Developer KT Racing has found its footing with the WRC series. After last year's WRC 9 made significant improvements to the officially licensed rally racer, WRC 10 iterates on the winning formula, presenting another fantastic experience — even if it is a little rough around the edges.
The driving itself is of course the most important part of any racing game, and it's here where the game shines. The simulation isn't quite as demanding as DiRT Rally 2.0, but that's not to say this isn't a challenging rally title. With lots of customisation options allowing you to tweak the difficulty, it's a game that scales with you. We played with default settings and found the handling to be highly entertaining. It sits in the "sim-cade" camp — aiming for realism, but with a little bit of leeway. Ultimately, throwing these cars around feels great, especially with the DualSense's fancy triggers and haptics, once again put to great use here.
What's nice is that you really do feel a difference between categories. Going from Junior WRC's entry level, front-wheel drive cars to the four-wheel drive vehicles of WRC3 and beyond is a noticeable jump — each class feels different, especially when you consider the classic cars found in the title's 50th Anniversary mode.
Yes, the headline addition in this year's game is a celebration of the motorsport's five-decade history. It includes a number of milestone events, starting with 1973's Acropolis Rally and Alpine's first ever win in the A110 Berlinette. You'll run through notable moments from the infamous Group B category, Group A, and into the 2000s, driving some of the motorsport's most recognisable vehicles: Lancia Stratos, Audi quattro Sport, Lancia Delta Integrale, Toyota Celica — the list goes on. Unfortunately, unless you pre-ordered the game or are willing to fork out for them, the Subaru Impreza WRC and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V aren't on the roster.
It's awesome to have all these well-known events and cars, especially for long-time fans, but the way the mode is integrated into the game is unusual. To unlock more 50th Anniversary events, you need to first complete them in Career mode. Anniversary events will crop up in your career calendar, and you must beat the time trials before they're easily accessed within the main menu. Equally strange is the requirement to unlock all Anniversary events before you can access Private Team mode in Career, which lets you use the impressive new livery editor for your own team. While you can use custom liveries in Quick Play, it seems an odd restriction.
Despite these structural eccentricities, the in-depth Career mode remains a highlight. Starting either in Junior WRC or WRC3, you manage your team, calendar, and skills to slowly build reputation and climb the ranks. There's a lot to take in alongside the rallies themselves; team member morale will go up and down depending on your actions, as will your relationship with your car's manufacturer. You can hire and fire new people, and the R&D section allows you to spend your skill points in a large tree full of perks. Between special stages, you'll also need to consider your tyre choice and repair any damage. If you've played WRC games over the last couple of years, you'll know what to expect — it's a seriously robust and addictive mode that'll last you a long time.
If you're not fussed about managing a team, Season mode strips everything away and focuses purely on rally stages. The aforementioned Quick Play lets you set up a race however you want it, using any vehicle on any stage. The game also has a great suite of training modes for newcomers. A sandbox Test Area lets you drive around a small map with various terrain types, while Training Sessions will get you acquainted with the handling on closed circuits. Finally, Challenges are enjoyable events to put your skills to the test; these can be simple time trials or Extreme Conditions races, in which you're given a highly damaged car and must drive a certain distance through poor weather.
Multiplayer options fill out an already packed game. Two-player splitscreen returns and runs just as smooth as the single player, while you can play online in various ways. Clubs lets you create or join custom championships, Co-Driver has you teaming up with another player to tackle a special stage together, and of course there are quick games to join in regular matchmaking. Oh, and every event has leaderboards, too.
There's so much to see and do in WRC 10, and it's all presented in rather nicely indeed. While the menus and general visuals have been improved, there are still some graphical hitches here and there, with assets popping in and smoke trails looking a little off in replays. We also noticed screen tearing every now and again, and some minor but noticeable bugs cropped up too — things like your career inbox full of emails you shouldn't have, and rare instances of incorrect pace notes. Hopefully, these things will be smoothed out soon, although these issues are hardly deal-breakers. What fans might appreciate being added sooner rather than later are the missing rallies; Belgium and Greece are being added post-launch.
WRC 10 builds on the success of its predecessor with another impressive rally sim. The handling feels excellent on the track, and speeding through all the official routes is a real thrill. Alongside its meaty Career mode is a long list of ways to play, including the 50th Anniversary cars and events, which are a great addition. It's not perfect, lacking some visual polish and locking content in unusual ways, but overall, this is another step in the right direction for KT Racing.