A steep learning curve bends to an enjoyable but frantic game.
World Rally Championship 10 is out now for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and PC. It's the latest in the rally simulators lineup and it's celebrating 50 years of WRC competition. It came out in September, but we just got a huge free update with a new current rally, Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, as well as three new historic events. These will join the 19 other classics spanning from 1973 to today, complementing the game's modern playthrough and career modes.
WRC 10 comes with new rally locations including Estonia, Croatia and Spain. It also has space for new historic rallies like Acropolis, San Remo, Germany and Argentina. In total there are 120 special stages, and 52 official teams from WRC, WRC2, WRC3 and Junior WRC. It features 20 vehicles from Alpine, Audi, Subaru, Ford and more. Both the career mode and physics have been updated, which you'll notice as you're sawing at the like a madman in your Colin McRae Subaru Impreza. Speaking of, the best way by far to play these games is via a steering wheel controller. We have a Thrustmaster wheel and pedal setup with a home-built rig (with a Chevy Cavalier bucket seat).
This game is not easy. WRC games never have been, but about two hours into playing, we began seeing some improvement. It starts with the surfaces, which range from gravel to asphalt to snow. Each one has a different steering feel, which needs to be considered. Some races have more than one surface. It takes a light hand on the wheel, or controller, and like a real rally car, weight transfer is important.
Obviously if you're flying through the air you can't hit the brakes. But even going downhill, or on an off-camber turn, braking needs to be done very carefully. The key is to get your braking done when you can, going uphill, or just on a flat surface without any steering input. When you do brake, all the weight flings forward, which gives you a little extra steering bite. But if you brake too hard you actually get less grip and just plow forward into the barrier. As least we did, Ken Block we are not.
What WRC 10 does really well is give the player the sense of speed and claustrophobia that real drivers might feel on a rally in Greece, Spain or Argentina. The roads are narrow, with stone walls and barriers that will jump out and stop you cold. And that's when those roads aren't already lined with trees. In the fast cars, it's just a blurry collage of "oh that would definitely kill me if I hit it."
The Career Mode is intricate and has a lot of roleplaying game features like skill trees and experience points to unlock more performance and better events and deals. It feels a little overwhelming at first, but WRC 10 feeds it to you a little at a time. You must hire and assign your crew, continuously check your calendar, spend time and money on R&D and more. Many of the features open up when you get into the higher levels of the motorsport.
But we suggest starting in the Junior WRC class. Even with driving and gaming experience, we've only been able to get to the middle of the leaderboard. We're guessing we need to practice for a couple more seasons before we test for a real team in faster cars. Just like real rally driving, start slow, practice often, maybe even have some fun runs before you start your career. And if you're using a wheel controller, we might even suggest gloves because there is A LOT of action. Just like in the real WRC.