Now you'll need to bear with me as I've been binging Gears 5 since it came out. It is very weird going from a cover-based shooter, chain-sawing your enemies with your Lancer to protect humanity to driving surprisingly fast cars on roads that have probably never heard of any council. Everyone has probably heard of WRC in their lifetime, if not it stands for World Rally Championship, which is a global rally event that takes incredibly nimble and fast cars and sticks them on the harshest conditioned roads that anyone would consider to be unethical and a lot of risk assessments being signed, you know because there has never been an accident or any crashes in rally events (sarcasm intended in case you didn't pick up on it).

That's a little lesson for you, now let us move onto the game.

As you can tell by the title there have been numerous WRC games and this one stands out because I can win an event! And I don't mean that in a bad way as if I'm slandering the other games, I mean because it's a healthy mix between true simulation and a smidge of arcade, depending on your personal settings such as STM, TCS and ABS. It's hard to describe but in some sense, I prefer the graphics on this compared to Dirt Rally 2, of course people will disagree, but I am one of those people that don't mind whether it's in 4K or 60 frames per second, as long as the game plays well and feels good and has a decent campaign/career mode then I am satisfied.

So, you start off with the tutorial and met with a dialog box. "How familiar are you with simulation driving" and you choose between Novice, Intermediate or Expert. So, I turned to the missus and said "I've played Dirt Rally and V-rally and F1 games so I think I should be fine". She didn't blink an eye until I said F1 where she turned and said to me and I quote "I'm not a fan of Formula 1 at all but isn't there only off-roading on Formula 1 when something goes horribly wrong?" This of course is true and was very stupid of me to say out loud. Do I regret picking this difficulty level? Yes....yes, I did. First corner and I mean the very first corner and I'm off the cliff! It wasn't a simple off the cliff either, you ever seen The Italian Job? I mean the old classic good one, not the rubbish one after that with the cars that are not mini at all. When the Minis are thrown off the cliff? Yeah it was like the red one where it genuinely should have exploded with the force and amount of fuel in the car. I had an achievement (no word of a lie) called Stuntman for flipping the car, I feel like it mocked me.

After the first tutorial you move onto the next one, which is a useful one but an absolute nightmare at the same time. Seriously rainy conditions on gravel in a front wheel drive Ford Fiesta (I think it's a Ford Fiesta, the Fords these days all look the same). It is the middle of night too, so you have your high beams, but they barely do anything, especially since there's nothing but cliffs on hairpin corners while having to complete the course in 1:20 seconds. Took me about 3 tries but it felt good when I passed then I realised that was just the tutorial, so I was petrified to see what was next to come.

Much like the other rally games out there you have a team to manage, each with their own perks and the better they are the bigger the cut of cash they take from your winnings and if you don't win in the brand of car you drive, it can ruin your reputation with that company and worst case scenario is you can actually be kicked from the team, which is a wonderful feeling in such an easy game (again nothing but sarcasm). After the guide of the team management you move onto your first event. Rally Sweden, nothing but snow, snow and more snow with a smidge of snow.

When you are out on the route for the first time you do get nervous because your co-driver sounds more scared than you, it's like he knows you are terrible at these types of games and is constantly in danger, I wish there was a feature where if you have a microphone you could just tell the co-driver (we'll be fine) to ease him but again where is the fun in that?

One of the things I absolutely love about this game are the sounds of the cars, they really give off that true rally feeling that you just know you are going too fast on a slippery road that is most likely not going to end well for you. A piece of advice for the people like me that can't rally to save their life, when it comes to front wheel drive cars and you have a sharp left/right corner coming up, use the handbrake about 2-3 seconds early and you'll look cool enough to get a cheeky wink from someone in the crowd that cheers at anything.

The graphics for this game are beautiful, the sun shining on the snow to the hazardous rain in the middle of the night while seeing the detail of dirt/snow on your car and not too straining on the eyes like some games. It is the kind of game that you wouldn't think would be that good because it wasn't developed by Codemasters but I promise you this is a hidden gem. If you can please play it or if there is a demo download it.

So in conclusion, a well-developed game that I hope has plans for plenty of DLC because I'll be happy to get them and learn to play this game so I can confidently go at full throttle without sweating like a waterfall.