A lot has happened in the 16 years since V-Rally 3 launched on PlayStation 2. The Dirt series has risen to become the dominant force in rally games. Also, WRC with its official licensing is a big deal.
So do we really need a V-Rally revival? Nostalgia is great and all, but V-Rally hardly holds the reputation of Crash Bandicoot. Plus, V-Rally 4 comes from Kylotonn – the same French developer responsible for the WRC games. Why anyone would need to work on two franchises based on the same sport is a real head-scratcher. Still, V-Rally 4 is a decent racing game, held back by a few faults.
Kylotonn didn’t obtain all of the licensed vehicles or events from its WRC series, meaning V-Rally 4 is more of an arcade racing affair. There are still over 50 licensed vehicles to choose from even if it’s a seemingly random mix. We’re talking a Ford Focus RS RX, a MINI John Cooper Works and a Volkswagen Polo R WRC to name a few. These modern vehicles are split between classics like the Lancia Delta S4, Porsche Carrera SC Safari and Mustang Fastback.
The 22 diverse racing environments are spread across asphalt, gravel, snow and sand. They include iconic locales like Monument Valley, Sequoia Park, Japan, Siberia and Malaysia. There’s also a stage generator perfect for players who prefer the discovery of new tracks to memorising their layouts.
V-Rally Mode is the career mode where you will spend the most of your time. It takes you on a tour of the world with the obvious objective of becoming the champion in each racing category: Rally, Extreme-Khana, V-Rally Cross, Buggy, and Hillclimb. In each discipline, the vehicles are tough to handle. It’s rally driving after all. There’s a steep learning curve to climb in V-Rally 4.
Beyond winning races, you can purchase new vehicles, improve them, and make management decisions. You can decide to specialise in one discipline or compete in all categories right from the start. You also recruit teammates (agents, mechanics, engineers, etc.) all with different stats that can impact your performance. It’s an interesting concept that quickly becomes tedious when you’re forced to spend time micro-managing employees’ wages instead of getting back behind the wheel.
The biggest issue with V-Rally 4 is a superficial one. The game doesn’t look that good. Everything trackside and beyond lacks detail and polish, especially the grass and surrounding trees. Mud and dirt splashed across vehicles look unrealistic, and there’s often a fog-ish haze in the distance that only serves to mask the lack of attention spent on each environment. The track surfaces do look good. Especially when wet.
V-Rally 4 is a fun arcade racer, with enough content and customisation to keep players invested for a dozen hours or so. It’s just not as good as last year’s Dirt 4 or offers enough officially-licensed material for die-hard rally fans. Even so, it’s the best rally game of 2018, so far…
V-Rally 4 is now available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game will also be available on Nintendo Switch at a later date.
Man of Many received a PlayStation 4 copy of the game courtesy of the publisher.