RGB Recommends: Rally games 🚗

Pro Rally (GC)

Rally Championship (GC)

WRC Rally Evolved (PS2)

Year: 2005
Developer: Evolution Studios
Region: PAL-only (with a different name only in France)

I’m running it in 480p using GSM,which unfortunately gives a narrow game window when recording. Still investigating a way to enlarge/stretch the screen reliably for recording)l

The replay above shows a great early stage (Monaco SS2) and a lot of the stuff this game has going for it.

What struck me compared to other Rally Games I’ve posted recently is how dynamic this game is. There is a lot going on.

Tons of cars, tons of locales, tons of options.

The scenery is very detailed and varied and whilst some of the effects are “canned”, appearing at the same place every time you race that stage, it all feels wonderfully real.

Driving model is solid, with some driving aids that default to on (steering, traction, braking) but will need to be dialled down to hit the challenge mode times.

Damage and dirt model is comprehensive and varied.

Game structure involves a lot of rewards, such as cars and modes, given for winning races. This could be the only fly in the ointment, we’ll see.

  • variable weather: from droplets and streaks across your window to sheets of rain and drifts of snow, dense fog, sun glare, lightning

  • set pieces: crashed cars, road works, falling rocks, falling trees, storm damage

  • particles: dust, leaves, snow, rain, dirt, clouds, grass, sparks, birds

  • roadside: cars, people, buildings, fences, ribbons, trees, bushes, animals, rubble, helicopters, paragliders

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Cheers for these recommendations - I don’t own these but I remember staring at magazine screenshots in awe for Rally Championship, and WRC Rally Evolved I was impressed by what I played in a demo booth using a wheel.

Going to order a copy of WRC Rally Evolved, the dynamism sounds very Evolution Studios!

I’ve wasn’t a fan of Motor Storm as I played it on the back of the wonderful Excite Truck and it just didn’t hold a candle to that IMHO. I’m not aware I’ve played any of their other games until now.

https://www.mobygames.com/company/evolution-studios-ltd

Here’s an hour long review of WRC Rally Evolved:

anyone played Rage’s Wild Wild Racer? It’s one I found out about recently and am curious about

I have it, but not got round to it yet.

IIRC it was launch title and is supposed to be decent enough.

Obviously the video above is upscaled emulation, so a bit misleading.

WRC Rally Evolved looks like fun. I likely would have picked it up if it released in NA back in the day.

Richard Burns Rally and RalliSport Challenge 2 are some of my favorites. I haven’t played RBR in years, but I have been thinking about trying to get it going. I’m not sure if it will run on my budget Windows 10 laptop. RS2 combines a simcade foundation with a physics engine easy to feel the limits and rewarding to channel your internal Gigi Galli:

I mostly had PlayStation consoles so of course I had Gran Turismo. I never found the rallying in those games much fun though. It got better in GT5 (6?) when they added point to point rallies and stages.

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Gigi Galli always the showman :slight_smile: Did you not play the Colin McRae Rally games then ? Or were these not realised in NA ?

RBR should run fine, I run it ok a tiny Win 10 PC with integrated graphics.

I love Rallisport Challenge 2. I should set up an OG Xbox again. It’s been too long.

Yes, I played a decent amount of Colin McRae 05. I recall liking the game, but overall it wasn’t very memorable. Rallying up/down the wine country switchbacks in Germany was fun.

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@matt Cool, thanks. I’ll need to check it out. Do you use a wheel for it? The last time I played it, it was on Windows XP and I couldn’t get FFB drivers to work with my Driving Force GT wheel.

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I revisited WRC - FIA World Rally Championship on PSP. I think this may have been the first game I ever imported from another region (Europe to NA). It looks like Bamco actually ended up publishing it in NA. It was developed by Traveller’s Tales who also developed the F1 game on PSP. Based on their development timeline they’re now a Lego game assembly line.

It was a good mobile rally fix in 2005. Today it’s not great, but there is some fun to be had. It has the license which helps to have constructors and drivers. The stages are modeled after real life stages so Finland has jumps, Monte Carlo has some Col like stages. It also has a really good car damage modeling system. The cars naturally get dirty over the stages, but collisions and offs will start to show significant damage on the car. The weather effects are also pretty good for a PSP game.

The handling and controls are the meh parts. The handling is like sliding around on mud most of the time. There is some increased grip on tarmac, but everything else is just slimy. You can nail some corners and feel like it’s improving only to struggle in the next section. Control wise the turning is really twitchy. I’m not sure if this is a design choice, PSP nub issue, combo of both(?) but it’s too easy to quickly start tank slapping (especially with the chase camera).

My last gripe, and one that I frequently have with rally games, is the timing on the pace notes. Even with the arrows on the top of the screen the co-driver notes are late (way late on level ground hairpins (not switchbacks) and squares) so it becomes more of a stage memorization challenge than skill to get you though. Going off or getting spun on 2-3 hairpins/squares a stage almost confirms you’re not winning the stage.

I also bought that PSP game and my experience is the same as yours.

Regarding RBR, I do use a wheel but it doesn’t have FFB.

My copy of WRC Rally Evolved turned up today, that’s on the pile for when my PAL PS2 is out next.

