EA Sports WRC gameplay hints at improved handling from Dirt Rally 2.0
EA Sports WRC gameplay hints at improved handling from Dirt Rally 2.0. Image credit: EA Sports

EA Sports WRC: Gameplay Revealed


A video showcasing raw EA Sports WRC gameplay has just launched, showing the game in many conditions. How does it hold up compared to Dirt Rally 2.0?

One of the big titles on the way in the next few weeks is EA Sports WRC. Yes, as of yesterday, 3 October, the game is now within a month of its release. With launch approaching fast, EA Sports is in the middle of a promotion campaign with weekly showcase videos.

The most recent launched today, showing raw EA Sports WRC gameplay on a variety of stages, in a host of cars and differing conditions. The first chance to see what the game will offer players on 3 November, how good does the game look from afar? Here’s our rundown of the video.

Stage Design

With the official WRC licence, Codemasters and EA have been able to better replicate stages one might see on the sport’s worldwide feed. As a result, one should be able to gain a sense of immersion when driving on any of the whopping 600 individual kilometres set to feature in the game.

This video showcased three stages; one from Rally Estonia, one from Rally Japan and one from Sweden. Beside the stereotypical rice fields of Japan and Swedish snow, these stages do go some way to encapsulate their real-world rallies. The Swedish location in particular does a great job of putting the player on faster than usual roads for the snowy round.

It is clear that the move from Ego to the Unreal Engine is helping the developers create larger environments. In Dirt Rally 2.0, stages were often lined with trees with very few far-reaching views. Now however, the game seems to feature wide-open spaces with roads passing through expansive fields.

Stages look more open in EA Sports WRC
Stages look more open in EA Sports WRC. Image credit: EA Sports

It is also plain to see that the previous game, WRC Generations, was not created by the same team as this new release. Adopting a more focused sense, the stages are not full of life and celebration like the KT Games locations. Be it a good thing or a bad thing, this is something fans may notice from this EA Sports WRC gameplay footage.

Audio in EA Sports WRC

Even back in the early Dirt games baring Colin McRae’s name, audio was never something Codemasters struggled to perfect. That appears to be true with EA Sports WRC as well.

Onboard sounds from each of the three cars in the video seem correct. The blend of engine noise and transmission whine feels like a good compromise. Elsewhere, the clunks and bashes of bump impacts do not appear too intrusive. A key moment in the Rally Estonia footage is the tyre screech upon transitioning from dirt to tarmac. This is something one would rarely hear in Dirt Rally 2.0, a positive sign for the handling.

Physics: DR2.0 Improvement?

The most important element of this gameplay video for many is surely the chance to see how EA Sports WRC handles. Since the beginning, Codemasters and EA have said that the game will use handling model from Dirt Rally 2.0 with some improvements, notably to tarmac.

A blue hatchback driving on a tarmac road surrounded by trees.
Image credit: EA Sports WRC

In fact, the 2019 title launched to mixed success. For loose surface driving, the game was and still is industry leading. However, the tarmac rallies such as Spain and Poland often saw players complain. An overall floaty feeling overwhelmed the wheel and cars would respond poorly. Much like wet weather in racing sims sometimes seen as dry physics with the grip turned down, DR2.0‘s tarmac handling felt like gravel physics with the grip turned up.

The good news is that Codemasters seems to have done a good job at addressing the issue. The Japanese stage showcased in particular in this gameplay video sees the Hyundai i20N grip to the surface better. As one must expect for a rally car not built for circuit racing, the car does slide. But the loss of grip appears to be far more gradual and later in a corner, rather than immediately on turn-in.

Setting stages in different seasons seems to nicely affect grip as well. Early on in the Japanese stage, Jon Armstrong drives the opening sector in winter, with ice and snow lining the course. It seems this provides less grip to the rear end, in a nice way. However, it does seem that the front end retains perhaps a touch too much grip. This is what makes the car appear to rotate around the centre of the car. However, the drier conditions do not feature the same issue.

It is worth noting that Armstrong is a developer for Codemasters and a professional rally driver. Therefore, his driving style and approach to the game may alter how it looks. For instance, smoother inputs make give the car a more approachable look. But for the most part, it is fair to say that EA Sports WRC appears to be a good step forward from Dirt Rally 2.0.

What do you make of the EA Sports WRC gameplay showcase? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

A petrol head and motorsports fan since the early days, sim racing has been a passion of mine for a number of years. The perfect way to immerse myself in my true dream job; racing driver. With lots of experience jotting down words about the car industry, I am happy to share my passion for pretend race cars here on Overtake!