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Viewing Thread:
'[GAME] WRC 4 (Vita)'

This thread has been linked to the game 'WRC 4 FIA World Rally Championship'.
Wed 15/01/14 at 09:50:
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 1,987
You canít beat a drive in the countryside on a nice day. Clear blue skies, the sun splitting the sky, a co-driver shouting his pace notes in your ear, overwhelming you with directions before you wrap your car round a tree after taking the corner way too quickly. Or so goes my experience of rally driving.

I do like a good rally game, Iím not very good at them but I enjoy them all the same. There isnít exactly an abundance of rally games on the Vita. Gran Turismo on the PSP has some rally stages but it has no career mode. WRC 3 on the Vita was apparently decent but it had no career mode. Spotting a theme here? WRC 4 does have a career mode so it is the best rally game on the Vita by default. But does it deserve that award?

Vita owners have suffered from watered down ports in the past and WRC 3 took some stick for the lack of career mode. Thankfully the developers paid to the grumbles and made amends with their follow up. WRC 4, by all accounts, is the full experience that is available on the home consoles. Single stage events, 3 day events, a full career mode, multiplayer online events, it is all here. At last.

Graphically the game is good; some locations look better than others but on initial inspection all looks good. Look a little closer however and you will see some of the compromises if squeezing it all onto the Vita. The most noticeable difference is the lack of effect on the road surface. Sure, the tyres leave a path of where they have travelled but there is very little in the way of dust caused. Go through a puddle of water and there is no splash. These are minor points that donít affect the playability in any way but they are noticeable. They are perhaps more highlighted by the real rally footage on display at various intervals; there is a distinct difference between what is in the game and what really happens.

Anybody who has read comments relating to any Gran Tursimo game will appreciate how much the vocal community like crash damage in their racing games. In rally games, damage is essential with all manner of trackside obstacle in which you can cosmetically rearrange your car. WRC 4 certainly allows you to wreck your car. Windows can be smashed, body work can be dented and bumpers can hang off. Early on in my rally career, I regularly crossed the finish line in a car that barely resembled the one I started out with.

And so onto this all important career mode then. Youíll start out with a race to prove your abilities. At the end of the race youíll get an offer or two to join a rally team. Starting out in the junior stages, your career should take you onto WRC 3, WRC 2 and WRC as you progress. Unless youíre fairly awful at the game. Youíll have a manager, a co-driver to select and a team principal. Each of them has a photo avatar and with the Vitaís camera abilities, itís a shame you donít get to add your own photo too. You will be set a finishing place target for the season ahead as well as a target at the start of each event. In addition to the placing target, your manager will pinpoint a person you might want to try and beat in order to progress your career. These targets are all set by email so youíve got a bit of computer time to delve into before you get behind the wheel. It adds a little realism to the career mode but it does feel a little shallow. You can bet set a target of finishing 8th. You finish 1st and feel quite proud of yourself. You get a half-hearted congratulation emails that announces your finishing position was within the expectations. Itís not different when you win the overall championship, well above the target set. These emails certainly keep you from letting the success go to your head.

The events are all point to point races. Your time will be clocked against the rest of the field at various points allowing you to monitor how you are faring in the race. No matter how well you drive, youíll never see another car on the track. This differs to other rally games and I do miss it a little. Trying to get past a slow car always added a distraction and a bit of tension. On the other hand, some of these tracks are so narrow you can barely get your own car through. The career will take you all over the world and since this is a WRC licensed game, all are real events in the rally calendar. There is a nice variety of surfaces and locations. You can be driving through the snow in Sweden, which is visually rather impressive, or tearing through the mountains of Mexico fearing for your life at the points where there is no barrier between you and certain doom. Other locations will see you driving through forests or through towns; normal tarmac roads or dirt tracks. The time of day the events take place on car vary but there are times where you feel the cars should really have the headlights on but donít. Perhaps a compromise in getting this onto the Vita, I donít know.

In between the stages of a career event, youíll get to read snippets from the other contenders. If you are racing well enough then they will make reference to your performance or make excuses as to why they couldnít keep up. Itís a nice touch but a contribution from yourself is missing. If all the other drivers can get interviews, why canít the player?