I haven’t felt any desire to go back to Motorstorm since last playing it in 2007, so it can’t have been doing much right. DriveClub, though, was amazing, so much variety between the different courses, vehicles, challenges and weather conditions. Unlike a lot of other racing games with long career modes much of DriveClub stands out to be remembered.

Didn’t realise BigBig Studios was spun off from Evolution, Pursuit Force on PSP was a guilty pleasure of mine back in the day, despite not being particularly good.

Did anyone play Kanaaj Rally on GBA? Seem to remember it getting good reviews back at release, but I never saw it in the shops. The art direction is rather terrible, though. I noticed with Japanese games you’re much less likely to see the stereotypical ‘programmer art’ in them, and that certainly extended to portable games.

Got stuck in to WRC Rally Evolved on a rainy afternoon and time flew by. Game certainly gets my vote then.

The car handling feels great, I’ve turned down all assists to about 30% and I’ve found myself playing it as carefully as I did Dirt Rally, it’s still easy to overshoot winding corners or overdrift sometimes, but in those instances where you get it wrong you know it was your fault, and when you get it right, hurtling down the track, it’s extremely satisfying.

Rally Evolved’s course design is a highlight, perhaps because the team (wisely, imo) stuck to delivering three routes per country’s rally, with sixteen countries in total. This gives the game a brisk pace for encouraging championship replays, but most importantly the game has bags of variety, the courses don’t blend into each other like many other Rally games that focus on less countries and more routes.

Evolution’s promised dynamism is a bit phoned in, to my disappointment. So far it’s either been animals that you’re guaranteed to avoid, a fire at the side of one course, a landslide of two rocks, or countless occurrences of other drivers crashed at the side of the road (you’re preempted for these by skid lines on the course). It’s predictable. The team improved upon this massively by DriveClub.

Professional difficulty serves up a sizeable challenge, I just wish there was something between it and the difficulty below, which is significantly easier.

Good points. I’m going to have a go on Professional later.

I’m not sure I’ve seen all the set pieces yet. A mix of some that only happen in certain countries and some that are more random. But yes a limited number of types.

I do feel they add to the dynamicism of the stages, but then I’ve not played Drive Club or Motorstorm Apocalypse to compare.

They feel more dynamic than Split/Second is the only comparison I can make. And WRC4 and see earlier look positively static compares to Evolved.

The landslide rocks are my favourites because they happened abruptly and they block the track while rolling so you have to brake!

DriveClub would throw weather conditions or nighttime at you in the middle of courses, and events would often force you to race in adverse conditions with specific cars

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That’s what I’m into. I should have got it on my PS4.

Wow, it did install relatively easily. It didn’t work in the default program files install location, but Reddit said to install directly to C:/ which worked. I’ve only played it so far with a PS3 controller. I’ll need to see if I can get the wheel working with FFB. I love this game.

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I finished a Pro run on WRC Rally Evolved earlier, and I really love this game. It’s not perfect, but the details are what win me over. I’d say it’s the best Rally game I’ve played. (Caveat: I need to replay RalliSport Challenge 2.)

Sound:

The noise of your car changes when various bits get damaged. You can hear a transmission problem, the radiator steaming, a flat tyre. This all seems obvious, but it’s missing in so many games.

The sound of the rain on your bonnet, which stops as you drive under tree cover. The sound of different road surfaces, with accompanying unique vibration effects. The witty, and not so witty, lines of dialogue from your codriver. It’s just all so well done. I play with no HUD for extra immersion.

It seems they took what they had got to with WRC 4 and spent the development time adding bells and whistles and more into the game engine and tracks. The stages are all very memorable and very fun. They elevate the game even higher.

Compared to Dirt Rally, this feels 20x more alive, is easily as challenging, and is arguably more fun.

I played with auto gears and on average ~30% driving aids. Mostly steering aid, a little less traction control, and almost no braking aid.

CPU:

So my one complaint is the possible lack of balance in the computer timings and general communication after a stage. In one stage I managed two green checkpoints (ahead of time), two red checkpoints (behind time) and one grey checkpoint (on time?), and at the end of the stage I was told by my codriver that I was a little bit behind the pace. So imagine my surprise when I saw that I’d finished top!

Maybe I’m missing something that I’ll realise on my next playthrough. I finished 10th/15 with only one podium, generally finishing each rally half way down the table, and my team finished 5th/6 so not a good performance at all. But I don’t play Rally Games to load it up and come first on every stage; I play them to challenge my skills and reflexes and have fun driving, improving. I find it relaxing when I’m in the zone and flying through checkpoints. Though getting in the zone is much more difficult these days than it used to be! Those pesky kids.

One final mention to the shakedown stages (one per country) that you can do before the first stage. They’re unique lap stages where you can get used to the surface and check and tweak your setup. I don’t generally change my setup but I find the short practice very worthwhile. The Australia shakedown stage is be quite reminiscent of Sega Rally!

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Some sage advice from my son while watching me play Richard Burns Rally:
“Daddy, can you not run into the trees?” after I slide off course in the snow in Finland.

However, it’s not Rally Finland. This is a snow rally, not gravel, and there are no ‘jumps.’ In my mind that’s Rally Sweden.

Agreed.

You need to play WRC Rally Evolved.