EA Sports WRC marks Codemasters’ first shot at developing a game with the coveted official FIA World Rally Championship license. As the team behind the critically acclaimed Dirt Rally series and numerous other polished racing titles, expectations are sky-high for Codemasters to deliver a suitably authentic and thrill-packed rally racing experience.
Sliding into the driver’s seat of EA Sports WRC, players are placed in control of an upstart rally team aiming to make their mark on the global WRC scene. Can Codemasters capture the same magic that made their Dirt Rally games the rally sims to beat over the past decade? Or will the pressures of designing an officially licensed title deflate their ambitions?
Over the screeching of engines and the calls of co-drivers, we’ll assess if EA Sports WRC has the guts to become the new champion of rally racing games. With meticulous car handling, tactile off-road racing across real-world locations, and extensive career progression systems, the ingredients are certainly present for a quality title. Yet some worrying cracks also appear through stuttering technical performance and confusing progression structures for newcomers.
Strap in and get ready to go full throttle through muddy forests, narrow mountain passes, and bone-shaking jumps as we put EA Sports WRC through its paces. This in-depth review will cover all you need to know to decide if Codemasters’ latest racer is ready to speed its way into the winner’s circle of your game library.
Putting You in the Driver’s Seat
EA Sports WRC contains a meaty array of gameplay modes that should satisfy both casual players and dedicated racing fans. The staple Career mode forms the crux of the single-player experience, while additional modes provide plenty of variety.
In Career, players act as manager and driver for a fledgling rally team aiming to make it big in the WRC. You’ll need to balance racing events and earning prize money, while hiring staff, purchasing vehicles, and appeasing team sponsors. It’s a constant juggle, as the costs of repairs, upgrades, and rest for your crew drain funds fast. Choosing the right weekly events from the calendar to balance risk versus reward becomes key.
Despite some confusing early progression with car purchasing, the Career mode finds a groove once your team stabilizes. The feeling of gradually growing the operation through smart decisions is quite rewarding. Customizing your rally car aesthetically and performance-wise also brings your vehicle to life.
Outside of Career lies the Championship mode for competing in WRC events using real-life drivers and cars. Quick Play then lets you customize single events, while Online Multiplayer delivers on competitive ranked and casual unranked matches.
Moments provide another standout diversion, with over 25 challenges recreating iconic scenarios from past WRC events. These short but thrilling scenarios pit you against the terrain, elements, and clock to replicate feats of legend. More Moments will also be added over time to expand the mode.
For newcomers, the Rally School tutorials are invaluable for learning essential skills like decoding pace notes, mastering surfaces, and nailing racing lines. Combined with the wealth of driving assists, these options ensure EA Sports WRC is welcoming for racing rookies.
Finally, the Livery Editor and vinyls toolkit enable creative players to fully customize their cars’ paint jobs and decals. The vinyls especially allow for pinpoint placement of shapes, logos, and text for limitless design possibilities. Players can let loose their inner artist and have their customized vehicles stand out against the pack online.
With its breadth of varied modes and robust tutorial content, EA Sports WRC succeeds at catering to both casual racing fans and more serious petrolheads. The gameplay diversity is sure to keep players engaged for countless hours burning rubber on beautiful backcountry tracks.
White-knuckle Driving Dynamics
Creating an authentic sense of speed and vehicle handling represents a significant challenge for any racing game. Thankfully, EA Sports WRC delivers driving physics and a handling model that feel planted, weighty, and true to reality.
Previous WRC titles veered more towards loose, drifty arcade-style controls. Codemasters’ pedigree with the precise Dirt Rally handling shines through here, with tarmac and off-road surfaces boasting realistic friction. Tires grip and lose traction predictably based on your speed and racing line. Gravity also makes its presence felt, especially when landing jumps or edging too close to cliffs.
