WRC 8 is the latest rally title from Bigben Interactive, and unlike Codemasters' simulation series, it's officially licensed -- all the cars, teams, and tracks from the real world sport are present and correct. It's a neat advantage, but having an FIA sticker on the box doesn't guarantee a good time on the track.
Fortunately, the game delivers a decent racing experience, with plenty of ways to enjoy the official routes of this year's season. The Career mode, which you can begin in either Junior WRC or WRC 2, will take you through the calendar of events, but when you aren't racing, there's a couple of areas to sink your teeth into. You'll need to manage your schedule, your team, and the relationship with your car manufacturer to stand the best chance on the track. You'll also use XP towards a skill tree as you progress. If you aren't bothered about the management side of things, Seasons mode allows you to simply play rallies without any distractions. Single events, online matchmaking, and weekly events will keep you busy, too, and there's a training area where you can better get to grips with WRC 8's handling.
The game opts for a sim-like model, but in practice is much more forgiving than DiRT Rally 2.0. It's not perfect; cars can be unpredictable, and sometimes spin out when it feels like they shouldn't. Overall, the driving is competent, and most importantly, delivers that thrill ride as you scream over treacherous terrain. It's a shame the presentation is somewhat lacking, because this is otherwise a solid rally experience.