WRC 10 brings the heat with thanks to new features and a trip back in time – Hands-on impressions

Nacon and KT Racing’s WRC franchise is back for another year, and much like in 2020, the duo has put forward another interesting, yet challenging, racing experience.

Most racing games usually follow the same script: navigate through clean, nicely-paved roads and attempt to go as fast as you can without crashing. Okay, maybe that’s not completely right, but the WRC franchise is anything but a typical racing series. WRC stands for the World Rally Championship, a series of races in which high-performance cars must navigate through pretty much any kind of dangerous terrain, whether it be flat roads, hills, unpaved straights. And we should mention that the weather can vary as well. One race could be in the sweltering heat of Africa, while the next one could be in the snowy confines of Scandinavia. 

Nacon and KT Racing are up to the 10th game of the WRC franchise, as the aptly named WRC 10 launched worldwide in early September 2021. Despite the fact that an optimized version of WRC 9 launched after the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, this year’s game also marks the series’ first real foray into the next generation.

It’s definitely a big year for the WRC series. Based on our first impressions, Nacon and KT Racing did relatively well.

New courses and new gameplay

WRC 10 sees the addition of several new courses, highlighted by the additions of the Croatia and Chile circuits. The 10th installment of the series, per Nacon, offers a cleaner and more realistic physics engine. Additionally, KT Racing touted that aerodynamic control, the turbo, and braking have all been tuned in order to re-create a realistic WRC race, regardless of surface.

I wrote last year in our WRC 9 review that I was very impressed with the WRC physics engine. That sentiment really hasn’t changed 12 months later. KT Racing has once again done a solid job with the franchise’s physics and racing engine. Cars will slip and slide depending on the state of the road and the weather, and vehicles that hit something will, for the most part, accurately stop. This is not always the case, especially if you hit a wall, but by and large, this is the norm.

Don’t expect this title to have the racing of Forza. WRC offers a sim-like racing experience, and while it might not have the fine-tuned experience that F1 can offer, it does the job pretty well.

Experience the real thing

Image from Nacon

Let’s talk about career mode, which hasn’t really changed a whole lot as compared to last year. Players who start up a career mode will be greeted with mostly the same features: practices, building your support team (ranging from mechanics to even the research and development), and circuit events are all back for WRC 10. On top of that, KT Racing has also added the ability to customize your own livery. Players can design the look of the vehicle that will be brought into vehicular battle.

I remarked last year that while Nacon and KT did a lot right with career mode, the lack of customization was something that held it back. That has been addressed in 2021. It adds another layer that allows users to really connect with the game and make their career mode their own.

A nod to history

Image from Nacon

I should also note that WRC fans might like some of the nostalgia that Nacon and KT Racing has packed into WRC 10. WRC 10 includes special anniversary-theme courses from seven different countries: Monte Carlo, Sweden, Kenya, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain. Players can test their strength in classic courses that riders from the past competed on.

Additionally, WRC includes some of the circuit’s legendary cars, running from the Audi Quattro A 1981 used by legendary female driver Michele Mouton to the Lancia Delta HF 4WD from 1987 that was captained by four-time champion Juha Kankkunen. If you’re into everything WRC and love some of the old racing of the past, these courses and cars are worth the look.

Overall impressions

Image from Nacon

Nacon and KT Racing put a lot of detail into WRC 10. The physics engine, much like in WRC 9, is something to behold. It’s not perfect, but it does replicate a lot of the intricacies of the World Rally Championship. The addition of customizable liveries in career mode adds a nice touch to the game. Outside of career mode, there is a good amount to do, as users can play in Season mode or take part in online club races and multiplayer.

I will say this about WRC 10: this game is not for everyone. If you are looking for a hardcore simulation that is unforgiving, intense, and realistic, WRC will be up your alley. However, if you want a casual racing experience, this game might be a bit tough. Because of the WRC’s narrow and difficult-to-navigate roads, differing weather conditions, and razor-sharp turns, this game really isn’t for someone who just wants to jump right in and race. Rather, it’s for the person who loves messing around with different set-ups and loves the intensity of rally car racing.

If the latter sounds like you, WRC is the kind of game where you really can’t go wrong. But one piece of advice I want to offer is this: get a wheel if you can. You can use a controller to play, but with the amount of weaving, braking, and turning you will have to do in this game, getting a wheel could save you some figurative headaches and literal pain in your hands.