This lends a heightened intensity compared to more forgiving racers, while also providing immense satisfaction when you perfectly thread a clean run. Each surface type – whether loose gravel, snow, rain-slicked asphalt, or bumpy cobblestone – imparts its own unique forces to master. You feel entirely in tune with your vehicle.
The simulation leans towards accessibility over punishing difficulty, with driving assists and tweakable options ensuring every player can discover their ideal handling balance. Traction control, racing lines, and braking assists are available, plus simplified gear shifting. But turning these aids off provides an extra test for seasoned racers.
Realistic damage modeling also plays a role, as bodywork degradation, punctured tires, and failing components make themselves known. Severe crashes force retirement, lending proper weight to each mistake. But small bumps and scrapes mostly add character rather than destroy race competitiveness.
In capturing the treacherous thrills of rally driving with such aplomb, EA Sports WRC’s admirable physics and handling create an unparalleled sense of connection between driver, machine, and environment. This allows everyone from casual fans to diehard petrolheads to experience the full thrill of WRC racing.
A Rally Racing Sensory Experience
EA Sports WRC delivers players to the very locations that host the real-world WRC, impressively capturing their vibrant sights and stirring sounds. From dense forests to quaint villages and beyond, the visual variety shines while performance issues tarnish the experience.
Each rally stage bursts with environmental details, from realistic weather effects like falling snow to muddy ruts carved into trails. Standouts include the rocky Greek cliffs and the sun-dappled vineyards of Croatia. Inside the cockpit leaves more to be desired, with plain textures and a lack of intricate dashboards or working gauges. But gazes will be fixed to the scenery flying past outside.
Engines scream with pitch-perfect authenticity, echoing off rock walls as you carve through snowy passes. Ambient audio flourishes like cheering crowds and nature sounds enliven the audio landscape. The slick electronic soundtrack pumps adrenaline on menu screens but fades wisely during races.
However, significant performance issues plague EA Sports WRC, especially for PC players. Constant stuttering and frame rate fluctuations, even on robust rigs, disrupt the visual splendor. Tracking objects through fast corners becomes needlessly difficult. Such woes appear tied to asset streaming rather than raw horsepower.
Consoles deliver a smoother experience by compromising effects and resolution. But with proper optimization work, capable PCs could easily handle EA Sports WRC at max settings. For now, keeping graphics options in check is advised.
In realization and audio design alone, EA Sports WRC transports players to the WRC in scintillating fashion. But technical problems undermine aspects of both, marring what should be a matchless triple-sensory racing showcase. Some patching could elevate EA Sports WRC to true greatness.
Loads of Content With Room for Improvement
With over 50 rally cars across 17 real-world locations and hundreds of stage variants, EA Sports WRC isn’t lacking for content out of the box. But confusing career progression and weak customization hold it back from greatness.
The headlining Career mode sees you balancing driving duties, finances, staffing, and vehicle repairs across weekly events. While deep, newcomers may find its free-flowing structure overwhelming compared to a fixed calendar. Still, you’re rarely starved for events to tackle.
Keeping your benefactor sponsor happy is key, as meeting their targets and finishing high unlocks increased budgets and perks. But neglecting repair bills, crew rest, and costs quickly spirals. The looming threat of bankruptcy adds lasting tension. Just don’t expect an interactive story.
Disappointingly, creating custom player avatars offers just 20 basic character models and zero adjustments beyond picking gear. Your co-driver by default looks more like “you” than your actual driver!
The vehicle selection spans classic 1960s/70s rally cars to modern WRC beasts, though there are few true road cars. And you likely won’t get to keep many vehicles long-term as higher tier events demand new qualifiers frequently. Still, no two cars ever feel alike.
While more events and cars will come via free DLC and updates, EA Sports WRC already provides a meaty rally package. Just be prepared to push through some opaque progression systems to reach the exhilarating driving at its core. Some quality-of-life tuning could unlock this racer’s full potential.
For rally fans hungry to devour loads of content across scenic locales in myriad machines, however, EA Sports WRC serves up a sizable buffet. Just mind the occasional tough chunk to chew through.