After 2 stages youíll get to repair the damage done to your car. Each repair comes with a time to complete and you have to weigh this up with the time allowed for repairs. Mechanical repairs that can improve performance will normally come before your cosmetics. You can also tinker with the settings on the car to suit the surface ahead. Not knowing the first thing about the setup side of things, I leave it on the default and I canít say Iíve really noticed any difference in the handling on the different surfaces. Perhaps this is down to a limited handling model in the game but Iíll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it is down to the default setting being spot on. The handling certainly isnít arcade style; you wonít be sliding your car round hair pin bends in Ridge Racer style drifts. And get that back wheel caught in a gutter and you can feel the effect.

The game settings can also be tinkered with to tailor the experience more to your abilities. Iím playing on the default settings, on my 3rd season and I have won every single rally event. I might not win every single stage but those few that I donít win, I tend to come 2nd. Iím not great at rallying and there are many bends which I think I could do better but it seems the competitors on the default difficulty arenít that great either. I jumped from Junior WRC to WRC 2 and still blew the competition away. At times I can finish a minute or so ahead at the end of the overall stage. Still, itís a setting I choose to keep as I donít like too much of a challenge.

WRC 4 doesnít have the same sense of speed that the Dirt series had. Early on I found I was hitting tight bends too quickly and I feel part of that was down to feeling I was going slower than I was. I good check the speedometer but rallying, for me, is a game I cannot take my eyes off the track. I put on Dirt 2 to compare the speed and it is noticeable but you soon adjust to that.

The races all play out very well and are exactly as you would expect for a rally game. It is a bit straight laced; there is a lack of the Ďfuní stuff that the Dirt series has included but what it offers is a proper rally career and it does this well. The variety of tracks, locations and surfaces helps with repetition problems in the absence of the Ďfuní stuff. And there is plenty of content to enjoy.

Online events are slightly different in that you will actually see your competitors. This becomes like a normal race, all starting at the same time which is a little different to what Iíve experience before in rallying online. The other cars are ghosts, which does at least take out the idiot mentality where other races are more interested in ramming you off the road. But of course, Dirt 3 offered some fun events online for people who just want to mess about and this is sadly absent in WRC 4. The biggest absence with online is the lack of people to play against. Youíll spend more time waiting than racing.

Best rally game on the Vita by default but it does deserve it.

8
Wed 15/01/14 at 14:26:
pb
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,835
Nice review.

This is one of the few games I don't have on the Vita, but pure rally games don't tend to interest me as much as they once did.
Wed 15/01/14 at 09:50:
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 1,987
You canít beat a drive in the countryside on a nice day. Clear blue skies, the sun splitting the sky, a co-driver shouting his pace notes in your ear, overwhelming you with directions before you wrap your car round a tree after taking the corner way too quickly. Or so goes my experience of rally driving.

I do like a good rally game, Iím not very good at them but I enjoy them all the same. There isnít exactly an abundance of rally games on the Vita. Gran Turismo on the PSP has some rally stages but it has no career mode. WRC 3 on the Vita was apparently decent but it had no career mode. Spotting a theme here? WRC 4 does have a career mode so it is the best rally game on the Vita by default. But does it deserve that award?

Vita owners have suffered from watered down ports in the past and WRC 3 took some stick for the lack of career mode. Thankfully the developers paid to the grumbles and made amends with their follow up. WRC 4, by all accounts, is the full experience that is available on the home consoles. Single stage events, 3 day events, a full career mode, multiplayer online events, it is all here. At last.

Graphically the game is good; some locations look better than others but on initial inspection all looks good. Look a little closer however and you will see some of the compromises if squeezing it all onto the Vita. The most noticeable difference is the lack of effect on the road surface. Sure, the tyres leave a path of where they have travelled but there is very little in the way of dust caused. Go through a puddle of water and there is no splash. These are minor points that donít affect the playability in any way but they are noticeable. They are perhaps more highlighted by the real rally footage on display at various intervals; there is a distinct difference between what is in the game and what really happens.

Anybody who has read comments relating to any Gran Tursimo game will appreciate how much the vocal community like crash damage in their racing games. In rally games, damage is essential with all manner of trackside obstacle in which you can cosmetically rearrange your car. WRC 4 certainly allows you to wreck your car. Windows can be smashed, body work can be dented and bumpers can hang off. Early on in my rally career, I regularly crossed the finish line in a car that barely resembled the one I started out with.

