| Championship is the really meaty section of the game. Championship is basically a carbon copy of the real WRC Championship. You pick your car, the driver and then take part in the full WRC season that sees competition in sixteen countries. The first noticeable change you will see with the PSP version of WRC is the ghost cars of your competitors on the track as you take part in each stage. I found this quite distracting to start with but after a while you begin to get used to the idea. You will also notice that you have to finish 5 th or higher to progress to the next special stage. There is a reason for these oddities, the developers, not those who did the PS2 versions but a developer called Travellers Tales have tried to make the PSP version of WRC more like an arcade experience rather than the simulation experience you will be used to on the PS2 games such as WRC 3 and WRC 4. I’m not sure it is a good idea to mess with a winning formula and then go against the grain, making a realistic game, less realistic. |
The special stages are quite different also. The PS2 version featured the actual stages from the real thing, this time they are made up in much the same way that Codemasters have with the Colin McRae series. This is most noticeable on the stage like Finland which is known for the huge high speed jumps. The jumps in the PSP version are like 45 degree ramps which launch the car directly into the air causing the car to land nose first and smashing to pieces on contact. The only way to take the jumps is to slow to a snails pace and crawl over them.
The handling is not quite the same as the perfectly weighted feeling of the later WRC games either. You don’t seem to get the sense of traction or speed. The car does feel solid and heavy when you get some air and come crashing to the ground again, but the same feeling doesn’t always seem to feed back when the car is on all four wheels. As you play the game more you get do get the hang of the handling. There are times when the illusion of speed is broken somehow, you car can appear to be moving very slowly and how ever had you try to speed up the car doesn’t feel to be getting the traction it needs. To be fair though, this is a fairly rare problem. As with most rally games, once you get used to the style of driving required you will gain full enjoyment from the game.
The multiplayer mode will accommodate up to eight players on either time trail, turn-based time trial, turn-based single rally or a turn-based championship. Originally the multiplayer part of the game was meant to have 16 loop based tracks. But it seems this hasn’t made it to the final release which is a bit of a shame. Maybe these tracks will be available for download in the future. The only chance you get to actually race other people simultaneously is the time trail mode. As in the single player, other cars appear as ghost cars.
Graphically WRC is pretty good. The main problem I can see is that some sections of the special stages are a bit too dark in areas. The colour brightness could do with a slight increase. General use it is ok, but some stages see the light levels change quite dramatically and it caused me to get a pretty nasty headache. The cars are very nicely detailed, when the car has been smashed up a little the cracked glass and dents in the body work look very good. The scenery also looks good, especially the Swedish stages which see the special stages covered in snow. The falling snow effect is also very nice. When compared to Ridge Racer, Wipeout Pure and Force Pursuit, WRC stand’s up very well to their visuals.
On the whole the sound is very good. The cars sound as they should, you can here the dump valve dumping all the turbo pressure when you lift off the accelerator and you also get the pop and flames from the exhaust at the same time. Each car sounds quite different too. The tyre screeches on the tarmac are a little of the lame side but they are not too bad. During the rallies there is a tune which plays in the back ground, I think it is the WRC theme tune, although it is repetitive to here on every rally it’s quite enough so that you don’t notice it all the time.
Overall WRC for PSP is a really good effort, especially considering its not a port from the PS2 games is really quite impressive. If you have played the PS2 versions of the game, don’t expect this to be identical because it isn’t. The tracks are not the real world ones and the handling is slightly different. But this is a different system and its one of only a couple that I can’t stop playing. It’s really enjoyable and surely worth a purchase for any PSP owner.