EA Sports WRC, Electronic Arts’ rally simulation developed by Codemasters and using Unreal Engine 4 technology, is out for the first time this year. Since Codemasters had previously developed series such as Dirt and Dirt Rally, I started playing this game thinking that they would have the experience in this game as well. However, after a while I realized that there were some things that felt raw to my eyes and this feeling never diminished throughout the game. Let’s take a look at what the new rally simulation is like, cooked, and raw.
EA Sports WRC was a disappointment for me
Having played and enjoyed Codemasters’ games since Dirt Showdown, WRC was a game I went into with high hopes. After all, the studio had a lot of experience in making both racing games and rally simulations. They had even developed F1 23, which we also reviewed this year, and I had played the game and liked it a lot, so I expected nothing less from WRC. But things didn’t turn out as I expected. Before I start, I can safely say that EA Sports WRC is a game that can only be recommended to fans of the series.
Vehicle physics and the effect of the terrain on the driving are not annoying
When it comes to simulation, not only the handling of the vehicle, but also the interaction with the environment and the ground is of great importance. In this sense, I can say that there is no glaring deficiency in the WRC. The exciting high-speed rally races you’ve been waiting for have taken their place in the game, and you can fight against the ground and time by following the directives of your co-driver. Asphalt, gravel and snowy surfaces differ from each other, and you need to adopt a driving style suitable for all of them.
Before entering the races, you can enter the warm-up round called “Shakedown” to get a taste of the track if you wish, and you can edit the parts you see missing in your car before entering the actual race. In the interface where you set up your car, you can tinker with all the details and make it the most suitable for the race in question. In this sense, it offers you what you expect from a simulation game.
A game that gives the feeling of progression in career mode
EA Sports WRC also features a career mode, where you can race towards championships with a driver you name yourself. You can also build your own car in this mode, where you can buy new vehicles, customize your car and sail towards more challenging races. The freedom given to the player in this section greatly increases the cohesiveness of the career section. As you know, as important as online competition is in sports games, career mode is one of the few features that keeps the player in the game for a long time. In EA Sports WRC, the career mode is built on good foundations.
But as you progress through the championships and races on the calendar, the sense of progression is not intense. So you’re basically doing the same things, but it doesn’t reward you for playing better. Okay, it’s a rally simulation, and we’re supposed to do the same thing every time, but the player needs a little more satisfaction after doing well. Maybe the players who have played it until reading this article will disagree with me, but that’s how I feel in general.
Tick, tock, technique!
As for the technical side of the game, I have to say that the choice of Unreal Engine 4 had a direct negative impact on the game’s fate. While I’ve come to like the fact that Electronic Arts has been using the Unreal Engine more and more in their recent games, WRC is one of the bad fruits of this. Since it’s coming out on next-gen consoles, I’m guessing that it was developed with Unreal Engine 4.25 or higher, and I can only say that what I saw was a shame for both the game and the engine.
On the performance side, the game brings the curse of the technology it uses. Although I haven’t experienced it myself, I’ve observed that other players have also experienced frequent crashes. Other than that, my experiences include frequent stuttering and a very low overall frame rate average. It’s really disappointing that an experienced studio like Codemasters and a major publisher like Electronic Arts are still dealing with these issues in 2023.
Aside from the overall performance, there are some visual glitches in the game. Shader rendering issues, environmental materials that don’t look right, and gravel roads that look both confusing and awful, especially during night races. All of this, on top of the already existing issues like stuttering, crashing and low frame rate, overshadows the realistic vehicle physics, decent sound design and licensed rally cars.
Moreover, I can’t say I like the game’s graphics. Even if you’re playing on Ultra settings, the little grasses around have no shadows, the particle effects aren’t detailed enough, the tree models look jagged even with antialiasing on the most detailed setting. Believe me, if Codemasters didn’t have great rally games like Dirt Rally 2.0 in their hands, I would love to blame the studio, but the biggest mistake here is the choice of game engine. And it’s not the new and barbaric Unreal Engine 5. It’s Unreal Engine 4, which has survived the test of time and hundreds of great games have been made with it. I guess the studio will have to have enough time to develop a few more games with this engine to fully utilize its potential.
In short, EA Sports WRC is a game that I can recommend to you under exceptional circumstances. If you like pure rally simulations and have a dedicated PC setup, that’s not enough for me to recommend the game to you. You also need to have a computer that is well above the system requirements, and you should not have played Codemasters’ great games like Dirt Rally 2.0 before. Otherwise, like me, the bugs in the game will start to creep up on you and maybe the experience that you would have enjoyed so much will be broken in the middle.
Dear rally lovers, we have come to the end of our EA Sports WRC review content. If you still have any questions in your mind, don’t forget to share them with me and our other dear readers in the comments. You can also turn on notifications to be instantly informed about our special content. Hope to see you in another review, stay with love and games.
EA Sports WRC Review
EA Sports WRC is a game recommended under specific conditions. It's suitable for those who enjoy pure rally simulations and have a high-spec PC, but it's not recommended for those who have already played Codemasters' Dirt Rally 2.0 or similar titles. The game has bugs that can detract from the experience. The review concludes by inviting readers to ask questions in the comments, suggests enabling notifications for more content, and expresses a wish to see readers in future reviews, ending with a message of affection for games.
Vehicle Physics and Terrain Interaction
Career Mode and Player Progression
Technical Performance and Stability
Graphics and Visual Fidelity
Sound Design and Atmosphere