And so onto this all important career mode then. Youíll start out with a race to prove your abilities. At the end of the race youíll get an offer or two to join a rally team. Starting out in the junior stages, your career should take you onto WRC 3, WRC 2 and WRC as you progress. Unless youíre fairly awful at the game. Youíll have a manager, a co-driver to select and a team principal. Each of them has a photo avatar and with the Vitaís camera abilities, itís a shame you donít get to add your own photo too. You will be set a finishing place target for the season ahead as well as a target at the start of each event. In addition to the placing target, your manager will pinpoint a person you might want to try and beat in order to progress your career. These targets are all set by email so youíve got a bit of computer time to delve into before you get behind the wheel. It adds a little realism to the career mode but it does feel a little shallow. You can bet set a target of finishing 8th. You finish 1st and feel quite proud of yourself. You get a half-hearted congratulation emails that announces your finishing position was within the expectations. Itís not different when you win the overall championship, well above the target set. These emails certainly keep you from letting the success go to your head.

The events are all point to point races. Your time will be clocked against the rest of the field at various points allowing you to monitor how you are faring in the race. No matter how well you drive, youíll never see another car on the track. This differs to other rally games and I do miss it a little. Trying to get past a slow car always added a distraction and a bit of tension. On the other hand, some of these tracks are so narrow you can barely get your own car through. The career will take you all over the world and since this is a WRC licensed game, all are real events in the rally calendar. There is a nice variety of surfaces and locations. You can be driving through the snow in Sweden, which is visually rather impressive, or tearing through the mountains of Mexico fearing for your life at the points where there is no barrier between you and certain doom. Other locations will see you driving through forests or through towns; normal tarmac roads or dirt tracks. The time of day the events take place on car vary but there are times where you feel the cars should really have the headlights on but donít. Perhaps a compromise in getting this onto the Vita, I donít know.

In between the stages of a career event, youíll get to read snippets from the other contenders. If you are racing well enough then they will make reference to your performance or make excuses as to why they couldnít keep up. Itís a nice touch but a contribution from yourself is missing. If all the other drivers can get interviews, why canít the player?

After 2 stages youíll get to repair the damage done to your car. Each repair comes with a time to complete and you have to weigh this up with the time allowed for repairs. Mechanical repairs that can improve performance will normally come before your cosmetics. You can also tinker with the settings on the car to suit the surface ahead. Not knowing the first thing about the setup side of things, I leave it on the default and I canít say Iíve really noticed any difference in the handling on the different surfaces. Perhaps this is down to a limited handling model in the game but Iíll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it is down to the default setting being spot on. The handling certainly isnít arcade style; you wonít be sliding your car round hair pin bends in Ridge Racer style drifts. And get that back wheel caught in a gutter and you can feel the effect.

The game settings can also be tinkered with to tailor the experience more to your abilities. Iím playing on the default settings, on my 3rd season and I have won every single rally event. I might not win every single stage but those few that I donít win, I tend to come 2nd. Iím not great at rallying and there are many bends which I think I could do better but it seems the competitors on the default difficulty arenít that great either. I jumped from Junior WRC to WRC 2 and still blew the competition away. At times I can finish a minute or so ahead at the end of the overall stage. Still, itís a setting I choose to keep as I donít like too much of a challenge.

WRC 4 doesnít have the same sense of speed that the Dirt series had. Early on I found I was hitting tight bends too quickly and I feel part of that was down to feeling I was going slower than I was. I good check the speedometer but rallying, for me, is a game I cannot take my eyes off the track. I put on Dirt 2 to compare the speed and it is noticeable but you soon adjust to that.

The races all play out very well and are exactly as you would expect for a rally game. It is a bit straight laced; there is a lack of the Ďfuní stuff that the Dirt series has included but what it offers is a proper rally career and it does this well. The variety of tracks, locations and surfaces helps with repetition problems in the absence of the Ďfuní stuff. And there is plenty of content to enjoy.

Online events are slightly different in that you will actually see your competitors. This becomes like a normal race, all starting at the same time which is a little different to what Iíve experience before in rallying online. The other cars are ghosts, which does at least take out the idiot mentality where other races are more interested in ramming you off the road. But of course, Dirt 3 offered some fun events online for people who just want to mess about and this is sadly absent in WRC 4. The biggest absence with online is the lack of people to play against. Youíll spend more time waiting than racing.

Best rally game on the Vita by default but it does deserve it.

8

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