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WRC 5... 9 patches later... a review.

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With the disappointment of the Seb Loeb Rally Evo demo (controller issues, no triple screen support, etc), I decided to revisit WRC 5. Found a Steam Key for $20 CAD ($16 USD) and decided to take the plunge. I'll likely be waiting for news of SLRE patches, and for a price drop to around this range. And it's not that I don't enjoy DiRT Rally, just that it lacks volume in track content (more on that later). But I had been reading about all the patches and ongoing support that Kylotonn has been providing. They appear to be really serious about this title and it's fan base, which is something that has surprised me. There's been 9 patches on PC, 9! I've never seen a Milestone game get 9 updates, let alone more than 2 or 3.

First off, you already know that this isn't targeting the hardcore sim audience. Feel free to stop now and downvote this post if you think this doesn't belong. But I've been very impressed with the progress they've made since launch... and here's why I decided to put my $20 down.

First and foremost for me (as a spoiled long time sim racer), triple screen resolutions work. Only disappointment in relation to this is lack of FOV adjustments... but at least you can move the cockpit camera back and forth, and that has helped me with the immersion (I use the cockpit camera closest to the front). Also got a speedy response from them on Facebook regarding that they'll send feedback up and look in to an FOV slider, fingers crossed. Other impressions of graphics, visuals are maybe on par with what I saw in the SLRE demo, if only just a touch behind. But the good news is I'm able to get a fairly steady 60 FPS at 5760x1080 on high settings... something SLRE couldn't do at 1920x1080.

Controllers was a big frustration at launch with WRC 5 (and the SLRE demo). My Fanatec GT3 RS V2 with CSR Elite Pedals aren't in the supported wheels list. But turns out they work just fine, including with the pedals hooked up as a separate USB device (again, looking at you SLRE demo). The axis detection calibration section allowed me to configure the wheel rotation, and this allowed me to map it in the primary controls. I skipped calibration of all the pedals because they were automatically detected, and from the start I was able to map them easily (maybe related to support for ClubSport Pedals). To my surprise I was also able to map my TH8A in sequential mode as a handbrake... unfortunately didn't support analog mode (something I also gave as feedback to Kylotonn). I'm running the wheel at 900 degrees of rotation, and at the default sensitivity settings in game it feels pretty good to me. I did turn down the vibration of feedback, and force feedback is ok (nothing spectacular though). Overall the game feels pretty good with this setup. One note, likely because my wheel isn't "supported" I must use the keyboard to get around all menus and to pause in-game... but buttons map just fine for in-game controls such as gear shifts, camera change, reset car, etc.

This isn't any where near a simulation to our standards, but it doesn't stop it from being fun. Physics are forgiving and you have loads of grip... but there's still plenty of area to make mistakes, there's still punishment for making big mistakes, and it never feels unexpected. If I make a mistake, I can almost always tell you why... and that's good. My big pet peeve is games with driving physics where you can't explain what just happened. Different surfaces feel different, slides/drifts feel rewarding, and in general pushing hard on the stages is lots of fun. Good fun for anyone looking for a casual rally experience. If anything could really use an improvement it would be the co-driver, who is robotic and only just helpful enough... and things like the weather effects (not as immersive as DiRT) and things like the snow banks (feels just like a dirt hill, doesn't really pull you in). On an another good note, they at least let you choose between a tarmac/dirt/snow setup... something even DiRT Rally forgot.

And that's where I get to my favorite part and primary reason I bought the game... more stages to drive. WRC 5 doesn't feature real world recreations, as see in DiRT Rally and SLRE. But the core stage\road design feels good, there's enough variety, the road widths seem good (changes between regions and sections of track, with some fairly narrow sections), and there's enough to make it feel like it really came from that region. If I had one complaint about the stages, is it lacks personality. The audience and surroundings are kinda stale\static... it doesn't feel alive. But WRC 5 features 13 countries, each with 5 stages. Each stage is unique and there is no deja vu, as seen with Milestone's WRC games where it was one big stage (a loop or a Y design) chopped in to a few different layouts. Stage lengths in WRC 5 very from 2.2 KM to 11.0 KM... but if you count them all up there's a total of 353.7 KM of stages! DiRT Rally has around 150 KM (including 3 rally cross circuits and pikes peak) and Seb Loeb Rally quotes around 300 KM. And this doesn't include their eSports DLC packs which adds 1 extra stage to every country; however it sounds like this extra stage doesn't appear in single player career mode... only single stage, single rally and online events.

Overall WRC 5 can be an enjoyable game for most rally fans. Largely thanks to a studio who has listened, regards to fixing bugs and adding features. Maybe next time it will include more realistic physics, but I won't hold it to them; maybe it's not what WRC wants with the license, for appeal to mass audiences. But there's plenty to enjoy here with the volume of stages, and the progression of the career mode (Junior > WRC2 > WRC), and the online eSports competition happening now (just started this weekend). If you can locate it for cheap, I think it's worth trying out. Easily can say I'm enjoying it more than Milestone's prior WRC attempts.

7.5/10

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Are u sure? I watched the gameplay side by side with DiRT Rally and WRC5 is shit. There's not enough detail to get u excited. Thumbs down for WRC5

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As mentioned in my post, defiantly not a hardcore simulation to complete with DiRT Rally or Richard Burns Rally.  But an enjoyable game, that was designed for a mass audience (as probably required by the WRC licence)... think back towards the older Colin McRae (CMR 4 or CMR 2005) or PS2 WRC games (by Evolution Studios).  I'm more than happy to play WRC 5 and DiRT Rally... and all my other dozen or so racing sims... why settle with just one?

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I got a cheap steam key and install the game, out of the bat my diy buttons box + handbrake interfere with the direction buttons and i cannot go down and choose some setting.. weird

since i am leavin for vacation I did not have time to troubleshoot and test the game but i predict a lot of trouble

I do not regret the purchase and look promising thank you DjFIL for the suggestion. 

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Hope you enjoy it and get it working for your setup.  As mention since my controller setup isn't "officially supported", and as a result I need to navigate menus solely using the keyboard.  But that's really my biggest gripe so far, and that's pretty minor overall.

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