NACON and KT Racing brought the brilliant WRC 9 to the new generation of consoles with their latest release. With the release of the WRC 8 last year, KT Racing has really outdone itself with the franchise and the WRC 9 goes even further. This review of WRC 9 focuses only on differences in performance and next generation versions. If you want to read our in-depth WRC review, in which we describe the game features and everything else in detail, you should take a look at our original WRC 9 review. We stick to the performance of the next generation of consoles.
For this review we have played the game and tested it on all three next generation consoles. These include the Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and PS5. WRC 9 brings all content to the next generation versions, including the brilliant career mode and all other single-player and multiplayer modes, including the eSports mode for players looking for serious competition. The most striking difference between the current and next-gen versions is undoubtedly the frame rate and fluidity of the game on the new consoles, including the Xbox Series S. Surprisingly, the game ran brilliantly at 4K on the Xbox Series S without noticeable drop in frame rate, which shows that the game is extremely well optimized for the next generation.
filmed on PS5
The WRC 9 supports 4K at 60FPS on all three consoles and also knows how to reach these frames. One of the things I missed in the game was that the pulling distance was still a bit short compared to the PC version. Although it is not really obvious, because we focus mainly on the road, I only noticed it in the first start menu where the game shows you the podium of the rally. In a few places I noticed that the grass on the side of the road started to slide as the camera moved forward. Although she may go unnoticed as a normal player, she was definitely there. Again, I barely noticed it during the race.
To stay in the visual details: I saw an increase in foliage around the stages of the rally. Countries like Mexico and Kenya had turf and rally stages that certainly offered a better road structure. You can see cracks, rocks and other debris on the road much more clearly, especially when playing 4K. Night scenes are much more attractive to watch, and the smoke is also much denser in dusty scenes. We also have to be careful with the shadows, which are more detailed this time. Rally phases that take place in forests have extremely detailed shadows, and moving shadows are also much more detailed.
The game is as fluid as possible. There were no frame drops or stuttering in 1080p or 4K on any of the consoles. I didn’t expect the game to keep a steady pace on the S series, but to my surprise, the game worked exceptionally well on the console. The game supported a high frame rate, and neither console had an image on the screen. The start time was also exceptionally short and especially on the X and PS5 series models the loading screen appeared only 3-4 seconds during the rally loading. This is probably one of the most striking differences in intergenerational comparisons.
In the case of our test, the game was installed on the internal discs of the three consoles. I wasn’t trying to use an external drive for the Xbox series consoles, but start-up times were exceptionally fast when using internal SSDs. It is clear that much faster downloads are only possible with the new generation of storage solutions on set-top boxes. Another hardware feature used by WRC 9 is the new DualSense controller for the PS5 console. You feel every stone you pass and pull the triggers, and the acceleration and braking amplify the triggers according to your playing style. This is a great addition to the console, since the game was extremely boring to play with the PS4 DualShock 4 controller.
included on Xbox Series X
Despite the extra features that the DualSense controller offers, I still like to play with the Xbox Elite V2 controller. The PS5’s DualSense offers excellent feedback and responsiveness, but still seems a little underperforming when it comes to acceleration and braking. However, misfire of the vehicle over the DualSense speaker and the sound of debris hitting the bottom of the vehicle caused a sensation. Despite my personal preference I think DualSense and the Xbox Elite Controller V2 both offer a really great experience. No matter where you play, you’ll have a brilliant gaming experience whether it’s on Xbox or the PS5 series. The standard Xbox controller is also fine, but if you’re a racing fan, you should try getting your hands on an Elite controller for this game.
To conclude this review, I can say that WRC 9 is a brilliant experience on the PS5 and Xbox series. The developer has optimized the title very well and it is almost identical to a decent gaming PC. You get 60 FPS, even if you play in 4K. So I don’t know what else you can expect from your console version of the game. The game is beautiful, it is smooth to play, it uses a lot of power and extra features, and it certainly deserves to be on your list of must-have games if you are a racing fan. You get everything that the previous generation versions offered, but in a better final form.
NACON and KT Racing have made the WRC one of the best rallying experiences of recent years, and the WRC 9 is probably also the best entry to the franchise. Instead of reorganizing the whole game, KT Racing has adopted the same tried and tested formula from WRC 8 and improved in every respect. The latest version on PS5 and the Xbox series is no exception. Both versions take full advantage of the extra power and functionality of the next generation of consoles and are the final upgrade of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. If you missed this game on your older generation of consoles, you can now get the PS5 or Xbox series version of the game and experience WRC in the most final console edition. Highly recommended if you like rally titles and especially the World Rally Championship.
Total score: 9.0/10
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