What was supposed to be an extremely exciting week for connoisseurs of virtual auto racing has now turned into anything but. After NASCAR Heat 2 established itself as a game that might be good in a few months provided the necessary patchwork is applied in key areas, and the high definition remaster of Baja: Edge of Control exhibited exponentially more flaws than the original release did back in 2008, all eyes were now set upon Kylotonn’s officially licensed rally racer, WRC 7. Though the first two games were disastrous affairs – the first game under the new team being the worst new release I’ve reviewed for PRC, and the second being so technologically inept I refused to review it – coverage of the game from other outlets indicated this year’s rendition would actually be worth buying.
Coupled with the fact that the real life World Rally Championship is experiencing its most exciting season in recent memory, with absolutely ridiculous cars that will surely be toned down at the conclusion of the 2017 campaign, there was also genuine, tangible evidence displaying WRC 7 would be worth a purchase. The stage design would be significantly narrower, the handling model would dip into simcade territory rather than outright simplicity, and there would be a slew of optimization improvements for PC owners to ensure the software would actually run smoothly. Like many gamers who’ve attached a plastic toy steering wheel to their desk, I bought WRC 7 at launch this morning primarily due to outlets such as Team VVV really drilling home that the new game was indeed an improvement, and not a bargain bin mess masquerading as a fully priced PC game to lure in people with the official WRC license.
At the end of the day, as a consumer I feel lied to. My experience with WRC 7, running one of the most common toy steering wheels on the market today plugged into a beefy Alienware Aurora R5, does not match what others are describing in their YouTube videos in the slightest. I would like to know how not one journalist, hobbyist, or multimedia personality covering the game ran into these issues, despite the game’s Steam community forums now overflowing with complaints about crippling problems making the game unplayable for a large number of users.
Why do these personalities all have a functioning game they all seem to enjoy, whereas common customers like myself do not? Given that I receive financial backing from a rival game developer, it’s massively hypocritical of myself to come out swinging and accuse those involved of viral marketing and intentional deception in some regard, but in this situation I am merely a guy running a blog trying to purchase a video game both for his own leisure, as well as to write about on his website. I am confused as to how, when approaching this game from the position of an everyday customer, my time spent with the game is drastically different than all of these YouTube personalities giving WRC 7 two thumbs up.
Above is a first-hand video of nearly my entire time spent with WRC 7 prior to Steam providing me with a refund for the title. Basically, I went through the above sequence twice, recording my second cycle because I genuinely didn’t think anybody would believe me, or they’d just accuse me of going on a hyperbolic smear campaign against anyone who isn’t my employer. Despite Kylotonn listing a stock Logitech G29 as a fully supported wheel, the game fails to detect the device in any functional manner save for the directional pad – which is of little use in any situation behind the wheel. The G29 is so incapacitated, you are unable to even skip the intro movies or navigate the menus once you’ve used the keyboard to navigate past the title sequences and splash screen, nor does going to the options menu warrant any sort of positive results. Obviously going into something like WRC 7, I’m not expecting much of a hardcore experience behind the wheel, but I at least want to take a green flag and complete a stage with my stock, consumer steering wheel being 100% functional. This is apparently too much to ask of French developers Kylotonn in 2017, despite it being their third WRC game.
Moving on to plugging in my DualShock4 coupled with everybody’s favorite background application DS4Windows – more or less a must for those using a standard PS4 controller on Windows 10 – we are at least able to navigate through WRC 7’s menus. Immediately I discover that while the game instructs you to press the A button to proceed, the PlayStation 4 equivalent of A (also known as the X button) doesn’t do anything – proceed has actually been mapped to Square.
Out on the track, things get exponentially worse. In an impressive display of tomfoolery, the chase view camera is locked at a forty five degree angle behind the car, almost as if someone is permanently holding the right stick downwards and to the left. Upon accelerating with R2, the camera rotates to a direct sideways shot of my Hyundai. Braking, in comparison, rotates the camera to the rear of the car. So the default configuration that shipped with the game has the camera rotation mapped to the throttle and brake pedals.
However, in my lone sector of driving, WRC 7 looked quite nice, the stage design was much better than prior entries in the series, and I did not experience any crippling performance hiccups. There should be an asterisk next to this final part, as I am playing on a PC my employer provided me with to give their yet-to-be-released game a proper shakedown on maximum visual settings. Your average driving sim enthusiast does not have a computer this powerful. As a result, WRC 7’s Steam forums have been flooded with complaints by disgruntled customers wondering what in the hell they just bought.In short, there is a fundamental disconnect between what YouTube outlets are saying about this game, versus what the average customer is actually experiencing. WRC 7 was not functional for me, and Steam provided me with a refund after about twenty minutes of play, most of which consisted of me booting up the game and staring blankly at the options menu while I hammered buttons on my steering wheel. I have failed to complete a single stage of driving, let a lone a sector, because all twenty minutes were spent in utter confusion – split up by occasional visits to the forum where others were united in their shared disgust of Kylotonn’s ineptitude. I encourage everyone with three minutes to burn to visit the game’s Steam forums and actually explore what is being said about WRC 7’s first day on the market, and then compare it to quotes such as these I’ve found across social media.
I would love to give WRC 7 a proper shakedown for the readers of PRC, as these kinds of simcade rally games are right up my alley (as you can probably figure out from past articles), and on a personal level I was actually kind of excited about this game after looking at the preview footage that like I said, implied some very tangible improvements had been made to the core gameplay. Yet in actually purchasing the game for myself, I’m profoundly bewildered – WRC 7 as a product you can obtain on Steam for around $40 CDN is just not even in the same ballpark as what the YouTube personalities said it would be. The preview videos all have done a great job getting us excited for Kylotonn to turn a new page and push out something captivating – especially with the glorious 2017-spec cars – but instead we’re left scratching our collective heads at the near-unanimous praise in the face of pretty outrageous technical issues that are generating widely reported problems on the game’s Steam forums. How did every single YouTube outlet miss this stuff, and better yet, why didn’t the public receive this version of the game?
Just read the Steam reviews and compare them to impressions from the big sim racing outlets; you’ll see what I mean.