EA Sports WRC

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Codemasters
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2023

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS5/XSX/PC Preview - 'EA Sports WRC'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Oct. 13, 2023 @ 12:45 a.m. PDT

EA Sports WRC, the official game of the FIA World Rally Championship, is the first truly next-generation rally game and the quintessential title for sim-racing enthusiasts.

Codemasters has a big rally seat to fill with EA Sports WRC. For nearly the past decade, if you wanted to play a WRC game, you played one of the many developed by Kylotonn. Now the rights have been transferred, and a new developer using a different engine is behind the wheel. In my time with a preview build of EA Sports WRC, the game does well in matching the standard set by its predecessors.

It shouldn't be much of a surprise, given that Codemasters is also behind the well-received Colin McRae Rally and DiRT series. Obviously, those games let you spend a fair amount of time ripping around in the dirt (and snow and sand). EA Sports WRC is aiming to be different from those games, given its fresh take on the career mode and the ability to build your own rally car for competition.

You can start your career in the main WRC competition, or you can choose to start in WRC 2 or the Junior WRC series and work your way up. Every year is broken up into a series of weeks, with each one containing quite a few events to choose from. You can only participate in one event per week, and you must ignore the rest, so choosing carefully is a big part of a career strategy. Some rally events require you to have a certain car (or be in the right series) to enter. Other events let you hire staff or allow some of them to rest to regain stamina if they've been assigned to a few rally events and need a break.

You have a weekly budget to keep your benefactor happy. Hiring a bunch of engineers might make your repairs take less time in between events of a series, but going over that budget isn't a long-term strategy, given the harm it will cause to your relationship with the person holding the wallet. Repairs have a weekly budget as well, so if you do a number on your car during a series and must perform some expensive repairs, you'll raise some eyebrows when the budgets are tallied at the end of the week.

You can choose that nice, pre-built Ford Fiesta rally car for your career chariot, or you can opt to build a custom car. You can choose components such as the engine, gearbox, and body style. You can also select if you want to use brand-new parts or used ones to keep costs down, but they may come with some reliability concerns. Finally, you can select relatively inconsequential things like the steering wheel, seat, or dashboard unit for the cabin to add your own personal touches.

The Unreal Engine 5 is powering the game, and to no one's shock, it can deliver some great visuals. More importantly, the vehicle handling feels intact. Each surface type feels distinct and leads to varying yet predictable levels of grip once you get used to them. Once I got things dialed in, I was quickly able to whip around some hairpin turns and fling some gravel. When things go wrong and you drop a wheel in a bad spot, you can usually tell what will happen, and the result rarely feels overly punishing. You can still slide off the road due to a tiny mistake and wreck your car against a tree, but in my experience, it always felt like a mistake that I made and not the game being unfair in how it dealt with my driving.

It won't be long now before the full version of EA Sports WRC is released on Nov. 3, 2023. Obviously, much remains to be seen about how the entire game pans out, but what I've seen thus far has me cautiously excited. Different developer and game engine or no, if the preview build is any indication, EA Sports WRC is well poised to deliver a solid rally experience.

Previewed on: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 4070 Ti, Xbox One Controller

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