It’s that time of year again.
Milestone’s latest rally simulation WRC 4 has landed, and here at TeamVVV we’re blowing it wide open with our comprehensive coverage, looking at every rally location in meticulous detail before our final review.
While many of the stages from WRC 3 have been carried over, WRC 4’s graphical overhaul has transformed them thanks to new lighting effects and texture upgrades, not to mention the new time of day changes which create a much more realistic, natural look, while the reduced visibility in dawn and dusk add new challenges. It’s just a shame there are no night rallies.
WRC 4 also welcomes back the Australian rally last seen in WRC 2, which was removed from last year’s WRC calendar. Meanwhile, some of the existing rallies have been completely remodelled to make them more authentic, new special stages have been added to reduce the number of repeated sections (some sections are still repeated sadly, but it’s not as apparent as before), and trackside details help inject a layer of life that was sorely missing in previous WRC games, such as additional spectators, background architecture and national flags blowing in the breeze. These details may sound trivial, but it all helps to make WRC 4 a closer representation of the endearing atmosphere that being a WRC spectator evokes.
Join us on the journey of WRC 4 as Alan tackles every rally in the game, discovering new special stages and analysing the visual changes.
The Monte Carlo circuit was one of the most faithfully recreated rallies in WRC 3. As such, WRC 4’s version isn’t drastically different to what we saw last year, but the textures have been refined and the different times of day add some additional challenges to this fan favourite. You can practically feel the frostbite.
One of my personal highlights, Sweden is one of WRC 4’s remodelled rallies, featuring vastly improved snow effects and newly added narrow sections that will challenge expert WRC veterans.
The high altitude Mexico rally made its debut in WRC 3. Like the Monte Carlo rally, its inclusion in WRC 4 is a refinement of what we saw before, with better all-round detail from the surface textures and trees to the advanced lighting.
Portugal is back in WRC 4, and while there aren’t any new special stages to speak of, Milestone have remodelled each stage with more detailed textures as well as making them noticabely more crowded with spectators to the point it looks virtually unrecogniseable compared to its appearance in WRC 3:
WRC 4’s tricky, twisty Argentina Rally improves on its predecessor, with better all-round detail and additional trackside objects. Here Alan drives using the Dusk time of day to determine if the lighting is bright enough to still be navigable without the help of headlights:
The dusty trails of the Greece Acropolis Rally return from WRC 3. The structure of the stages remain the same, but they have been aesthetically revised for WRC 4 with improved textures, added foilage, enhanced lighting and improved surface physics:
Italy is one of WRC 4’s all-new rallies, and was first featured in the playable demo prior to the final release. Its twisty sections, rapid terrain changes and challenging corners make for a fun ride on its slippery gravely surface, although we would have liked a few more high speed sections. Here Alan explores the rally in the Hyundai i20, which makes its debut to the WRC game series and will compete in the 2014 real life WRC. It marks the first time Hyundai will have participated in the WRC in 10 years – veteran players will remember driving the Hyundai Accent WRC car in Evolution Studios’ WRC series.
Always a fan-favourite, the narrow woodlands of Finland have been completely rebuilt for WRC 4 following requests for improvement. Featuring new special stages, the flowing nature of Finland has been perfectly captured with a healthy balance of tight corners and harrowing high speed sections:
Another of WRC 4’s new rallies, Germany has been significantly improved since we last saw it in WRC 3, with new narrow tarmac special stages and improved trackside foilage:
Last seen in WRC 2, the Australian Rally has been reprised for WRC 4. Changes are immediately apparent, as Australia in WRC 4 has been heavily revised, with richer lighting effects, improved texture work and an increased number of trackside objects and crowds compared to its visually underwhelming and barren appearance WRC 2:
France returns in WRC 4, with improved tarmac textures and additional refinements.
Spain’s perilous narrow mountain roads return from WRC 3 with increased texture detail in WRC 4, highlighted by the new time of day changes. Featured in last year’s WRC 3 demo, Spain’s narrow rocky roads are very challenging to master indeed, as Alan demonstrates in this not-so-clean run.
Finally, we return to the permanently wet Wales rally. Those of you who played WRC 3 will find the Great Britain stages instantly familiar as the track designs remain the same, but WRC 4’s improved physics make sliding in the mud more realistic and satisfying.
We’ll have another look at the rallies of WRC 4 soon in a series of multi-cam videos that give us a look at WRC 4’s camera options and new rousing replays, highlighting the graphical enhancements made to the stages from different viewpoints. It’s worth noting that WRC 4’s replays look tremendous now: we particularly like the grandiose orchestral soundtrack that now accompanies your powersliding.
As part of our WRC Evolved series, we’re looking at the evolution of Milestone’s WRC series. In the next part, we’ll be bringing you an interview with the Italian developer detailing some of the development process that led to significant changes seen in WRC 4, as well as addressing some of your feedback on the game so far. We’ll also be doing some comparisons between WRC 4 and Milestone’s previous WRC games to show just how far the series has become. It may have taken a while for Milestone to get to the stage it’s at now, but to those that have been quick to criticise the series and comparing it to Codemasters’ DiRT, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.