We were all fully aware that the inaugural officially-licensed World Rally Championship release by Kylotonn Games would be one of the worst racing games ever created for next-generation consoles, but few were prepared for just how bad of an experience WRC 5 would be when it arrived in our hands during October of last year. Featuring driving physics and visuals eclipsed by even the lowliest of PlayStation 2 titles, technical issues requiring several updates to rectify, and horrifically pitiful stage layouts, WRC 5 landed somewhere between a flash-based MiniClip.com offering, and V-Rally 3 by then-backmarker Eden Games. It was hard to believe license holders for the FIA World Rally Championship would deem a product like this to be acceptable for a virtual representation of their sport; the only person who seemed to genuinely enjoy WRC 5 was a rabid Eastern European individual hard who had developed an obsession with the shovelware title.
Somehow managing to retain exclusive rights to the license for yet another season, Kylotonn Games are set to give the series another go with the release of WRC 6 later this year. Acquiring the talented Jay Ekkel from Sector 3 Studios, and promising to listen to the community’s numerous complaints regarding last years entry, Kylotonn have immediately came out and proclaimed that stages in WRC 6 are said to be much longer and increasingly more difficult – though those two issues are merely a light sampling of the drastic changes required to make this title worth a purchase.
Footage of the title has arrived, and aside from it being shot off-screen, meaning some of the visual fidelity will be lost, we at least get a chance to see this game in action. And as you expected, it looks like a shitty PS3 game:
There’s been a tangible effort to improve the amount of trackside objects, but judging by the standards set from previous Milestone efforts, this is how last year’s game should have looked from the start. The game’s lighting is a noticeable improvement over WRC 5, but still fails to match what Codemasters could accomplish in DiRT 3 – on hardware released to the public in 2005. There are shots of an inexperienced console pleb driving poorly with a standard gamepad, but the notoriously poor physics are set to make a return, albeit with reduced grip levels, and increased weight transfer effects. The whole offering looks like something you’d see on the PlayStation 3, and promptly decide after a few minutes of preview footage, that you weren’t interested anymore. This may have been fine in 2006 or 2007, but it’s 2016 – a full decade later.
PRC.net is obviously a place for the hardcore sim crowd to talk openly about what we as a group want from sim racing, so indeed we’re naturally going to take a very negative approach to casual titles like WRC 6. However, given the fact that Codemasters managed to achieve so much with the dudebro DiRT trilogy, and those three games are still tons of fun to play and extremely polished, seeing a game like WRC 6 stumble out of the blocks is nothing short of pathetic. I can easily recall the days when yearly Colin McRae, WRC Rally Evolved, and eventually the DiRT series were brand new, and each title was something I genuinely wanted to grab within the first few days of release. Had Kylotonn’s WRC 6 been announced in 2007 as an Xbox 360 title, with the same exact screenshots and gameplay footage, I’d be just as uninterested in it back then as I am now. I’m not saying the series should be put out of its misery, but from an objective point of view, WRC 6 appears to add nothing of value to the genre, and can barely match the visual fidelity of products on inferior hardware.
And for the PC audience, at least, they appear to feel the same way.