After a year of absence, the official video game of the World Rally Championship returns to tread the virtual tracks again at the hands of the French developer Kylotonn, and published under the Bigben label, having reached their fourth title in this series. WRC 8 therefore it enjoys the official license of the current season and can therefore boast tracks, cars, teams and drivers of the three categories WRC, WRC-2 and Junior WRC.

All the 14 rallies of the season are present, for a total of over 100 several tracks that wind from the winding and icy roads of the Principality of Montecarlo, up to the characteristic jumps on Australian dirt roads. A wide variety of surfaces and types of tracks, enriched by the latest innovations: le dynamic atmospheric conditions. During a single test in WRC 8 time can change, going from dry to wet or vice versa, creating not a few driving problems. The choice of the right tires is therefore fundamental if you don't want to do artistic skating on the asphalt, or vice versa if you don't want to consume too much tires for too much fear of the rain. The difference in driving style is there and can be felt, although not too marked. The puddles of water that are formed during downpours, especially in the earth paths, are a good danger if you do not pay attention to them.

WRC 8 review
Torrential rain, mud and ... an ambulance. Oh, and even a Gavon!

The other big news is the practically scratch-free remake of the Career mode, which is presented as the default game mode. Several times, even in the our hands-on during gamescom, the developers were keen to highlight how much they paid attention to fan requests in the production of this episode, and among these one of the most insistent was precisely to increase the player's involvement in his pilot story. Having said that, the Career now offers total immersion in the world of a rally team, and requires managerial as well as pilot skills. Taking part in rallies costs, as well as its own team of mechanics, meteorologists, physiotherapists and financial directors, or repairs to be made to your car after each test. Of course, winning that historic event gives a nice nest egg, but you have to keep in mind the physical form and allow yourself the right rest, otherwise the collaborators leave. Without forgetting the objectives set by the parent company, which if not satisfied by the results will dismiss the pilot and all his world ambitions.

The difficulty level of WRC 8 is set to high, particularly difficult for those who are not accustomed to such titles. Even at medium difficulty, the cars give their work cut out to be dominated, and opponents score challenging times right from the simplest category, the Junior WRC. There is always the possibility to train on test tracks, but the real races are those that advance the player. A slow and long learning curve, but with the right dedication the first encouraging results are beginning to be seen. The category jump brings new problems: the WRC-2 already brings a fair increase in power and the transition from front to full traction, with the WRC at the beginning it seems to have missiles. If you decide to venture into the world of virtual rallying, get ready to sweat seven shirts!

WRC 8 review
A trait apparently simple, but at the top right you can see how 9 penalties have already been accumulated!

WRC 8 is entirely translated into Italian, a great help especially for the voice of the co-pilot. As is well known, this sporting discipline relies enormously on its indications to allow the pilot to face the tracks to the best, and learning the jargon as you play is a very engaging experience. "Jumping on top in left 6 closes" or "right 4 inside house and left 5 not cut" gradually become understandable indications, in the face of an initial disorientation for neophytes. There is no need to fear, however: in the face of any verbal indication, the special icons at the top of the game screen summarize what awaits us on the track.

The painful notes come instead on the graphic. Beautiful landscapes, cute contour elements (helicopters, drones and cameramen that reflect our deeds, but also occasional crashed or broken cars at the edges of the tracks), but the depth of field appears a bit limited, with a lot of mist, in the points where you could take advantage of the opportunity to offer a beautiful view to see. But the red pencil error is the 30 fps. Already not very acceptable in any driving game, it is even more serious if we consider the strong and sudden accelerations that characterize this sport. Not providing adequate visual fluidity greatly limits the sensation of speed that is transmitted.

WRC 8 review
Yet it seemed to me that I had braked in time ...

Some hindrances can sometimes be noticed even on the interface, with overlapping windows or navigation between them sometimes not very intuitive. Nothing very serious, but details of this type sometimes give much more annoyance than one would say.

Another thing that I really didn't understand is the Season mode. It is proposed to be the "Career without Career", in the sense that all the managerial components are eliminated to leave only the rally races to be faced in sequence ... but then why are the choices of the teams limited between three proposed at random, as at the beginning of a career game? And why don't you have the weather forecast available (like we didn't have a meteorologist)? I expected to have everything available to play "without thoughts".

Good, and much appreciated, the historic machines. The gem of the title for those who have some gray hair on their heads and still remember the exploits of the Lancia Delta, or even further back than the Stratos or the Renault Alpine. Completely different in driving feedback, and could not be otherwise, complete an honestly very broad picture of content.

WRC 8 review
Launching the Stratos at full speed downhill is too inviting to not do it!

In summary, if you love the genre, WRC 8 is a good title, rich in content and with a stimulating career mode that provides the right twist to the experience. If you are a newcomer, beware: the game does not discount, and will put a strain on your tenacity and patience in learning how to tame little four-wheeled monsters whizzing along the edges of crevasses, in the midst of snowy woods and slalom between small houses , tree trunks and the public always too in the middle.