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The tenth installment in the WRC series has been released and features improved driving physics and impressive retro content.

Note: WRC 10 was tested using the Steam version on PC with a wheel, pedal set and handbrake. A review copy of the title was not provided to us.

KT Racing has released WRC 10 across most major platforms. This year’s edition features historical content and major moments from WRC rally history to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the race series.

It only takes a few moments in game to spot the shortcomings of WRC 10, but roughly the same amount of time to appreciate the improved driving experience in this title. Like Codemasters’ F1 series, the WRC game franchise is plagued with workarounds and shortcomings that should have been fixed before the release of the each successive title, but unlike F1 the latest WRC entry shows substantial improvements to the driving experience. These improvements make WRC 10 a fun, challenging and engaging rally title.

Graphics
WRC 10’s graphics can wow at times and underwhelm at others. Gameplay graphics look great most times, but often seem more passable than impressive. The highlights of the visuals include the sunlight breaking through the trees, or the reflections of light off nearby puddles, or the way your headlights carve a limited beam through pitch black night stages. Standing water on the road further ahead, roadside buildings, and rubble on the track, however, look much much generic and poorly rendered. Overall, the graphics look good, and despite looking grainier than many contemporary racing titles and not running as efficiently as its rally sim rivals, the graphics should be more than adequate for most users.

There is still no VR support for WRC, either. For those who prefer their rally experience with an HMD, the DiRT Rally titles are still the go-to platform.

Sounds
Sounds in rally titles are tougher to rate than many other racing titles. If you were to hop into Assetto Corsa Competizione and take the Maserati GT4 for a spin, you’d be treated to an beautifully obnoxious engine note that fills the entire soundscape. Rally titles, however, need to be well-balanced and leave room to hear pace notes and the crunch of body work as it slams into hills and objects on the side of the course.

WRC 10 manages the balance of sounds very well. The engine notes aren’t as roaring and aggressive as you might expect based on KT Racing’s loading screen for the title, but they do a good job conveying the scream of the high revving engines. More importantly, the pace notes are well delivered from your co-driver, and the crunches and bangs of slamming a car through tight turns or ubiquitous trackside flora are nicely balanced on the default settings. Various co-drivers can be selected, and the calls of “ouch” when you clip a fence or “YES!” when you lead a sector add significantly to the enjoyment of driving here. Moreover, WRC 10 also has excellent tire squeal noises on the hard, paved surfaces which add to the thrill of nailing a handbrake turn.

WRC 10 Review 02.jpg


Driving Experience
We first reported on WRC 10’s improvements to the driving physics in early July. Rally legend Sebastian Loeb praised the upcoming title, but many in the sim racing community questioned whether this was an observation or a paid endorsement. Thankfully, it appears to be the former. The changes to the driving experience aren’t a complete overhaul for the WRC series, but enough for fans of the series to notice.

Players are treated to a variety of car and track physics examples, from the fast and extremely responsive rips through Japan or Croatia’s road courses to the soft and flowing momentum management drives in Estonia. The precision of the former and the fun of the latter were a pleasant surprise. The paved surfaces demand fast reaction time and a keen ear for co-driver calls, while the gravel surfaces become a fun and loose romp which forces you to consider how your current momentum and angle will affect a corner several seconds down the road.

When conditions turn for the worse in WRC 10, the difficulty ramps up drastically. Choosing the right tires is crucial, and even with the correct rubber fitted to your car the reduced grip is a challenge. Snowy, slushy or wet conditions prevent the extreme precision and speed that’s possible on the dry roads in this title, and most commonly produces understeer rather than the oversteer seen on gravel surfaces. The wet surfaces are the most challenging. They are perhaps less enjoyable than dry surfaces here in WRC 10, but of course a necessary part of rally driving and reasonably well put forth by KT Racing.

The force feedback on the other hand leaves something to be desired. The various road surfaces produce significantly different FFB experiences, and setting a wheel to produce a reasonable amount of road surface rumble and suspension bumps on gravel surfaces can create a flat, numb experience on road surfaces. Thankfully the driving experience is redeemed for the reasons stated above, but those who seek to reproduce accurate road feel through their sim wheel may need to invest significant time in customizing their experience and may still be left wanting after doing so.

WRC 10 also has an extensive damage model. The car will incur a certain amount of damage just from driving, but you can also deal unnecessary damage to the vehicle by smashing into trackside objects. Tires will wear and even puncture, so rotating between different sets of tires in between stages is essential and absorbing a time penalty while repairing punctures mid-stage may be advantageous versus trying to finish a stage with greatly reduced performance. Suspension, engine, turbo, brakes, bumpers and more can be repaired between stages, and the degradation of each of these aspects of your car affects its performance.

