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The game offers a ton of content, featuring 14 races in 14 different countries, along with fifty teams, and over 100 special stages, all based on the real life content of the World Rally Championships.
As well as the races, there is a robust and comprehensive career mode, which feels quite authentic due to the detail put into the game. The player must read and respond to emails, keep an eye on their finances, and manage employees – keeping morale high and taking on newbies as necessary. All this busywork has an impact on your racing, so it is never redundant, and the whole experience feels like a role-playing game tucked up inside a racing game.
Each vehicle handles quite differently so you will have to practise diligently before tackling an actual rally. You should also get to know your navigator as team work really comes into play in tight corners and tricky terrain. These vehicles range from the sturdy and rally-winning VW Polo to Porsches and Lancias – a total of nine different vehicles to choose from, some available immediately, some arriving as DLC.
Vehicle control issues from earlier versions have been sorted, but this does not mean that the game is now easy to play. It is designed to be almost as difficult as driving a rally car in inclement weather around unforgiving courses is in real life, and finishing a game will leave you exhausted, even on the easiest settings!
However, this makes winning all the sweeter, and your first podium place will give you a genuine sense of achievement that is hard to fake.
In career mode, you have a group of employees that must be properly managed and kept happy with sufficient work, adequate renumeration and so on. Let us have a look at these employees in a bit more detail:
Physical Therapist: employed to keep the other employees (and the player too, of course, the driver needs to be in tip top condition) healthy and fit you must ensure regular visits from everyone to keep his or her morale high
Mechanic: the equivalent of a physical therapist for your car, the mechanic will ensure that you vehicle is in good condition not only at the start of the race, but during it, patching any damage incurred during the various stages and keeping you on the road – or mostly on the road, at least!
Meteorologist: the game features a dynamic weather system, so keeping an eye on the forecast is a must. You will not know which tyres to put on, unless you pay careful attention to your weather dude
Agent: the more you succeed, the more merchandise you can advertise. An agent will make sure you get the best deals and will also keep your name in the papers so everyone knows who you are
Financial director: when you get into big money time, you will want to hire this guy to keep the money flowing in the right direction. Paying salaries to keep your staff happy, but otherwise ensuring that you get to keep enough of your hard-won cash for yourself!