WRC: Rally Evolved PlayStation 2
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Evolution Studios
Release Date: Out Now
WRC: Rally Evolved, an introduction.
I've said many times that rally games have probably been taken as far as they can for now. World Rally Championship 4 is probably one of the best games of this type that we've played on the PlayStation 2 but what could possibly have been done to improve it? WRC: Rally Evolved isn't so much a sequel as a side-step in the series. It's not so much about being better as being different with certain aspects of the game.
What's the game about?
WRC: Rally Evolved offers a wealth of modes that should satisfy any rally enthusiast. The modes on offer are Quick Race, Championship, Single Rally, Single Stage, Rally Cross, Historic Challenge and Test Track. Once again, an online mode where up to 8 players can take part has been included too. A big improvement this time around is the enhanced feedback from your co-driver who dynamically reacts to your driving. However this is a feature deaf gamers will be completely unaware of.
What's good about the game?
Fans of the series will no doubt pick out the Rally Cross mode as the highlight as it allows you to have wheel-to-wheel races. Those who normally find rally games to be a little daunting will find WRC: Rally Evolved to be very accessible. The championship modes has been drastically simplified to allow for a speedier play through and the driving aids, when all turned to the maximum, virtually amount to the game being on auto pilot with only the accelerator in need of applying. Of course all of the aforementioned points are a definite bonus for newcomers to the genre but for enthusiasts the move away from such things as a real championship format will probably be disappointing. The game does support the 900 degree wheel rotation feature on the Logitech Driving Force Pro steering wheel which enthusiasts will be pleased about.
What's not so good about the game?
The one problem that emerged a few years ago with Rally titles on the current generation of consoles is that they've been taken as far as they can go in more ways than one. Graphically they can't be improved upon, controls can't really be improved upon and in terms of content we've seen it all before. WRC: Rally Evolved does a lot of things right and is an enjoyable game but at the end of the day there's nothing here you haven't experienced before especially if you're a fan of the WRC series. It's strange that all of the driving aids are enabled to begin with, as it makes the controls feel very unsatisfactory. If you've got a decent steering wheel I would suggest knocking all of the driving aids off for a much better experience. The damage modeling is practically none existent with even the most severe of crashes not making much of a difference to your car, which is something that will irritate enthusiasts. The championships have been simplified which again is going to annoy those who are looking for a high degree of realism. It's a shame that the force feedback can only be turned on or off. With most wheels this probably isn't a problem but I would have liked an option to alter the strength of it because with our wheel (the aforementioned Driving Force Pro), the force feedback was very strong which can make your arms ache after a while.
How does it look?
If you've played World Rally Championship 4 you'll know exactly how good the game looks because it's practically identical. The presentation of the game has been improved a little but essentially it's a very similar looking game. We said in our review of WRC 4 that you wouldn't see a better looking game in the WRC series until the PlayStation 3 launches and we still stand by that comment as the car models and environments are practically the same (and just as impressive given the capabilities of the PlayStation 2) in WRC: Rally Evolved as they were in WRC 4. This is no bad thing of course, as we were happy with the graphics in WRC 4 but those of you who are expecting improvements will be disappointed.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Unfortunately WRC: Rally Evolved is no better than any of the other rally titles we've seen. Your co-driver's pace notes are not subtitled and the icons that represent his instructions are simplistic in comparison to the verbal information that is given. You can alter the timing of these pace notes making them appear earlier or sooner if you wish which is a nice touch. However, this still won't provide deaf gamers with any more information. All other information in the game is given in text.
WRC: Rally Evolved is a good overall package for rally fans. The game has plenty of modes, great cars and some great tracks to drive. The problem is though that there's nothing original here and if you've bought all of the WRC games to date (as well as some of the other rally games out there) you might not be that enthusiastic about what's on offer here. However if you haven't picked up a rally game in ages you would be wise to check out WRC 4 if you're looking for a game that's more simulation based, particularly as it can be found online for only £12.99.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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WRC: Rally Evolved probably isn't the follow up to World Rally Championship 4 that most would have expected. However it's still a good game in it's own right and is more accessible for those who don't normally play rally simulations.