Mostly Free of Cynical Monetization
In today’s gaming landscape riddled with egregious microtransactions, EA Sports WRC arrives as a surprising beacon of reasonable monetization practices. While a couple concerning blemishes appear, Codemasters delivers a refreshing value overall.
No content sits walled behind special editions here, with all cars and stages playable from day one. Even post-launch additions like the Central Europe location will be free updates rather than paid DLC. There are zero microtransactions infiltrating the experience either.
EA clearly mandated their Cuphead-esque Racenet challenges that dish out cosmetics for completion. But these prove inoffensive extras rather than cynical progression gates. You primarily earn new gear just by playing normally anyway.
The sole monetization misstep is locking some Moments challenges behind an EA Play subscription, which seems needlessly divisive. These recreate famous WRC events, so should be freely accessible parts of history.
While EA Play’s monthly cost seems minor, needing a recurring subscription to play slivers of a full-priced title you purchased feels backwards. Let subscribers access perks and bonuses, not core content.
Still, compared to the litany of AAA games with battle passes, XP boosters, and microtransaction-driven progression, EA Sports WRC feels downright pure. Focus remains on the racing rather than revenue streams.
If Codemasters can right the EA Play Moments wrongs, and continue eschewing monetization pitfalls in future updates, EA Sports WRC could become the new industry standard bearer for fair free-to-play structures. For now, players can rejoice in finally having a AAA racing experience without compromise.
A Thrilling New Chapter in Rally Racing
With meticulous physics, sublime handling, and sheer content quantity, EA Sports WRC marks a triumphant new licensed chapter for rally racing games. Codemasters’ pedigree shines through in delivering a thrilling and authentic on-track experience.
The superb driving dynamics lend weight and realism across all surfaces. Accessible handling opens the fun to all, yet displaying skill remains utterly rewarding. Each car feel distinct too, from vintage racers to modern beasts. Add in loads of locations and an extensive career mode, and the content should satisfy for countless hours.
Some progression vagueness does muddy early career enjoyment, and performance woes demand optimization. Cockpit customization and detail also leave something to be desired. But EA Sports WRC provides a bounty of off-road racing enjoyment few can match.
Relative to the minefield of cynical monetization plaguing modern AAA gaming, EA Sports WRC feels practically saintly. No content sits paywalled, and updates are free. It’s how games should be handled.
As a welcoming doormat for newcomers that maintains depth for veterans, EA Sports WRC succeeds admirably. Rally fans have been hungry for a new licensed game done right, and Codemasters deliver expertly.
Minor gripes aside, EA Sports WRC sets a new bar for rally racing’s video game representation. Playgrounds like Finland and Greece come alive as you slide through mud and dust. For players craving authentic rally competition, this should be an instant purchase.
Codemasters has pioneered expectations for realistic rally gameplay for years via their Dirt titles. With EA Sports WRC, they prove they can build upon that legacy impressively even when adapting to an official license. Rally racing has a new leaderboard champion with room to grow into true greatness.
EA Sports WRC
With its meticulous physics, sublime handling model, and wealth of content, EA Sports WRC stands out as a new rally racing champion. Some progression quirks and performance issues hold it back from absolute greatness, but Codemasters have built an authentic, thrilling, and welcoming rally experience that newcomers and veterans alike should love.
- Excellent driving physics and weighty, realistic handling model
- Meticulous recreation of real-world WRC locations and stages
- Tons of rally cars spanning different eras to choose from
- Deep career mode with team management and progression
- Accessible for newcomers with driving assists and tutorial modes
- Livery editor provides extensive visual customization
- Minimal monetization compared to many other AAA titles
- Some confusing and opaque progression systems in career
- Lackluster cockpit graphics and interior car details
- Performance issues like frame rate drops, especially on PC
- Moments content being locked behind EA Play subscription
- Custom player avatar options are very limited
- Can feel repetitive doing stage after stage during long play sessions