This year’s official video game of the FIA World Rally Championship did a fantastic job of providing a variety of game modes and stunning presentation on PS4, but there were some issues that stopped it from being the best racing sim it could be. The sensitivity in the handling often caused players to lose control, and even with the wealth of options to rectify this, it was never quite right. With WRC 9 on PS5, players are treated to a gorgeous rallying experience, with top-class performance and haptic feedback that is amongst the best I’ve seen so far.
WRC 9 on PS5 runs smoothly, with 4K presentation and 60 fps, which is never compromised. The cars look remarkable, as close to the real thing as we’ve seen so far. The detail in the different courses is also impressive, but so are the little touches; the raindrops on your windscreen, the sunlight that clips the trees and glazes over your bonnet, and the rubble that flicks up into the air is shown in staggering detail. Your surroundings are a joy to look at, and the clarity in the roads is ridiculous.
Blitzing through the career mode is never hindered by long load times, allowing you to jump from your headquarters to the track in seconds. Although the game modes are completely untouched, the biggest difference is how the DualSense controller impacts the gameplay. As you damage your car or travel across awkward terrain, the acceleration becomes stiff, meaning you have to be more careful about how you race around the track.
Every gear change makes the vibrations pop, and depending on the type of course you’re racing on, the controller reacts to it. If you’re racing across gravel, you can feel almost every stone flick up from your wheel, and every pool of water splash across the course as you race through it. The built-in speaker helps to amplify these vibrations, too. You hear the stones, the water, or the smooth terrain as you drive across it, providing one of the most immersive racing experiences to date. I enjoyed DIRT 5 a lot on PS5, and whilst I’m much better at handling my car in it, WRC 9 does a much better job of making use of the haptic feedback.
WRC 9 on PS5 proves that when done right, the DualSense is an extension of not only the technical superiority of the PS5, but the gameplay. I felt I needed to improve certain aspects of my team and car so that the rumblings of the haptic feedback weren’t as strong. Every time I put the brakes on, and every time my engine banged, it felt like I could maybe use this to look at improvements I may need to make. It’s staggering how good this feature is, giving us a great sign of things to come in the future.
If you’re wondering whether or not to download the free upgrade for WRC 9 on PS5, it’s 100% worth it. Whilst much of the gameplay remains the same, the haptic feedback provides another layer to it that improves the overall experience of driving your chosen rally cars. It looks so much better, with crisp 4K, and the 60 fps provides a smooth as silk performance, making this is a must for any rally fan.
Haptic feedback is a game changer
Visuals are stunning
Silky smooth performance
Same handling issues