What a difference a year makes.
This time last year, WRC 3 released to very mixed reviews. It was a game of two halves; all of the mechanics were in place, it handled well and didn’t look too bad either. Unfortunately however, probably due to time constraints, WRC 3 lacked a huge chunk of content from the console versions. Launching with just six rallies (though later three more were added via DLC), less cars and missing the entire career mode, what was a fine racer ended up feeling too empty to have staying power.
Luckily Milestone has evolved their Vita entries in a pretty big way, releasing MotoGP 13 with the full-fat console experience, and, if the demo is anything to go by this appears to be continuing with WRC 4. While we’ve only had a chance to play the demo today, it’s already clear that improvements have been made across the board.
It’s easy to see from simply popping in my WRC 3 card into my Vita; things have improved drastically across all areas. While WRC 3 had fairly reasonable graphics for an early Vita release, WRC 4 has had a complete overhaul. Perhaps the most noticeable change which you can see straight away is the detail on the car. In WRC 3 the cars were functional at best, with lo-res textures showing whenever the camera was zoomed in. In comparison, WRC 4’s demo car looks stunning, with improved reflections and much clearer detail. Improvements in lighting also carry over the the environment, with rock faces causing realistic shadow effects that splatter across the track. Another noticeable issue in WRC 3 which arose from the external car view was a choppiness when cornering sharply. This has also disappeared with a solid frame rate throughout.
Smaller changes which make WRC 4 feel like a higher class of package include completely reworked menus and a new HUD on track. While these may seem minor, you only need to look at WRC 3’s menu system to realise they looked like a college student’s graphic art project. While the rest of the game including online and career modes has yet to be tested by us, things are certainly looking more than promising for WRC 4. Milestone are gearing up for their fourth Vita title (MUD, WRC 3 and MotoGP 13 came before it) and it’s great to see a developer who is still supporting the Vita strongly, despite it struggling and other developers and publishers not sticking around. You can download the demo now in Europe and the game is set to release later this month.