The WRC has been a neglected licence as of late. Codemasters have gradually phased out any reference to it in favour of X Games brashness while Sony have effectively left the WRC name gathering dust under the sofa since 2005.
In comes developers Milestone - best known for the SBK Superbike series - who snaffled up the licence, gave it a lick of paint and delivered us a rather corking little rally game.
As this is 'proper' rally, it means one car at a time, real world stages and a stopwatch. Choose the substantial career mode, though, and you won't get the chance to compare times with Loeb and Solberg in the WRC straight away.
First, you'll have to prove your worth competing in underpowered JWRC Fiestas and Civics, via the S2000 Puntos and Fabias, up to turbocharged production-spec Evos and Imprezas.
Rally games live or die based on the realism of their handling and WRC delivers a surprisingly excellent recreation of off-road driving.
The differences between surfaces are noticeable, each class of car is significantly different than that before it and WRC can deliver white knuckle thrills almost as outstandingly as Dirt.
We say almost, as WRC feels to us like a tribute act. The visuals and cars aren't nearly so crisp and spectacular. The damage (while having great impact on how the car feels) doesn't look quite so impressive.
Little touches, like your wipers cleaning the screen after a water splash and the sound of gravel pinging under your wheel arches are absent. Quite simply, Dirt shows the power of polish.
It's certainly rough around the edges but WRC won us over. It's a solid and capable sim that works hard to prove its worth.
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