User Interface
Codemasters has yet to add mouse support to their F1 series, which is inexplicable, but WRC’s limited mouse support is equally confusing. The career mode in WRC 10 involves an unusually large number of screens, and many of these will force PC users to reach for their keyboards to confirm or undo choices, or in some cases to navigate to various options on the current menu.

Interface methods notwithstanding, the menus and general user experience outside of gameplay is reasonably well done. Loading times are reasonable, and you’re never far from the options screen to customize gameplay, sound or graphics options to your liking. The shortcomings of the user interface seem primarily limited to what is not present in the title, rather than poor implementation of what is present. A lack of a frame rate cap and limited options for multiple input devices are two notable items that could create frustration from some users. While the user interface in WRC 10 isn’t the worst among racing titles, it seems to be the most noticeable oversight in the improvements from the 9th installment to the 10th in the WRC series.

Content
Having the rights to the World Rally Championship series is obviously a massive advantage of this game series versus its competitors. This year more than ever, that advantage shines through. Much of the time in game is still spent in the WRC Junior, WRC3 and 2, and WRC cars, but the expanded historical content is the icing on the cake and breaks any sense on monotony or limitations with the car selection. 20 news historic cars from Alpine, Audi, Lancia, Subaru, Ford, Mitsubishi adnd Toyota have been added to this year’s title.

On the tracks front, WRC 10 continues the series tradition of giving users fast and beautiful rally courses from around the world. The courses are continuously flanked by trees, hills, spectators and buildings that are well placed and deliver a sense of immersion and speed simultaneously. Surfaces vary not only by location, but also by distance travelled on track. Ascending a snowy hill may have the car traveling over wet roads initially, followed by increasingly snowy sections towards the end of climb. There are even a few challenges in game on closed dirt circuits instead of the standard point-to-point rally courses. Estonia, Croatia, Belgium and Spain have been added this year.

KT Racing’s rights to the WRC series will be handed over to Codemasters in 2023, but for the time being they have made the most of what’s on offer and delivered an impressive array of new and old cars and tracks.

WRC 10 Review 03.jpg


Single Player
The single player experience in WRC 10 is matched by very few titles in racing. In addition to being able to simply jump in run time trials at your leisure, there are also free roam maps to explore, training missions for those looking to improve their rally driving skills, and a very in-depth career mode.

The career mode can be approached as a simple set of sequential races, as a complex and technical car and team management experience, or anything in between. At its most complex, the career mode allows you to oversee improvements to your car and a team of employees that help keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. There are, however, very few things you must do in the career mode other than race in the rallies, so the experience never needs to be daunting unless you choose to take on the management aspects. Pursuing those management aspects does increase your probability of success on the track, and WRC 10 provides a rewarding experience as a result.

The difficulty level of the single player experience in WRC 10 can vary wildly. You may dominate certain rally events or stages, only to be bested by the AI at the next event on the same difficulty settings. This seems concentrated on a few areas, as the AI seem to hold an advantage in adverse weather conditions, whereas the player seems to hold an advantage in dry conditions on any surface. The AI seems to be slower through hairpins as well, so players looking to make up time should work to improve their power-slides through hairpins. The historic and extreme weather challenges offered to players in the career mode are particularly tough, and may take several passes to complete under the allowed time limit.

There are dozens of hours of fun to be had in the career mode as the player grows the car and the team and progresses through the various tiers of rally car in WRC 10. And even more hours can be invested in trying to beat personal best times at the various courses. The single player mode is very well done.

Multiplayer
The advantage rally sims have over other racing titles in multiplayer is the absence of trolls. If you were to join an open lobby in most new racing titles, you’d at risk of a stranger running you off track for reasons unknown and having your race ruined. WRC 10, however, offers various multiplayer modes without having to share track time with someone out to ruin your experience.

The standard (and most humbling) online mode is the time trial system, which ranks your best time against others from around the world, and even cross-platform. This mode is complemented in WRC 10 by formats that allow you to race against or with friends. Clubs, co-driver and split-screen racing are all possible in WRC10. There is also a standard online multiplayer mode which allows players to join or create online rally lobbies.

Summary
Ultimately any racing title should primarily be judged based on the experience of driving. In this spirit, WRC 10 is a fast, fun and impressively deep rally title. The improvements to the driving physics are noticeable and well implemented to make driving an exciting and enjoyable experience. The bugs, shortcomings and workarounds still present from previous titles are annoying, but thankfully don’t spoil the fun of this title.

The massive career mode, impressive content selection and various multiplayer modes should be enough to keep rally fans engaged. While the debate of ranking Richard Burns Rally vs Dirt Rally vs WRC for king of the rally games isn’t likely to be settled based on WRC 10, it’s improvements over 9 should impress both those new to the series and existing WRC series fans.

