by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
No other console has been graced with such a rich collection of top rally games. The PlayStation, during it's incredible existence saw the beginnings of the Colin McRae series, V-Rally and many others. Now in it's twilight the console can still provide a gripping rally experience and WRC Arcade is proof of this. Of course whilst the modern trend may be towards achieving realism WRC Arcade puts the emphasis, as it's name suggests, on pure arcade action.
Unlike it's 'realistic' counterparts the controls in WRC Arcade are dead easy to learn and satisfaction is immediately forthcoming. The game comprises four gameplay modes. There's the two player Versus mode, Time Trial, Super Special and Grid Race. Grid Race sees you compete against three rival cars in a bid to be first when you cross the finish line. Your performance is rated via bronze, silver and gold medals and points. You have to try and amass forty points from your races. It is possible to unlock further tracks and cars by being successful in Grid Race mode. Super Special is kind of like a normal rally in that it is played over stages but this time it comes with timed checkpoints and over a set amount of stages you have to make your way to the front of the race. In the Easy Super Special for example, it takes place over four tracks and by the end of the fourth race you have to have overtaken 7 opponents to win. The Medium Super Special has 6 stages and the Hard Super Special 8 stages. The Medium and Hard levels have more opponents for you to bypass too.
The action is fast and furious with a supreme framerate. The stages, to be honest are nothing spectacular and unlike modern rally titles, in which it is quite possible to easily leave the track, the stages roads always seem to have boarders around them whether that be rocks etc. or fences. This adds to the simplicity of the game and also the fun for that matter. The stages are from a multitude of countries such as Australia, Spain, Sweden, Cyprus etc. and whilst these are all fictional stages, the terrain from these countries is reflected in the stages. Pop-up occurs frequently and you'll occasionally notice a car spin round a corner and still be visible, even though a cliff or something supposed to be blocking the way. Of course such glitches are forgivable with the speed the game is flying at.
The co-drivers comments are not subtitled but the games developers have colour-coded the directional icons to show the severity of the turns. Directional icons with a green background mean an easy turn, a yellow background means a medium turn and red means a dangerous turn such as a hairpin. This system is indeed very useful for the deaf gamer.
If WRC Arcade has a fault, it's that it's just too short. In all honesty the game is very easy. Whether this is because I have got used to playing rally games where you have to fight with the controls just to keep the car on the road, I don't know. I found myself flying through the Super Special and Grid Race amazingly quick and although it was tremendous fun once you've completed everything you're probably not going to come back to the game very much. In fairness though it is a great game for people who can't be bothered with a realistic rally experience and want a good old fashioned arcade rally experience.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10 Nothing wrong with the game whatsoever, apart from it's length. Once you get into the game it won't be long before you've completed it. A good title for younger gamers who want an uncomplicated rally game.
Deaf Gamers comment: No subtitles but a nice use of colour to show the severity of the turns.