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PS2 Reviews: WRC 3


WRC 3 screenshots


The Final Say!


WRC 3 -  reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score 9/10
Distributed By: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony once again invites gamers back into the official world of the FIA World Rally Championship that ensures that the WRC series on the PlayStation 2 is still the alpha male in the console world of rally racing games. Before I continue with the review, I must digress and say that this is the only licensed game on the market at the moment that uses the official FIA WRC license of the 2003 that contains all the real-world drivers, teams, cars and even advertising of the current season.

The gameplay of WRC 3 has been vastly improved over its predecessor and the control system of the game uses a combination of the analog controller with the d-pad to control your vehicle in the gaming world. Novice gamers will have no problem coming to grips with the easy to use controls of this title that will have them racing like WRC masters in no time. The car physics have also been upgraded in the current version of WRC 3 and each car handles differently from its competitors. From sliding around corners to losing control on gravel tracks, everything has been implemented perfectly into this title.

Evolution Studios have done a brilliant job at keeping the series fresh and enjoyable by including a variety of gameplay modes that include Quick Start (for those that want to race and run), Time Trial (everyone loves to beat their own times), Single Rally (a fast race without the complexity of an entire season), Championship mode (race in the full FIA WRC 2003 season) and one of my favourite modes, Head to Head that allows you to race a friend. Probably one of the most disappointing aspects of the title and considering that this is a Sony developed game is the lack of online support. I do feel that the developers have dropped the ball on this one and I'm sure RalliSport Challenge 2 on the XBox will ensure that this is included in their interpretation of rally racing.

Graphically, Evolution Studios, the developers of WRC 3 have made a beautiful looking game even better with a variety of amazing special effects, realistic car models and of course some thoroughly enjoyable background environments. As with the previous instalments of WRC, the car models look extremely realistic and contain an ungodly high amount of polygons for that realistic look to them.

Match that with some beautiful texture models and you have one of the sexiest rally games around. One of the most impressive features of WRC 3 is the new shrapnel particle emitter algorithm that allows for some real-world special effects. For instance, if you hit another object in game, whether innate or moving, your car will react different to each object they collide with.

Therefore the faster you hit an object, the more damage you will do to your car. The shrapnel particle emitter effect also performs a variety of eye candy features such as making glass fly off your car or various chunks of the car body fall off. Simply said, it is quite spectacular and easily makes this one of the most realistic rally games on any console system. The background environments of WRC 3 have come a huge way since its beginning and contain a variety of realistic objects from trees, buildings, bridges, rocks, tunnels, mountains and just about everything else you would see in rally races while you are watching TV. Another impressive feature of the game are the realistic crowds that move in anticipation as you race by... gone are the days of cardboard cut-outs that grace many a rally game. The game also contains a variety of real-world weather effects from bright sunny days to dreary sun-starved days of winter with ice and snow.

The sound effects of WRC 3 contain all the noises of rally driving from the powerful engines that run these rally cars to the sounds of cars hitting trees, rocks and fences. The voice acting of WRC 3 has also been professionally done and it doesn't become too repetitive as some rally games currently on the market. The musical score of WRC 3 is brilliant and uses a variety of contemporary music to help get gamers into the spirit of this title.

In conclusion, WRC 3 is a great game on the PlayStation 2 that not only challenged the developers to create something new and unique but have also given gamers value for money with an awesome gaming engine, a sturdy control system and some of the best rally racing fun on the console. With over 21 official cars, a variety of gameplay modes that includes the new rally licensing school and of course the new rally track of Turkey, this game has it all!

- Andrew B

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