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As the console reached its first birthday, there weren't too many true rally games available for the PlayStation 2. Admittedly, Gran Turismo 3 offers a great rally mode as a side-attraction, and games like Paris-Dakar Rally are more than adequate. World Rally Championship is the first rallying game that deserves your full attention. Games like Colin McRae Rally demonstrated how much fun this motorsport could be, so could we have a new successor to the rally crown?
The game modes available are standard fare for a driving game. Players can choose to participate in a full-season championship, try to beat their best times in the time-trial, go for a single race, challenge a friend or choose a WRC challenge. The computer difficulty is aimed towards rally beginners, so if you're looking for a good challenge, the professional mode is recommended.
With most driving games the most important thing to get right is the feel. The cars in World Rally Championship do have a good feel to them, the variable surfaces react to your car as you would expect. With a little practice you'll soon master the ancient art of power-sliding and tucking the front end into the apex of a corner. WRC feels right.
If you want to get the most out of this game, we recommend using the GT Force steering wheel. The pad is adequate, but nothing brings WRC to life like force feedback. Instead of reacting to your observations and track knowledge, you can actually play by feeling the amount of traction your car has. Playing by instinct and feel is so much more realistic.
WRC has beautiful graphics, the size of the game environments is impressive, the cars have a good response and are highly customisable. World Rally Championship is very nearly the ultimate rally game, easily taking the PS2 award for now.