Splitting through a forest at ten-tenths, the sun above piercing through the foliage and the gravel below assaulting your undercarriage, WRC 9 is some of the finest rally racing you can find. Career mode missteps and AI concerns notwithstanding, WRC 9’s incredible stage design and satisfying handling model do make it very easy to recommend to series first-timers – but I’d wager many WRC 8 veterans will find the improvements here fairly incremental after last year’s big leap.
While it’s unfortunate that some modes feel more copy-pasted than others — with all the minor irks and nitpicks from prior now more evident in this year’s outing — there’s still a plethora of content to invest in here. Car classes that handle and feel different to one another as well as an assortment of courses both new and familiar. It may not be the coveted next leap forward given last year’s highly-satisfying rendition, but WRC 9 provides a satisfying-enough reminder as to the heights this series has finally achieved.
Although it feels a slight step backwards from last year, WRC 9 is still an impressive rally game that fans will love.
With driving that is now on par with the competition, WRC 9 will keep sucking rally fans back in for more. Elements around the core rallying action could still do with some added finesse, but when the basic premise is so solid, those issues fade into the background. At last, Kylotonn has delivered on the promise of authentic driving experience, and for a rallying game, I think that is the single most important element.
WRC 9 is yet another tidy entry in the series. It's not a drastic leap forward, but provides enough scope to keep fans of the franchise happy with a very extensive Career Mode and sufficient extras to stop it from becoming a grind. Offroad fans will want to check this out for something a little different from the upcoming DIRT 5.
Now that KT Racing has used the last two WRC games to establish the series as a contender–and take the franchise into the next generation–it’s now time for the developer to do more than incremental enhancements for a presumptive WRC 10 in 2021. By overhauling that UI, making career mode more exciting, and focusing on those smaller details, it could well be the best racing game of next year.