With the recent launch of Dirt 4, i thought it was about time to have a go at Rally Sim Racing and see what all the fuss was about. I must admit that i am not a huge fan of Rally, and my knowledge about it is limited. Non the less, the sport is picking up momentum so there definitely is something about it that captivates fans.
I got the chance to try WRC 6 for a couple of weeks, but i am not here to write a review of the game, as i am at no place to do so fairly. Instead, I want to talk about how it feels to try Rally Racing when you are used to track racing og games like Forza 6, Project Cars and AssettoCorsa.
My first reaction was utter stress. Compared to any other racing i have tried, Rally is intense, all the time. Even the straights are stressing. There is no mini map, and no racing line assist. You have to trust (and listen) to your co-driver who will describe the next couple of corners, obstacles and grip level, in what sounds like codes. It feels like a strong espresso. All the joy of racing, extracted into approximately 7 minutes of utter madness. Similar to Espresso, it might be too much for some, and you can very quickly get too much of it. In short sessions though, it is fantastic!
After getting used to no track map, and the constant but monotonous and mechanical jabbering of the co-driver, i started focusing more on the driving.
The handling and reaction are awesome. Using manual gears feels great and i loved the fast shifts, instant power and predictable steering. Brakes are never as good as you’d want them in racing, but in WRC and assisted by the handbrake, they felt very satisfying. Even a slight tab, to move the weight to the front wheels before tricky corners felt real and you could almost feel the wheels dig into the gravel and grip to the surface.
It’s hard to do a whole stage right with no mistakes but each single corner you succeed with, feels great no mater if it is a tight hairpin or a sweeping fast kink. There is something deeply satisfying about getting rally corners right. It’s a childish happiness or primal joy that sweeps through you, similar to popping bubble wrap or going down a flight of stairs on your bike for the first time.
I am still getting used to the thought of Rally, but i feel a strange mesmerizing pull towards it because it is so challenging, intense and satisfying. Rally is not for everyone and although it is very accessible and easy to get in to (even on console with a controller) you’ll need to put in a lot of practice in, to get good at it.
There are many Rally games out there to try, and many racing games that are working on incorporating rally into their range of racing.
WRC 6 was an eye opener for me, that intrigued me to investigate the sport more. Dirt Rally (and Dirt 4) are good alternatives that we hope to be able to look into in the near future but the upcoming Project Cars 2 will also include at least some sort of rally (snow and dirt tracks). For the next Forza, nobody knows just yet, but it is very likely that it too will work on some sort of off-road racing.
If you haven’t given rally racing a go yet, i strongly recommend you try it. It is intense and it is wild but it is also a whole lot of satisfying fun once you get it just right.