Pros
  • Improved driving experience over previous series titles
  • Great car and track selection, including multiple new locations
  • Engaging career mode
  • Impressive historical content and challenges
  • Various multiplayer racing options
  • Co-driver calls, tire squeals and chassis crunch sounds are nicely done
Cons
  • Frustrating user interface
  • Graphics can be great at times, not-so-great at others
  • No VR
  • FFB can feel numb
Be sure to leave your thoughts on WRC 10 in the comments below, and you can even share a review with others by clicking the "Write a review" button below this article.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Latest reviews

Pros: - Historical content
Cons: - Poor sounds
- Poor graphics
- Poor physics
I am not gonna write anything about historical content, because it is really really great. But from the audiovisual and gameplay point of view, it is a massacre.

I don't have a rally car in my garage, but I've visited hundreds of WRC rally events in my life and unfortunately what the game offers in terms of sound is a mockery. This is definitely not how rally cars sound. There is nothing to comment here.

Graphically, we are dealing with a regression. For comparison, I ran the WRC7 and V-Rally 4 and rubbed my eyes with amazement. How can you release such a monster when the previous games are looking so good? And I completely do not understand why the level of historical 3D car models differs so much from the rest? They have an awfully small amount of details and are poorly reproduced. Subaru Colina McRae, it's actually some kind of Subaru. I already omit the poor quality textures and the notoriously appearing and disappearing elements of the environment. This is very clear when watching the replays

And finally, the best ... physics or driving model. The cars run ... that's good. And that's it. With the assists turned off, the game does not require any major skills from the player at all. Or maybe I am so good... :p It is very easy. Too easy ... With assists, this is a game for "children" at all.

Still, it's a very enjoyable game. Such a racing Need for Speed Porsche. It supposedly simulates some car's behavior on the road, but it also allows for uncompromising driving without a grip.
Pros: Fun
Cons: Too much grip
way too much grip except on snow and ice in Monaco.
Pros: Content!
Graphics
Sounds
Improved driving from previous titles
Cons: FFB
Framerate issues
I gave up on dialling in the FFB and settled for a dull asphalt experience instead of exaggerated rattling on dirt roads. Turned off the engine vibration, and set road/suspension vibration at 25%. It can be turned up to 50% for asphalt, but I don't want to be constantly fiddling with it.

It also takes a bit of fiddling to get the title running smoothly, but my experience from the earlier titles made this easier (keywords: 60 fps vsync). The game is more resource hungry than other titles, though, and it has the occasional small freezes. But nothing game breaking on my system, at least.

Other than this, the game is giving me a lot of fun - the stages are very good and plenty. And the cars are of course the best selection available in any game because of the license...

There is a 3rd party telemetry plugin patch available, which is a must-have for me at least.

The menus are a bit clunky but do their job. I would prefer pure keyboard navigation, rather than this keyboard/mouse hybrid solution. It's better than the WRC 9 menu system, which is a disaster on an ultra wide monitor.

As for the driving physics, they are good enough for me to enjoy the game. The car behaviour feels a bit ... simplified at times, but the driving is still very much fun.

Would absolutely recommend the game, despite its obvious flaws.

Comments

Thanks for the review. :thumbsup:

Unfortunately, there's not much in it that would compel me to try WRC10. DR2 doesn't do it for me and I'm still dreaming of a worthy successor to RBR. Still, I keep believing it's possible, no matter how unlikely. ;)
 
Are there really no one who writes, speaks, records a review of the WRC games that even notes that they utterly fail with real life rules?
In the game WRC2 and WRC3 are together. Fair enough, it makes it a bigger class than the small WRC3 class, but it's not exactly correct.
Also, in the game all cars from every manufacturer scores manufacturer points. First of all there's no manufacturer championship in WRC3. Secondly, it's only 2 cars in WRC2 and top two cars in WRC that scores points... They still haven't been able to fix this in the game. It's supposed to be the official WRC Game and yet again they are unable to implement the basic real life rules...

How are the super specials this year? Are you still racing against drivers who aren't in the rally, and are the driver you are up against completely random in comparison to the time they actually set? Even CMR2.0 nailed this.
Also, cars broken down beside the road? Do they still show cars that have finished the stage, or maybe cars that aren't even entered in the rally?

While I agree with the start of the summary "Ultimately any racing title should primarily be judged based on the experience of driving", but when you have an official game, the one thing that should be present, is the rules in the championship the game is based on.

The utter lack of attention to detail are ridiculous and they haven't changed it for years. Ugh.
 
