With the Scandinavian WRC license moving to EA in 2023, WRC Generations may represent the last official effort developed by KT Racing at this time – and the studio has certainly shot the works. The culmination of a seven-year stint in the series, WRC Generations combines gorgeous effects and excellent handling with the most generous rally stage selection I’ve ever seen, and the result is the best and most commendable rally game of KT’s tenure. That said, last year’s WRC 10 held that title before, and most of Generations’ improvements over it are otherwise largely iterative.
WRC Generations features 21 massive rally locations, including all 13 events from this year’s official championship, plus eight other bonus rallies – these are locations that aren’t on the 2022 calendar but are included because why the hell not? I’ve played rally games that arrived with fewer countries than the Generations bonus slots alone. It even tops the excellent Dirt Rally 2.0, which eventually racked up 13 slots after its run of DLC ended.
Series veterans will note that many of the stages themselves are repeats from previous games, but I like having them all here in one package with consistent functionality. That said, I miss my beloved Australia (last seen in WRC 8) and Poland (last seen in WRC 7), who are conspicuously absent. KT Racing has already let fans know that they won’t be added later, which is a shame, although I find it recalcitrant to complain too much given the glut of countries that did make the cut.
The new Swedish stages are a great highlight and are easily among the most beautiful routes in the entire series. The snow in particular is eerily realistic whipping it around at high speeds, with roads flanked by sloping heaps of soft clumps as plowed edges encroach on the scenes. It also looks really great at night, and it’s a great showcase for Generations’ terrific lighting, from the glow of campfires to the way headlights cut through the woods. A mix of wide-open blasts and impossibly tight channels, Sweden is extremely strong in Generations and is now one of my favorite spots – even though snow rallies like Sweden and Monte Carlo don’t traditionally feature too high on my favorites list.
It’s worth noting that on the newer consoles, Generations offers the choice between a 1080p/60fps performance mode and a 4K/30fps graphics mode, and after spending time with both, I opted for the former. Even at quarter resolution, scenes are still rich in detail, and I didn’t notice any screen tearing – which has been an occasional bugbear for this series in the past. As with WRC 10, slowing down to peer closely at roadside elements reveals some darkness (and I wouldn’t really put the cars and their fairly poor damage modeling in the same class as Forza, GT or even Dirt) but Moving Generations is otherwise a smooth and dynamic runner with powerful lighting effects.
Do not cut
There’s still a great rhythm in the management of Generations, which has been very good for several episodes now. Driving on loose gravel is always the best; dancing around the corners and feeling the weight of the car about to spiral out of control is a great thing – as is the feeling of your car hanging on at the perfect moment when you throw it sideways at the top. The handling of the asphalt is also a little less sticky than in previous years, which sometimes makes generations pleasantly less nervous. This makes it easier to use a controller, which is good news for those of you who don’t have a steering wheel. It’s still very responsive, but it doesn’t seem to interpret steering input to a controller as aggressively.
KT Racing’s use of PS5 haptic triggers is also top-notch – especially under heavy braking – although it probably got a little over-ambitious, so much crash noise through the DualSense’s speaker. Things are used to looking a little more like a box full of rocks than a car crash. The DualSense is a great controller, but it’s a poor substitute for headphones or a real sound system when it comes to the violent tapestry of sound and ruckus required by a modern racing game.
Like WRC 10 and WRC 9 before it, Generations again forces us to start our career in the WRC 2 or WRC 3 feeder series. it still doesn’t make sense from the perspective of someone who just did the same thing last year. It just seems so arbitrarily strict to force us to do an apprenticeship every year in an attempt to race in the main series. If you’re not going to check my save data, can you at least take my word for it that I know what I’m doing?
WRC Generations screens
KT Racing has however completely changed its approach to the Privateer career option, which allows you to create your own team and design your own car. In WRC 10, Privateer mode was stuck behind completing all historical events in its special anniversary mode, which was absolute madness. In Generations, he’s thankfully available immediately, and I’ve found that has certainly helped rejuvenate my enthusiasm for spending more seasons in the minor leagues. With Generations’ livery and decal editor (which works similarly to those available in Forza Horizon 5 and Gran Turismo 7), I was able to design a modern homage to Carlos’ 90s Repsol Escort Sainz, and I felt much more ownership of my career progression in a car that I can properly call my own.
There is a bit of trial and error required in the livery editor, as you have to leave space for Generations to automatically place official rally logos and competitor details (and if you don’t not, things will overlap and look terrible), but overall it works fine. Even better, unlike WRC 10, Generations allows us to share designs and download them from other players. Even if you don’t quite have what it takes to master the art tools of the livery editor – and it is something that takes patience – you can rest assured that rally fans everywhere will be churning out perfect historic replicas and hot new wraps for every car before you know it. Many historic cars from Generations are missing legacy sponsors, but there’s no way they’ll be missing for long, now fans have the tools to fix them and get them out to everyone.
Torquing ’bout My Generations
WRC 10’s slightly premature 50th anniversary mode may have celebrated the series’ anniversary a year too early, but it still brought the biggest burst of historical content since KT Racing started adding classic cars. In WRC 8. Focused Autonomous Mode, it retains the real cars. It is therefore largely the same assortment of world champion cars, with a few extras, including interesting additions like a 1979 Ford Escort MkII and a 1980 Fiat 131 Abarth. The Peugeot 206 of Marcus Grönholm, winner of the Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship in 2002, is also here, although it’s currently stuck in pre-order DLC limbo.
It remains a very good list, although it is disappointing. Generations could not deliver a little fresher models in this latest hurray. It would certainly have been nice to have seen a first-gen Focus and a second-gen Impreza, for example. Synergistic, even, given the name of the game and the fact that they would respectively be the older brother and younger brothers of models who are here. Dirt Rally 2.0 has those cars and more, and the garage there continues to dig generations despite its own baffling lack of Toyota.
If you like the newer better than the old, you’re in luck too, as the 2022 WRC series saw the debut of the new Rally1 hybrid WRC cars, all three of which are included in Generations. The Rally1 cars, which now feature a 100kW hybrid unit mated to the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that has powered WRC cars for the past decade, are quite interesting to drive Generations thanks to their electric boosts. Basically, having hybrid power up our sleeves gives Rally1 cars temporary bursts of 500bhp, with further bursts possible after regenerating energy during braking.
Just like in real life, Generations lets us choose from three power mapping modes before a stage: a powerful but short boost, a balanced option, and a less powerful boost that lasts longer. I could definitely feel the extra oomph when it was available, and it’s an exciting challenge to wrestle with this new look of the cars and get that extra power on the road.
#WRC #Generations #Review #IGN