Three and a half years after the excellent DiRT Rally 2.0, Codemasters, now under the EA family, returns with a new rally game, EA SPORTS™ WRC.
Thanks to EA’s firepower, Codemasters has finally obtained the WRC license. This new EA SPORTS™ WRC promises us rich content, ultra-realistic gameplay, and breathtaking graphics.
EA has released a gameplay video that allows us to discover a little more about this new title. Let’s take a closer look.
World Rally Playground: Over 200 Stages!
EA has announced an impressive roster of over 200 stages across 17 diverse locations for its new rally license EA Sports WRC. More than the number itself, it’s the effort put in by Codemasters that’s impressive. For the first time, the 200 stages will be ultra-faithful replicas of real roads.
I know I can’t wait to take on the special stages on the Col du Turini at speeds of up to 200 km/h, or any of the roads in the Finnish snow.
Car Roster Showcase: From Legendary Racers to Modern Machines
The vehicles are equally impressive, with a selection of 80 cars that you can use to navigate both asphalt and muddy terrains. Ranging from Sebastien Loeb’s Citroen C4 to the legendary Colin McRae’s Subaru Impreza WRX STI and renowned Group B cars such as the Audi Quattro.
Modern cars, including the official 2023 RC1 and RC2 models like the Hyundai i20 hybrid and Volkswagen Polo GTI, will also be available. With such a wide range of cars, it’s a safe bet that the gameplay will cater to the preferences of all players.
Steering Towards Realism: The Grip, The Slip, and The Flip
Compared to previous Codemasters titles, a number of improvements have been made, particularly in terms of grip on tarmac, force feedback, aerodynamics, engine inertia and progressive braking. Codemasters relies on a brand new Dynamic Handling System and feedback from professional drivers to deliver the most realistic handling in EA SPORTS™ WRC.
Leveraging their extensive experience in F1 and Rally simulations, the British developers promise us authentic driving sensations. Codemasters has made every effort to ensure that its simulation caters to novices and experts alike. You’ll have the flexibility to fine-tune the assistance settings according to your preferences, and you can also select between two distinct note systems.
EA SPORTS™ WRC faithfully recreates the intricate scoring system used by professional drivers in the game, but to avoid losing the Sunday driver in you, you will have the option of using a simplified note system.
Codemasters Set Its EGO Aside For Unreal Engine
Ego, Codemasters’ in-house engine used since Colin McRae: Dirt, is retiring with the new EA SPORTS™ WRC. Officially, the reason for the engine change is technical. Codemasters aims to introduce special stages of up to 30 kilometers in length, a significant increase compared to the previous engine’s limit of 13 kilometers in Dirt Rally 2.0.
It’s also likely that the motivation behind the move is a cost-cutting aspect for EA, as it’s much easier to find development teams used to work on the Unreal Engine than on Codemasters’ in-house engine.
While there’s no official confirmation regarding the version of the Unreal Engine that powers EA SPORTS™ WRC, the absence of any announcements suggests that it’s likely running on Unreal Engine 4.
If Unreal Engine 5 had been utilized, it’s reasonable to assume that EA’s marketing team would have prominently featured UE5 logos, although this is purely speculative on my part.
When it comes to graphics, the gameplay video that’s been released showcases some impressive visuals. The cars appear to be perfectly modeled, with detailed interiors. While Dirt Rally 2.0 was already a strong game overall, the environments in EA SPORTS™ WRC, powered by the Unreal Engine, appear to have truly embraced the Next Gen gaming. The level of detail in the road surfaces and immediate surroundings is striking, though there may be some slight blurriness on certain textures.
For the first time in Codemasters’ rally simulation history series, players will now be able to participate in rallies across all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. This expansion brings a dynamic element to the game, as Codemasters assures that each vehicle’s performance will be influenced by the diverse terrain and weather conditions it encounters. With this update, there’s optimism that the previous “floating sensation” of vehicles on the asphalt, a concern in earlier Codemasters’ releases, will be resolved thanks to the introduction of a new physics engine.
Furthermore, the attention to detail extends to environmental aspects such as rain, which is impressively depicted on both the car’s bodywork and the road surface, providing an authentic and engaging experience.
I guess we’ll have to assess once more after we’ve had a chance to finish the game.
Vroom, Screech, Boom! Get Ears-Deep in Rally Atmosphere
In any good car simulation, you have to have some immersive sound that really does the job. Since we can’t catch a whiff of that petrol in a simulator, it’s all about hearing those mechanics at work and the tires screeching around the corners.
