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December 14, 2005
WRC: Rally Evolved - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
3/11/2005SonyEvolution Studios1-4, 16 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
448KBStereoYesNoSmallYes

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Heading around the corner.
Evolution studios have cranked out there fifth rally game in five years with WRC Rally Evolved. The previous games in the series have all been reasonably solid efforts but in my opinion have never been able to match the lap times of Colin McRae Rally’s. In fact Colin McRae Rally has been one of my favorite series of games since the original came out on the PSone. Last year though WRC4 did make up some ground on McRae with its improved handling and online play. So have Evolution managed to put the “evolved” into the game or is it once again looking up at Mr McRae on the podium? Let’s find out.

WRC Rally Evolved is an official product of the WRC and has all the real life tracks, teams and drivers that you would expect from an official product. The game features 16 locations for your racing pleasure, Finland, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Australia, Cyprus, Mexico and Monte Carlo. All the big name car brands are here with Citroen, Ford, Subaru, Peugeot and Mitsubishi amongst others present. The game features six different classes to race in with everything from modern day rallies to classics of yesteryear as well.

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Passing a casualty.
The car handling has always been the main gripe with the WRC series and Evolved has made some improvements to it this year. The cars do seem to control better than in the past making for a slightly more realistic experience. The main mode is Championship, which sees you racing in all 16 countries to try and take the title. Also by winning races you get points which you can spend on bonus tracks, drivers and modes etc. You can also tinker with your cars a little bit to set them up the way you like by adjusting the brakes and gear box ratios etc. Also after each rally you can tune your car up and try and fix any damaged parts that you may have incurred in the previous rally.

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Note the dirty cars...
The real big draw for WRC Rally Evolved is in the multiplayer mode. You can play it split screen with up to four players via multi tap or up to 16 can take to it online. If you have a friend or two of similar skill at the game many an hour will be spent on this one to attain bragging rights. It is very nice to see a developer put some time an effort into an online mode for a racing game because most don’t bother with it at all. (Yes Gran Turismo 4 I am looking at you).

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Gorgeous lighting.
For me there are a few bugs that once again relegate WRC to the lower positions on the podium. The first and most noticeable was the physics engine; it just does not feel right. I lost count of the amount of times I flipped cars 360 degrees vertically only to land on all four wheels and keep on racing. The cars seem to float around a bit and it takes away from the experience. Also the game does have damage modeling but it neither looks nor feels as good as in Colin McRae Rally. Also in the championship mode there is only 3 stages per rally where most other rally games have half a dozen, this means you get through the game quicker than you would like.

Visually the game looks pretty good. All of the cars and locations look just like they should. Some of the effects like mud and dirt building up on your car looks fantastic, as does the rain hitting your windshield. Seeing spectators and animals diving out of the way of the cars is also a nice touch, and it is these little touches that make WRC Rally Evolved stand out from the pack.

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Passing more damage.
The sounds are a bit of a mixed bag. The Co-Driver is pretty good and is usually spot on with the directions he gives. The sound of the cars is also pretty solid. Again though as in passed games the music is pretty ordinary.

Overall WRC Rally Evolved is another solid game but simply did not do enough to move up the leader board. I just feel that the Colin McRae series does everything a little bit better than WRC Evolved, and that Colin is still the king of the rally roads for now. With a title like “Evolved” I was expecting quite a substantial improvement, and not the subtle enhancements we ended up with. Still, if you love rally games then this is still a solid effort that is worth a look and if you have you can take the game online it’s even better. For the less hardcore fans I would still choose Colin McRae’s brand of games over WRC Evolved.

Review By: Graham Darko

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSVery nice graphics indeed. All the cars and tracks look just like there real life counterparts.
88%
SOUNDYou’re Co Driver and sound effects are all pretty good but the music is pretty poor.
72%
GAMEPLAYThe gameplay is improved slightly but it is not the improvement that the title of the game suggests.
72%
VALUEThere is plenty of life to this game with multiplayer and plenty of items to unlock.
84%
OVERALLWRC Rally Evolved is a pretty solid game that doesn’t quite take the checkered flag, but is still worth a look for race fans.
77%

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