Forget 0-60 – if you want to go from sitting idly on your sofa to a state of pure focus as fast as a turbo-charged Toyota Yaris WRC goes from a standstill to breaking the national speed limit, then there’s really no better fix than your common garden rally game. Nothing else asks so much of its players, busying them with a relentless succession of turns and ever-changing terrain. It’s an improbable sport – I still can’t quite believe people are allowed to thread weaponised hatchbacks around narrow country roads at such speed – that makes for almost impossibly challenging games, and I love both all the more for it.
With Codemasters hitting a purple patch with Dirt Rally and its sequel – for my money some of the very best takes on the sport I’ve had the pleasure of playing – it’s a good time to pound some badly-maintained roads, and Kylotonn’s joining the party with WRC 8. It’s a significant year for the series, having taken a year away and returning from its break revitalised and refreshed. In fact, having personally only kept a watching brief on Kylotonn’s tenure on the series since it signed up with WRC 5, it feels like a different series entirely.
Well, that’s not quite true, as the new direction that WRC 8 pursues can’t help but bring to mind Codemasters’ own recent successes. Like Dirt Rally, this is a more serious-minded affair that leans more towards authenticity than accessibility. And, like Dirt Rally, it’s all the better for the approach.