Cons:

- Inaccurate, low-poly 3D car models, unrealistic track width, rim size, wrong dimensions for 3D objects (roof tile can be larger than a human, bale of straw can be larger than a truck etc.)
- still No telemetry
- Sound acceptable from the cabin but still not good from outside
- illogic UI, different key mappings for the same for in game and for replay cameras
- many bugs (some of them are funny: while weather is sunny summer, but spectators wearing rainy clothes and umbrelas)
esős.jpg
Pros:

- Better car handling
- no more weapon shot sound for puddles
- better engine sounds
- more manufacturers, more models
In overall, a better gaming experience.
 
Con: Lack of OPEN telemetry

We are now squarely in the age of sponsored titles. So, reviewers need to be up front about the equipment they use to review titles. With Fanatec's sponsorship in mind, what equipment did you run WRC 10 on? Can you, for instance, compare how the game runs and feels on the Simplicity Wheel, the Simagic Wheel, the Accuforce Wheel, the Fanatec CSL DD, etc.? Likewise, can you share the in game force feedback and in wheel settings you used to test? I suspect the physics might come through very differently based on the brand of wheel used.

And, in the absence of open telemetry, how is one supposed to tune force feedback so as to enjoy/get the most out of the physics on all of the above wheels? I think it is incumbent on sim racing reviewers to harp on the need for open telemetry at least as much, if not more so, than the desire for VR.

Con: Graphics

With settings maxed out on a 2080ti, the graphics and color saturation simply fail to come thru for me. For the moment, I am chalking this up to a probable bug and anticipate it will get better with future patches since the options to rectify same show up in the UI but do not appear to function correctly.

Potential: If telemetry is patched in and the graphics work in the way I suspect they should, WRC 10 could be really good. But, for now at least, how good or bad the title is most likely depends on what specific equipment is being used to play it with. And, that is VERY bad for the sim racing industry.
 
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I have spent hundreds of hours in WRC 8 and 9 , I joined a Esports team for WRC 9 and I can say WRC 10 has taken some good steps forward.

No 1 for me is the driving experience , I actually don't really care what it looks like as long as it's enjoyable to drive.

WRC 10 is the most intense , fun experience I have had in any driving game , getting through tight fast stages fast in a WRC car is such a rush , no other game I have played comes close to this feeling.

They have tightened up the handling quite a bit and there is more grip than in WRC 9 so you can go a lot faster in some stages.

Is it accurate , I don't know , like most of us I have never driven a real WRC car but as I said it's all about how it feels to drive and for me it feels awesome , I really really like it.

I am very impressed with what they have achieved and the better sound just adds to the immersion.

Fanatec DD1
HE Pro Pedals
Samsung 49" Ultra wide
 
I haven't had this much fun with a racing game since RBR arrived in 2004 !
Any of the Croatian stage with Loebs old Citroen is well worth the price of admission !

WRC 10 isn't perfect by any means but if KT keep this pace I am sure I can retire RBR Vanilla after WRC 11 arrives so there wont be any need for any Codemasters games for the coming 6 years ;)

8/10

Pros
:

Better Physics
Better Car sounds
Better FFB
Better Accurate Co Driver
Better Driving experience
Better Sense of speed and car control
Awesome Stages

Cons:

FPS Optimisation
Wheel animation
Damage Model too forgiving
Problems with connection to server

PS

I use Pedals, Wheel, Handbrake and a Racing seat from Fanatec !

DS
 
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Why does every game need VR? A vast majority of the market doesnt have it. So why do unnecessary especially for a small dev work to please a small number of people?
^^Coz its mandatory especially for this kind of racing where you very often drive sideways and in VR you have the advantage to look to the apex. Simple, right?
Anyway, you dont need to use it but for others is a big immersion to drive like that.
------


I have Wrc 8 and this was a big disappointment.
The devs do not care to provide a polished game and only profit counts.
The reviews of Wrc9 were the same and the game didnt have any improvements.
Release and forget.

The Wrc10 demo was an disaster and the steam reviews are also bad again.
An no VR is for me big no go.
 
Theres a lot of whiney people around isnt there. Will be crying in 2 years time when Codemasters release their first WRC title too because they're narrow minded and seem to think every title released that includes cars have to be sims and has to have pitch perfect sounds on them. Bet you will be crying next month when the hotwheels game is released too because it doesnt have VR or the cars dont behave how your real toy cars do.
 
^^Coz its mandatory especially for this kind of racing where you very often drive sideways and in VR you have the advantage to look to the apex. Simple, right?
Anyway, you dont need to use it but for others is a big immersion to drive like that.
So simple in fact next to no studios include it because it's not easy to implement. The use of mandatory makes you sound so entitled.
 

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