Name: V-Rally 4
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Released: 06.09.2018 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4) 26.09.2018 (PC)
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose
V-Rally 4 the newest game in a franchise, that has been known for years. First released on the PlayStation 1 in 1999, developed by Eden Games. The French studio Kylotonn has taken the mantle developing the newest iteration in the series, known previously for making FlatOut 4 and three of the latest WRC games. With that in mind, what did they aim for when making V-Rally 4?
Fun Fact: V-Rally 1-2 was released in North America as Need for Speed: V-Rally. This was because Electronic Arts owned the publishing rights in NA, they thought it would boost the sales since rally games did not sell as well in the USA.
V-Rally 4 is really straightforward when it comes to its campaign. You start of with a rally car and a team which is checking if you are something to spend money on. Obviously you get to be a part of the team, both as a driver but also crew chief. From there you will have to compete in five different categories, earning cash to spend on new cars and managing your team.
The five categories are:
- Rally Time trial race, with difficult environments and only pace nots as your friend. Drive the fastest lap to win, classic rally as we are used too.
- Rallycross Circuit race against five opponents on tracks with mixed surfaces, you will have to drive through the joker lap at least once in a race and be the first to the finish line.
- Hill Climb High powered cars trying to survive to the top, but also having the fastest lap.
- Extreme-Khana Drift and jump making one hell of a show with track toys, with way too much horsepower.
- Buggy You may compare it with Rallycross, if you switch the cars out with buggies and makes the tracks even more extreme.
I quickly felt that something didn’t feel right, there were things that felt a bit wrong. With all the management of your crew and cars, I would expect the gameplay to match. I will come back to that later, but I think it should be mentioned here. V-Rally is previously known for giving us this fun arcade racing game, that gives us opportunities we don’t have in the officially licensed rally games. So spending time managing everything, buying and upgrading cars, feel like an annoyance, when you get nothing special for it. Your only goal is to win races to unlock more, you will have to buy new cars at least one for each class to use in the different disciples. Races vary in difficulty, so you can either buy a new and better car or upgrade your old one. There isn’t a championship per say, but some races have more than one track to take the podium. So my thoughts are that the campaign should be more serious, so it actually made sense to spend time with my crew and have an end goal. There is a lot of interesting disciples to drive in, but too much effort has to be made for nothing.
V-Rally 4 won’t win any awards for its graphics, it isn’t the worst that is out there but a long way from the best. It runs well and smooth, but it’s a bit blurry to watch and lacking details, and there are some lighting effects that make the cars shine too much. But with all that being said, environments packs a lot of backgrounds details. Countries like Japan, China and Kenya have many things in the environments that sets them apart from each other. I was amazed by some of the tracks, especially in China when driving on one of the Rallycross tracks with mountains and waterfalls surrounding us. Russia’s snow and Kenya’s dessert tracks where a bit one dimensional, and were at times a bit difficult to keep track of where the road went. Then there are the cars, which left me with a mixed reception. They look fine enough, but also lack the polished details. V-Rally 4 could have looked so much better if they had done a bit more polish, but score some points with everything that happens around you when driving.
V-Rally 4 has a lot to offer with its five disciples giving 5 different experiences for us to have fun in. One thing I really liked, was that there weren’t any licensed tracks. Yeah, I said liked it, because that gives them a lot of freedom designing tracks of their own. It helped give us, that plays a lot of racing/rally games, something new and fresh when it comes to the tracks. Looking away from the disappointing campaign, many of the tracks are really interesting to drive on. Rally stages varied in difficulty, with Japan being one of the hardest. It offered small, tight and fast corners in these villages that meant every miscalculation, would be your doom hitting houses, corners, or hay balls stacked to make these mazes. Rally stages are really good with some difficulty, but not so much that you have to be a master to complete them. But you will have to listen to the pace notes, or you will quickly screw up. Rallycross stages where a mixed bag, but overall fun to play.
