WRC 6 Review

Richard Walker

WRC 5 was a good, solid rally game and at the time, the only real option for rally purists. But in these post-DiRT Rally times, how can WRC 6 ensure it remains a relevant racing title with such stiff competition? After all, DiRT Rally marked a barnstorming return to form and to its roots for Codemasters' rally series, arguably the best non-F1 racing game the studio has produced since the GRID games. Kylotonn's second officially licensed FIA World Rally Championship title, WRC 6 is proof that the French studio has clearly learnt valuable lessons from WRC 5, but is it a meaningful step forward for the series?

WRC 6 is replete with all of the usual modes you'd expect from any racing game worth its salt, from a comprehensive Career Mode to a Custom Championship, allowing you to play through whatever rallies you like in any order, setting your own parameters. There's no shortage of options, in fact, and overall, WRC 6 is a far more fully-featured racer than its predecessor and more polished too. But behind the wheel, things don't look or feel all that different, even if there evidently has been an effort to refine the experience.

WRC 6 sometimes looks genuinely pretty.

For instance, gears options enable you to choose between manual or semi-automatic, so more casual players opting for the latter can force gear shifts up and down if they wish. WRC 6's core rally racing is fairly realistic and remarkably robust, but even on the lower difficulty settings it can be incredibly demanding. Skidding off the road or rolling your car is remarkably easy to do, so fighting through the Career Mode is a lot more challenging than it was in WRC 5. Last year's instalment walked the line between satisfying handling and accessibility quite well, but those hoping for a tougher, more simulation-style rallying experience will be well-served in WRC 6.

Still, Career Mode operates in much the same way as it did in WRC 5, although like the rest of the game, the overall presentation has been lent a slick veneer, with a slightly cleaner interface, a busy garage with your team going about attending to your car, and so on. That said, WRC 6 is still a bit rough around the edges from a visual standpoint. Car models are nicely rendered, but some of the textures can be a bit on the shabby side.

The racing experience is also hugely frustrating, almost without exception, thanks to some stringent time penalties for even the slightest transgression. Veered off-road a bit? That's seven seconds of added time. Cut a corner? Four seconds. In one instance, I went off the track, hit a sign and suffered a loss of time through the act of going off into the verge, but the game decided to also respawn my car on-track and stick nine seconds onto my time. Suffice it to say, I decided to give up on the Career Mode after that, despite being several rallies in. The penalty system is just far too punishing.

Consequently, playing WRC 6 isn't all that fun. I could actually win in WRC 5, and I felt like I was making good, steady progress. By comparison, WRC 6 is the video game equivalent of being repeatedly kicked in the nuts. And I'm sure that some of the instructions from your navigator are just plain wrong, so don't be surprised if you find yourself flying off a cliff edge or headlong into a hedge, especially during the nighttime or foggy stages. Factor in the looming threat of mechanical failure and the chance that you might gain a puncture, and WRC 6 is a taxing game that will test your patience to breaking point.

I'd have also liked to have tested WRC 6's multiplayer modes, but alas, despite the game being out for almost a week, nobody's playing online. Either that or it just doesn't work. It's impossible to find a game. There's offline multiplayer split-screen or the 'Hot Seat', where up to 8 players can take it in turns to race, so you can see who manages to smash up their car the most or accrue the most time penalties. But online? Forget it.

As an accurate representation of rally racing, WRC 6 seems pretty faithful, with the Junior WRC, WRC and WRC 2 all accounted for, but a lack of polish on the track and far too steep a difficulty curve mean that it's a racer that only die-hard fans will enjoy. The rest of us mere mortals will likely find the game far too tough, and even if you put the effort in, WRC 6 doesn't really give much back in return.

Weather effects like rain can have a major impact on your times.

For beginners, there's the Driving Test to complete for recommending the optimum settings based on your performance, while the game's introduction also offers a few stages in which to cut your teeth. But none of it will prepare you for what follows. Sadly, WRC 6 is a fairly miserable rally racer, with Kylotonn deciding to excise driver aids and the optional snapshot rewinds from the previous game that made the whole thing infinitely more bearable. Why, I have no idea.

WRC 6's achievements add little to proceedings too, with a ridiculous list that includes having to complete every one of the game's challenges. An insane grind that only the most masochistic of players will dare attempt. The Career Mode is also rather dull, so only committed players will win every single rally for all of the achievements. Oh, and good luck unlocking the online achievements. At time of writing, it's impossible to connect to an online game.

This time last year, WRC 5 was really the only game in town when it came to proper console rally games in recent years. Now, with DiRT Rally available on Xbox One and PS4, quite why you'd bother with a game as joyless and infuriating as WRC 6 is beyond me. It's a staid, unrewarding affair, and one really only for the most devoted of rally purists. Otherwise, you'd be smart to steer clear of WRC 6.


Turning its back on the options that made WRC 5 accessible to casual players and hardened rally fans alike means WRC 6 simply won't appeal to many people. It's a title resolutely aimed at the hardcore racer, with a stupid penalty system, twitchy handling and as steep a difficulty curve as you can get in a racing game. It's especially galling, as you can see some clear improvements here. I've played plenty of sim racers in the past and enjoyed myself, but playing WRC 6 feels like a thankless chore. Die-hard rallysport fans/masochists need only apply.

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Roaring rally car engines, a slightly nasal-sounding navigator and all of the usual sound effects you'd expect. WRC 6's audio is fine.


Something of an improvement over its predecessor, WRC 6's car models are superb and the environments are often quite pretty. Not a bad looking racer, all in all.


Handling is perfectly solid, but incredibly unforgiving. Clearly Kylotonn has opted to go for the hardcore rally fans this year, and in doing so, have left the more casual racing player, like me, behind. I had very little fun playing WRC 6.


The usual Career Mode, single-player Quick Race options and Custom Championship are all present and correct, while the addition of split-screen multiplayer and the Hot Seat mode are nice touches. However, trying to get a game online is virtually impossible. Presentation is pretty slick, though.


An uninspired, boring list that's far too big a grind thanks to the 'Legend' objective. Rolling your car, jumping into a lake or totalling your car is about as interesting as it gets, which is saying something.

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