All good things have to end and Kylotonn’s stint with the World Rally Championship license is coming to a conclusion. As a swansong, WRC Generations consolidates all the previous content under one tidy package. Whilst they’re not pushing the boat out, there is plenty here to admire and, with the motorsport’s switch to hybrid engines giving the premier machines a new nuance.
Kylotonn’s make some pretty racers. WRC Generations is no exception. Stages are exceptionally detailed and the lighting really helps keep them vibrant. Visual options are pretty rigid with a performance mode that aims for 60 frames-per-second whilst a quality mode caps things at 30 but pushes resolution to 4K. I’ve settled with the fluidity of performance which does appear to hold a steady framerate. Both modes seem to work as advertised but the lower resolution doesn’t compromise too much.
The vehicles are all well rendered and don’t look out of place against the backdrop of the many locales. The classic vehicles don’t fare as well. The fidelity is fine but some do lack accurate liveries. I can understand that from a licensing point of view but I would’ve liked the extra work to secure more accurate logos. It’s a small gripe against a very smart looking game. Dynamic weather and time of day is portrayed really well. Seeing a dry tarmac stage turn wet in real time is fun to see. Seeing sun peer through trees or as you emerge from a canyon is great.
The handling delivers something responsive and tight. It feels pointed and predictable in a way that I managed to rely upon. Obviously, the different surfaces play a hand in how loose the car can feel but the DualSense does help translate some of that. Belgium’s cobbled sections really scutter under the tyres and you can really feel when you transition between gravel and tarmac. The adaptive triggers offer a lot of resistance which really helped me dial in throttle control. It’s not very often the controller adds to the experience but WRC Generations is one of the exceptions.
The championship adopted hybrid engines this year and it’s been integrated pretty well. At it’s core, the driving is not dramatically different but you have the option to tweak mapping to decide what kind of boost you want. As with other motorsports that have made the switch, an electrical motor adds extra power to the standard internal combustion engine. You can harvest this power under braking and unleash it to increase your acceleration out of corners. It does give the 2022 machinery a different feel and the extra boost does give them a greater sense of speed. By comparison, the junior categories feel fairly sanitised.
Each stage feels like a challenge to drive with some of them being quite lengthy. My concentration is usually high as I focus on pace notes and the road ahead. I tend to firmly fixate on a third-person view but the cockpit view is there for those that want to trust in their co-driver. Their calls are bang on and they do seem to get annoyed when you deviate from the track or land a jump too hard. A nice bit of character from voices that would normally sound a little robotic.
When it comes to content, there’s not a lot new in WRC Generations. The historic vehicles on offer have been in previous games as DLC so this feels more like a consolidation rather than pushing the boat out. The whole 2022 calendar is there but there’s also seven rallies from previous seasons. It’s a good, diverse collection with places like Turkey and Germany represented. These are all given time to feature within the career mode which remains largely unchanged from last year.
It’s a substantial mode with the familiar setup of racings being bookended by time back at base. There you can advance your R&D trees or arrange events between rallies to curry favour with manufacturers. Fatigue of your staff members remains a constant concern but now you also have to consider the condition of your car. Maintenance events offer you an opportunity to recover your vehicle’s resilience but I did find these events came few and far between during a full season. Other diversions like training and historic rallies ease up the routine of a WRC season but they can also be tackled outside of the career mode.
Online, things haven’t changed much. There’s the eSports-focused Leagues which give players a persistent challenge to pursue. Co-op career mode is back, allowing a friend to act as co-driver. Still an engaging oddity, even if there’s not much else you can do with it. Players also have the opportunity to get creative by piecing together their own liveries. That might be one way to get around the less-than-authentic historical cars. Overall, despite the abundance of content, it does feel a little stale and dryly presented. Annual sports titles always retain a case of deja vu but it’s a real shame more wasn’t made of this last hurrah.
In a sense WRC Generations is the most comprehensive and densely packed the series has ever been. The handling feels reliable and responsive and rallying across 21 different locations can be a joy. It’s a real test of concentration and the performance holds up whilst looking sharp and colourful. The new hybrid engines give you something else to consider whilst driving but there is a sense the presentation is starting to dull.
+ A wealth of content to dig into.
+ The DualSense is put to great use with resistant triggers and haptic feedback enhancing the experience.
+ Visually striking with very detailed cars and environments.
- Not a lot new brought to the table.
- Historical content is nice but it has been featured heavily in previous games.