V-Rally 4 (PS4) Review
Varied career mode
Cool fantasy tracks
Uniquely fun hillclimb races
Controls are inexcusably difficult to master
We live in the age of nostalgia. With technology and the internet allowing us to systematically catalog all of our favorite media and pop culture from decades ago, and for years to come, it stands to reason that gaming franchises that have laid dormant would be resurrected. Call it smart business by game companies, call it jaded cash-ins, either way, we have been graced with a new entry in V-Rally series, some sixteen years later.
Full disclosure: I’ve never played the other three titles in the V-Rally series. Thus, there’s no nostalgia to make my eyes starry and keep me from being subjective as I examine the latest racing title from WRC published Kylotonn Racing Games and developer Bigben Interactive. With racing titles on the rise in recent years, does this rally racer stack up?
The complete package is meaty, or if you’re a vegetarian, full of whatever protein substitute you prefer. By that, I mean that there’s quite a bit of content at play here, especially in the game’s career mode. The caveat, of course, is that you must first make it through the confusing tutorial, which apparently aims to make rally racing seem like you need a degree to understand.
After the initial tutorial race, several options are extended to the player, allowing you tweak the way the cars control. This comes off more as a placebo than anything else, as I personally could never find a combination of settings that didn’t make my car handle like a three-legged dog on skates. Prepare to slip and slide and fight for control of your vehicle, because it’s damn near inevitable.
The good news, however, is that the dense features and impressive variety of the aforementioned career mode make you forget the squirelly controls for brief moments, and it’s in these moments that V-Rally shines. Start a team, hire mechanics, choose different races across five racing styles (rally, rally cross, extreme khana, buggy, and hillclimb), and rally across the world.Rally races are straightforward time trials that take place on dirt, which is enjoyable enough if you overlook the controls and the chatty co-driver, who gives directions about upcoming turns and the like. He means well, but I found him a little irritating after awhile.
Rally cross adds other cars and laps into the mix, as does the buggy mode. Buggies added a nice change of pace, but I found that they did little to fix the other existing control issues. Playing these modes offered variety, but the race AI varied a little too wildly in difficulty for my taste. Extreme khana takes the races from the dirt onto the pavement in graffiti-laden urban courses, which was certainly cool. Hillclimb rounds out the modes, utilizing specialty cars to, you guess it, climb up hills. Easily the most unique of the modes, hillclimb also takes away the ability to select a car, which is a small price to pay to defy gravity.
I found that I enjoyed the career mode more than the quick races, mainly due to the bevy of options and upgrades that can be earned. If you want to jump into a race on the course and continent of your choosing, grab a friend and shift into gear on splitscreen. See, that’s what’s fun about racing games, you can say stuff like that and it’s totally acceptable. Not corny or anything. There’s also online multiplayer if racing with randos is more your thing, and I didn’t notice any significant issues with the netcode, which is a positive.
I use the term “standard fare” a lot in my reviews. In the case of V-Rally 4, however, this seems more applicable than any other time. It doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the genre, and short of the hillclimb mode and the fantasy tracks on different continents, it is all pretty average, standard, typical. If you’re interested in another rally racer with a bevy of race modes and subpar controls, this might just be up your ally. Up your rally, rather. V-Rally 4 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam for $49.99, and will be available on the Nintendo Switch this winter.