Want to tackle the treacherously slippery roads of the Monte Carlo rally?
Reckon you can drift on dirt like a pro? Well, chances are you won’t be signing
any deals with a works team so the closest you can get is this – WRC: Rally
Evolved for Sony PS2.
If you’re familiar with other rally games of the past year or two, WRC: Rally
Evolved isn’t dramatically different in any way – it’s just, as the name
suggests, an evolution. You get to chose from the latest cars and drivers, the
graphics are about as good as they come and the game-play is intuitive.
Rally Evolved offers a wide range of modes to suit all skill levels and you
can pickm - depending on your
mood and how much time you’ve got to kill - from quick race, championship, rally-cross (door-to-door competition
against other cars), test track, single rally and single stage. It can also accommodate one to four
players or up to 16 on-line. After getting acquainted with the tracks and
handling of the relatively slow 1600cc class cars, you can step up to the WRC
machines such as the Evo, STi, Pug 306 and Focus.
The rally circuits vary from the snow of Sweden to the rocky roads of Cypress. Rally Australia also
gets a guernsey with some stages affected by fire and thick smoke (which reduces
visibility). It’s these characteristics that make this game stand out from its
rivals. You can encounter rolling boulders, fallen trees, wild animals, crowds
of spectators, and marshals in the middle of the road signaling to slow down for
an accident. And these all appear randomly – don’t expect to see the same
obstacle in the same place twice! The voice of your navigator is also a big help
in negotiating the stages – even though his words of encouragement and criticism
WRC: Rally Evolved doesn’t let you get away with trashing the car – after a
few big ‘offs’ you’ll find damage to the suspension, brakes, wheels and engine.
Fortunately, the cars are not as sensitive in this regard as Colin McRae Rally.
After a bit of driving, you’ll start tackling the corners faster and notice
that, somehow, the car is automatically braking for you. This is a driver aid
function of the game. The driver aids are separated into brake assistance,
steering assistance (which corrects the car’s attitude), and brake assist – each
can be varied to suit your tastes and skill level. You can also adjust steering
sensitivity, and the basic set-up of the car (including swaybar balance and
gearing) can be altered before each stage.
Well, the car graphics have some room for improvement (though they are very
good), the vehicle repair section of the game (which appears after each special
stage) could be improved and, on one occasion, the game froze. Explore the game
a bit further and you’ll find historical Group B cars, concept cars and more.
However, these extras often need to be unlocked by winning races. There’s plenty
to keep you motivated to keep pushing and winning rallies.
Developed by Evolution Studios and published by SCEE, WRC: Rally Evolved is a
good – if not standout – rallying game. It’s available at all major retailers
and has a recommended retail price of AUD$99.95.
A promotional sample of WRC: Rally Evolved was supplied free for this test by
Weber Shandwick Worldwide. www.webershandwick.com