Talking about Rallycross and Buggy actually, the AI can be brutal. I’m not talking about in a difficult way, but rather how they behave against you. They will crash into you, throwing you off the track that ruins the whole race. So you better have some patience and not take them straight on, or you will have to restart a lot. Hillclimb were fine, driving uphill rally with overpowered cars is fun at times giving you a challenge when you are sick of driving with others. Then there was one of my favorites Extreme-Khana, since this was the mode that sets itself apart from many other games. Action packed time trial driving powerful cars through obstacles, drifting and jumping to set the best time. This is a nice break from all the serious driving since the goal is, of course, to set the best time and also looking awesome while doing it. You will rely heavily on your E-brake to time your drifts into really tight corners and obstacles, and crash through objects. The tracks are genuine fun to drive on, with old hangars and construction sites. It’s actually a pretty good mode, to get to know the cars and how they handle.
But with all these modes, how are the selection of cars. Well meh?
There are not that many cars to select from, at least in each disciple. There are cars from different eras of rally and rallycross, but it was really lacking variation from each era. It looks like they have just gathered cars that were the easiest to get the licenses for. But some of the cars available were great enough. But if you are looking for a huge car catalog to choose from, well then you will be disappointed. So V-Rally 4 offers new and some fun tracks, but lacking in the car selection department. Luckily everything is available in quick race, immediately when starting the game.
V-Rally 4 handles well being this mix of simulation and arcade, With options to customize the controls to your fitting. There are the standard options, turning on/off ABS, traction control and brake assist. But also it goes a bit deeper with options to change steering sensitivity and deadzone, as well as throttle, brakes and clutch sensitivity and deadzone. At first, I struggled to understand the handling, the cars were heavy and felt a bit floaty when steering. But after some tightening with the controls, made a whole lot of difference. Being more arcade than simulation makes it easier for people to pick up and play. When first starting the game, you will have to do a practice rally lap. After that is done, the game changes the options to what it seems like you want to be tailored to how you drive. This is a really intuitive thing helping beginners, giving them the assist or rather lack off that you need. How accurate it is I’m not so certain, after I finished it recommended ABS on, TC (Traction Control) off and brake assist off. This is the settings I would have chosen by myself also, so I was a tiny bit impressed. All this in mind, driving the cars was quite enjoyable. The difficulty of how the cars behave varies from each discipline and also the tracks, with some training you should do fine. This is not a game for those that want to pick up a fast car and drive over 200 km/h, but learn how the cars behave and use your knowledge for some precision driving.
Finishing the campaign won’t take much time, and as said earlier it isn’t very impressive either. Then you have Quick Race, where all cars and tracks are available for your enjoyment. Then there is the online mode, where you compete against others or tries to reach the top on the leaderboard in Rally or Extreme-Khana. If you are sick of crashing with the AI and want to drive with civilized people, then stay away from the online part. It will only result in rage since people don’t give an F#%@ about you. If you are in their way or are close to be winning, they will annihilate you throwing you off the track. This might not be a destruction derby game but felt like it at times. After some hours the game felt really bareboned since there isn’t a whole lot of progression in the game. There is the campaign that doesn’t offer much, and Quick Race is just there giving you everything at the beginning and online matches are the same only with more chaos. So after trying all the disciples with different cars and tracks, I felt pretty done since there wasn’t any new thing to do.
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Replay Value 4
V-Rally 4 was a really mixed experience, that felt like it struggled with a small identity crisis. Not “hardcore” enough to give veteran fans something new and exciting, but also too much to keep track on outside the racing to give the everyday gamer to just pick up and play. There aren’t any progression except for unlocking new tracks and get money to pay for your team and buying new cars. Quick Race is nice if you just want to drive, trying out everything but it stops after that. It’s unfortunate that such an iconic franchise, don’t have what it takes to get it back to its former glory.
User Review( votes)
- Fun tracks
- Nice Handling
- Diverse Disciples
- Uninspiring Campaign
- Lack of content
- Unpolished graphics