? My third rally was Monte Carlo, and I’m an absolutely hopeless driver in the snow and could barely make it through the shakedown stage.

Career Mode 

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship

Career mode has its moments. There’s a pretty extensive XP and skill point tree that let you unlock new crew members, skills, and car durability. And working your way up from junior WRC to WRC 2 / 3 to WRC is a nice challenge and feels rewarding. 

However, once you’re stable and inside your class, money starts to feel more like an abstraction. Aside from paying for repairs, why earn more money? The car you drive is tied to the team you’re on. You can’t buy the car. There are no upgrades to buy. You don’t spend the money on promotions to raise your driver’s profile. As long as you’re staying in the black and not absolutely destroying your car every rally, the money starts to feel meaningless. What am I going to spend this money on? 

In conclusion… 

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship

If you’ve never played the WRC series, WRC 10 is a decent enough entry. If you already have WRC 9, save your money and just keep playing the rally game you have. If you own Dirt Rally 2.0, but want a more robust career mode, you can give WRC 10 a shot. 

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