Codemasters, knowing the enthusiasts we are, didn’t skimp on this one. They’ve gone ahead and meticulously captured all sounds you’d expect from real rally cars – the bumps, the scraping of the floor, those gear shifts, and, of course, the sweet engine roars, all recorded with top-notch quality.
What’s more, as you’re tearing up the tracks, you’ll have your co-driver and engineer chiming in, adding that extra layer of atmosphere and realism to the whole experience.
Game Modes More ways to conquer the world of rallying
EA SPORTS™ WRC offers a plethora of engaging modes, let’s take a closer look at what’s in store.
Career mode, which lets you choose to start in the category of your choice. is the cornerstone of the player’s personal rally story. From creating your team and its unique identity to strategically planning your rise through the WRC ranks, this mode is a complete simulation of the life of a rally driver.
The inclusion of a benefactor adds an intriguing strategic layer, as pleasing the benefactor is crucial to securing the funds needed to progress the team.
Moments mode, meanwhile, takes players on a nostalgic journey through the annals of rallying history, introducing them to scenarios that have shaped the sport as we know it today. It’s not just about experiencing these iconic moments, it’s about redefining them.
Every challenge met, every medal won is a tribute to the legends of the past, etching the player’s name alongside them.
The Regularity Rally introduces a discipline that demands a mixture of precision and restraint, a stark contrast to conventional speed rallies. It’s a test of pace and control, where the aim is to maintain a set average speed over different stages. This mode not only diversifies the gameplay, but also hones a different set of driving skills, underlining the multi-faceted nature of rally racing.
What’s more, the game extends its educational element with the Rally School, which teaches the nuances of rally driving. This is a fundamental step for newcomers, levelling the playing field and improving the overall competitiveness of the community.
Championship mode immerses players in the most intense WRC seasons, offering a direct dive into the heart of the competition, while quick play options cater for those looking for instant gratification, whether solo or with friends. Clubs, meanwhile, focus on the community aspect, providing tools to orchestrate events and championships, fostering camaraderie and friendly rivalry within the global player base.
We indeed find the classic Time Trial, which presents itself as the ultimate test of speed and skill, a mode where players can chase perfection down to the millisecond, making it an attractive playground for highly competitive players and those aiming for esport glory.
Finally, EA SPORTS™ WRC introduce a Builder Mode which seems to be a groundbreaking feature that allows players to engineer their rally cars from scratch. This isn’t just superficial customization; it’s an in-depth dive into automotive craftsmanship.
Players start by selecting foundational elements like chassis and engine position, fine-tuning every functional aspect from suspension systems to gearbox configurations to match their driving style.
But Builder Mode isn’t solely about what’s under the hood. Players can shape their vehicle’s visual identity, customizing body panels, crafting liveries, placing sponsor decals, and personalizing driver suits.
Every detail, functional or aesthetic, can be adjusted, allowing players to infuse their personality into their cars.
EA Sports WRC: PC Configuration Recommendations
The recommended configuration for this EA Sports WRC remains reasonable:
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X intel i5 10600K
EA SPORTS™ WRC: Release Date and Pre-order Bonuses
EA SPORTS™ WRC Release date is set for November 3, 2023, for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®5, and PC. There has been no word on a Nintendo Switch release date, but if we were to speculate, it is likely to be early 2024..
Notably, EA SPORTS™ WRC won’t be included in Microsoft’s Game Pass lineup. However, it comes at a reasonable price of $49.99, demonstrating EA’s consideration for rally fans’ wallets.
You can pre-order the game via the official website, or via Amazon. As an added bonus, pre-orders come with:
– 3-day early access,
– Five VIP Rally Pass seasons,
– 3x Team Apparel Pack (Toyota, Ford, Hyundai)
EA Sports WRC
Release Date: 3, November 2023
Available on: Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®5, and PCPre Order Now EA SPORTS WRC 15 on Amazon
Final Take: EA SPORTS™ WRC Set to Redefine Rally Simulation
The new EA SPORTS™ WRC appears to be Codemasters’ most ambitious rally title to date, with ultra-realistic stages and cars, gameplay fine-tuned to appeal to both novices and experts, and Next-Gen graphics thanks to Unreal Engine. This EA SPORTS™ WRC could establish itself as the new benchmark in rally simulation. We can’t wait to get our hands on it and try it out.
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