FIA World Rally Championship
key review info
- Game: FIA World Rally Championship
- Platform: PSP
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Racing games remain the ultimate adrenaline shot for those that don't have a license. Others brag about their cars or driving experience, while the frustrated non-driver will be satisfied with a virtual race on his console. If the console is portable, imagine racing while driving a car and waiting for the light to turn green. I bet you'll hear some angry horns before you finish the race. Welcome to the real world!
I always thought that those guys who took part in the rally championships were cool. Many of them got injured or got their car crashed really bad, they got stuck in marshes or were caught by avalanches. They were and still are real daredevils for me and rally racing is not a sport that anyone can do, specially if they don't have stunt driving experience.
It's pretty simple: we're dealing with a rally simulator that allows you to take part in the World Rally Championship. Choose a Quick Rally if you're the rushed kind of player or the Championship if you really care about the racing world phenomenon. Maybe you'll enjoy a race against the clock, so you'll pick a time trial and try to break the record. I had a rough time with the analog system and the directional pad got me driving much, much better. I could really say that the directional system was built too sensitive for this production. Each turn to the right or to the left makes the car go a little too much in the direction you wanted it to go.
Choose between Skoda, Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru or Peugeot or Citroen and find out which brand suits your driving style. Select a single rally if you're in the mood to take Mother Nature for a spin as you face the harsh conditions of off-road racing. The Championship will only progress if you finish each race among the first five drivers, or even win it. Choose between novice, professional, expert and extreme to set up the challenge according to your skills, but I guarantee that even novice is one tough test.
You may be watching Eurosport and you mahy have heard names like: Petter Solberg, Stephane Sarrazin or Chris Atkinson, the drivers that will be available for your choice while playing FIA World Rally Championship. Create a profile before choosing a pilot and a team and select an avatar and a flag. The races will take you around the world, from the frozen lands of Finland or Sweden, to the marshes of Spain and Turkey or the beautiful Cyprus. I've been watching WRC competitions and I can tell you that these locations are real, with the same obstacles I've seen on the sports channel.
The gameplay is pretty fluid for a racing game and everything looks right. However, I found the collision concept to be rather confusing. I can deal with the fact that hitting a rock would make my car flip, but why does hitting some flags get me stuck? If you're really satisfied with the stunts you've managed to perform, I guess you'll watch the replays. I tried to, hoping for good quality, but I got the same crowd graphics issues.
I loved the way I smashed those barriers and official sponsor banners, although the producers prefer to let the gamer fly off a cliff rather than putting some panels on the edge. If you flip your car or fall in the water or from high above you'll be reseted onto the track. There are about 15 cars to race against and the distance between them is not so big. I could criticize the game a lot, but I must admit that the car behavior and looks are great. If you get smashed a couple of times you'll notice that the windshield breaks and the trunk will open. Also you'll lose some spoilers and bend the metal parts upfront. In case you didn't know, rally racing is more of an endurance test for cars and pilots, as the other cars don't quite matter in this race against natural obstacles.
I was surprised to see the way the snow looks like in Sweden. Of course I'm talking about the tracks that you'll have to race on. Detailed cars and beautiful locations may give you the eye candy, but some nasty pixels will take the candy away. Back to the appealing part of the game, I have to say that the rain and clouds looked perfect and the dirt really felt and looked like dirt. I splashed it all over the place, the wheels threw snow on the track in Sweden, the fog caused a lot of trouble and the mud covered the car in several occasions.
The Subaru Impreza never looked this good before and I can say that I've played a lot of racing games. Too bad the forest and trees look so pixeled and the vegetation is a problem in FIA World Rally Championship. Hitting trees is like hitting a wall, it doesn't even sound the same way. I really had fun while driving a Ford, but the fun was spoiled by the public. No, they didn't throw anything at me; instead, they stood there and looked like pictures. Yes, pictures, not even animations and hitting them was like hitting a couple of bricks.
The engine sounds almost realistic, but I felt bored when I listened to the same 7 soundtrack songs over and over again. An UMD that could host 40 songs for NFS could surely take more than 7 songs for this game, since the races are really long and some varied music is needed. The only artists from the soundtrack worth mentioning are Franz Ferdinand with their two songs, "Michael" and "Take me out". Other than that it's just ruckus.
Tires screech like they should and the engine "sings" to any rally racing fan. I hear voices....No, I'm not insane, it's the indications I receive from my racing team. The guy from the pits speaks a bit too fast and the British accent surely kills the whole "conversation". However you'll get used to hearing "easy right, medium left, tight turn, medium right" and so on, and these indications coupled with the on-screen ones will help you take turns properly.
You can go head to head against other players in a time trial mode, where you race the ghost of your opponent. This goes to prove that racing is a single-competitor sport after all. 8 players can join in for a whole championship and collect points or eat dirt while the winner makes it to the hall of fame. There's also a party mode that involves more players and a single controller. Get the best time and pass the PSP around to the ones that feel they're up to the challenge.
It's about time some other rally racing game came along. Colin McRae had the supremacy for many years in this field, but Traveller's Tales hoped to turn things around and shift a gear up and speed to the racing games podium. I can't say they failed, but nor did they make it a brilliant attempt. If it wasn't for the well done weather effects, this game would be a mediocre ome with lots of car licenses and long tracks.