Turn off the Lights

Hands On: WRC 3 Demo

With DiRT primarily focused on party play this year with DiRT Showdown, WRC has finally been opened a window of opportunity. This year, they have no big money competition, this year, they have a chance. After playing the demo I can tell you that while WRC 3 is not the best rally game on the market, it's certainly among them, and is the choice for rally racers this year.

If you're really serious about rally, you've probably been choosing WRC over DiRT anyway, as the latter has progressively been moving away from pure rally with each outing. The DiRT games are great, but after the original, they're not really rally games. In the WRC 3 demo, you have two modes at your disposal, the first mode allows you to take part in one race in Spain, the other mode lets you race around another track in Spain, but on two seperate race types. In the second mode, the first event is a simple downhill race full of U-turns - not the most fun but you get to know the controls. The second is a rip-off from the DiRT games, Crashbreaker. It's not called that here, but that's what it is. It's an event where you have to smash all of the coloured squares appart from the black ones to accumulate as many points as possible. This is the much easier event as even though you are against the clock, you're given more than enough time and you don't actually have to beat a certain time to get a certain amount of points. While on the subject of difficulty however, it is recommended that you tone the difficulty down in the options menu. The opponent difficulty is set to the middle of the bar by default and I found myself placing 13th out of 16 entries. Push that difficulty slider to the left, and newcomers will find a more possible challenge. In the other mode you get to do a long point A to point B type race and is without a doubt the most exciting race in the demo. See, Crashbreaker is just tedious and drifting down U-turns isn't the greatest thing a rally car can do. But in this race you get to fly over jumps, spin around corners and reach higher speeds.

Outside of the car, the racing seems fairly dull and slow, but switch into the cockpit and you'll find a much more exhilirating experience. I only played the original WRC in 2010, and I never remember having this much fun. You've still got your co-driver barking useful orders at you and the car sounds good on different terain so the audio is all intact. The visuals are reasonable. It depends what you're looking at - the cars, their liveries and their details look spectacular, almost coming close to Forza, and the roads you drive on look good too, but everything else is a bit of a pop-in texture, un-detailed sort of display. But don't worry, apart from that, the demo is glitch free unless you're watching re-plays which are laggy as well as unresponsive.

From what I've played, WRC 3 seems like a good game, classic rally races from point A to B is fun and that's all we ask for as gamers. Don't be fooled, WRC 3 is not a better game than any of the DiRT games, Codemasters have a bigger budget to make the game with and a bigger audience, but WRC 3 is the better rally game than DiRT 2, 3, and Showdown. Definitely Showdown. So it appears Milestone have taken the chance this year, they sit on top of the rally genre. Sebastien Loeb would be proud.


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