Gegsy is back from his year long tour of Europe and here is his first review.
Due to a certain football managerial simulation on my P.C. I don't tend to get much time to play other games these days and if I do they never tempt me away for long. So when World Rally Championship 4 landed in my lap this week I was very interested to see how long I would be away from my other life. I set myself up for the night on the PS2 and decided to see what the thrills and spills of professional Rally driving could offer me.
Now before I begin to delve into the game I have to a three confessions to make. The first is that I have never played any of the previous games in this series so it is completely new to me. The second is that I don't have any interest at all in Rally driving; I know it exists but it has passed my attention by for all of my growing years. The third confession is that it has been ten minutes since I resigned from football management and I am already itching to get back.
This is the fourth game of this series and it is the only officially licensed game on World Rally Championship. All of the cars are there, if you have always wanted to drive a Ford Focus RS then this is the place to do it, and boy can these monsters move! I have to say that the first thing I noticed when I began to play this game was the rush of pelting down a gravel road and a stupid speed and the exhilaration of screaming round a corner of two wheels. WRC 4 has plenty of options to keep you going and there are many features in this game to keep any Rally fan happy.
The main part of the game is the gruelling 16 course season, from Monaco right through to Australia the whole lot is there. Every corner, bend and straight is packed into this game. You can pick one of the real life drivers and compete against the rest to come out on top, hopefully with a car still left. After each race you gain a total based on your performance and you have to use this to fix any damage to the car, and if you drive like me there is a lot to fix.
I was extremely impressed with the physics and feel of the game, the car handles very well and you feel as though you are there. The tracks vary from asphalt to gravel tracks and country lanes and with each one the car reacts very well, many driving games don't feel like the car is on the track but this one definitely does.
I have to admit I did get distracted with smashing up the car, I have a destructive nature and once I realised how effective and real the damage to the car was I had a lot of fun. The detail in this game is brilliant, the number plate is visible instead of just a yellow blur, there is nothing more satisfying that seeing steam come out of the engine and parts of the car hanging on by the thinnest piece of metal. The main complaint I had though was that I know these cars are tough but they wouldn't take as much damage that is handed out in this game. Also when you go sailing off into the trees you are automatically reset onto the road which just takes away from the whole experience.
When I had got over the smashing I started to play the game properly and really got hooked. The tracks and scenery on offer are the best that I have seen in a driving game; you see barns, tractors and village buildings that are as detailed as the cars. Even the small pockets of spectators look very realistic, they are also the bravest people I have seen, when a rally car careers at the barrier they are standing behind they stand their ground. The barriers are the toughest I ever have seen, hit them at full pelt and they don't give! I suppose there is only so far you can go with how realistic a game is.
This game is packed with features, as well as the full season you have an option to race a Time Trial stage, there is an Events mode where you have different tasks and scenarios set or you can just jump straight into a random track in the Quick Race option. There is also the option to play Online where you can race against gamers around the globe and post your best times up on the board at the official site.
As you progress during the game you have the opportunity to unlock a load of extra features on the game and you have the option on what you unlock, it can be quite tough though because the features can cost a lot of points. However the game has a good medium in playing levels, it is not so tough that complete beginners struggle to play and it is not too easy that more experienced gamers will find it boring.
Altogether WRC 4 offers a really good gaming experience, it is not the best game I have ever played but it got me away from the rigours of football management for the night and I kept going back to it during the time that I had the game. I don't usually play these types of games but I would definitely consider buying this game, it is addictive and would be a must for any fan of the sport, especially having the official licence.