World Rally Championship 3

Music - Sean Paul - SINGLE: 'I'm Still In Love With You', featuring Sasha RELEASE DATE: January 5th, 2004 Music - Sean Paul - SINGLE: 'I'm Still In Love With You', featuring Sasha RELEASE DATE: January 5th, 2004
World Rally Championship 3 Review PS2
The WRC series started off pretty slowly with the original game but when the second game in the series WRC II Extreme was released it made such great improvements that even Colin and his crew couldn't better it. Now WRC 3 has been released in the shadow of Colin McRae Rally 4, which will reign supreme as the best rally game on the market?

Playing WRC 3 for the firs time it was great to see the steering had been tweaked so you don't get the twitchy feeling anymore, plus if you do hit the scenery the car will not spin as readily as it did in WRC II. I also noticed that the garage section of the game had been changed and simplified, so you can set up your car with only a few key factors such as gear ratio, suspension and tyres. Secondly if you play on the novice setting you don't get the choice to repair your car within the certain amount of allocated time, you car will be repaired after each race. If you play the professional setting you car will remain damaged until you return to the garage which is usually every two to three races. In this respect WRC 3 has followed Colin McRae Rally 4 and simplified areas that didn't really need to be there.

The one really good thing about this is that most of the development time has obviously gone into the handling and physics of the cars as well as the graphics. When you come to play WRC 3 you will realise that this is the best handling rally

 
games - World Rally Championship 3 Review PS2
games - World Rally Championship 3 Review PS2

game you have ever played. The cars feel solid, you will also notice that the cars do feel like they are scrambling for grip and not floating like CMR. The cars feel like powerful four wheel drive beasts like they are. As mentioned the steering has been improved, you still get the slight understeer on certain corners and surfaces but this is as it should be, if you understeer all the time it means you are entering the corners too fast or you are not setting the car up properly for the perfect slide. While I'm on the subject of corners, all of the corners in WRC 3 seem to be unique the camber changes constantly and you don't see the same set of scenery and repeated frames anywhere. Just think of Gran Turismo it's all unique, it is something that some gamers take for granted but when you look at CMR you will notice that many of the corners will be identical and contain the same scenery.

The co driver seems to have taken a turn for the worse, the calls are sometimes confusing, unclear and the timing could be better. The co driver does do his job, but he just could have done it much better. So when the co driver is not having a good day you might have a crash at high speed and you would expect the car to smash in to little pieces. Well is you are playing on the easiest setting you will probably end up with no bonnet and a smashed up front end. This obviously is not very reasonable, but when you play on the pro setting or higher the damage becomes far more realistic and the car becomes more fragile. If you have a high speed crash in the pro mode you can expect lots of damage to the body work and the engine will loos power, probably because the intercooler is all smashed up and leaking, and you may even get some gear changing problems. The only thing is the pro mode is far more difficult than the novice setting, your opponents are loads faster, the damage is worse and as mentioned the damage cant be repaired until you return to the garage, which is a good thing because this is how it works in the real event. I would suggest you stick with the easy setting to get going and then after completing the rallies on the easy setting try the pro mode. If you don't do this WRC 3 may be too daunting for some people.

Graphically WRC 3 is absolutely awesome. The cars are faithfully recreated with added polish, well until they get covered in loads of mud, dust and snow etc. The environments are equally as good with fantastic road textures whether they are tarmac, snow or mud everything looks fantastic. You will find yourself screaming through some small villages with people cheering and then trying to move out of the way as you cover them in gravel. The people are proper 3D characters here and not cut outs with crappy animation that are seen in most racing games. When you do crash your car, especially when you are play in the professional mode the cars look even more detailed with all the crumples in the body work and the broken lights, it all good. Everything looks all the better when you are travelling up a really steep road, the sense of height and is amazing.

The sound has its moments but as mentioned the co driver can cause problems with his unclear voice commands. The cars themselves all sound different and pretty realistic, I like the back fire of the engine as you heavily brake in to corners the sound of the dump valve letting go of all the pressure built up by the turbo. This time around the turbo on the cars is far more subtle than the previous games in the series. The sound effects of all the gravel, mud and snow being churned up and spat into the wheel arches sounds nice and authentic too. There is no music in game, only in the menu areas and this is pretty much basic up beat channel four rally program type stuff. It's all good.

World Rally Championship 3 is the only game with the official FIA license and this is a real bonus as you get all the cars and all the drivers minus old Colin who is doing the Dakar this year. This will be a real selling point for some people, but it isn't the only selling point. Everything is simplified this year which has to be a small minus point for me as I preferred having the choice to do what I wanted with the car. Apart from that everything oozes quality and realism from the physics to the game play to the look of the cars and environments to the sound of the World Rally Cars, its all great. I thought WRC II Extreme was good but this year the best just got a whole load better. And if you want to know if it is better than Colin McRae Rally 4, it is in virtually every way.

9.5 out of 10

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