The WRC series from KT Games is settling comfortably into its role as the FIFA of rally games - every year a new one comes along, sometimes with significant overhauls and sometimes with a few quality of life improvements and some new content. On first glance WRC 9 appears to be the latter, but dig a little deeper and it reveals itself as the former.
So, yes, a few of the design choices such as the loading screens have barely been touched, and that can initially make the game seem a bit familiar. There have been a lot of changes under the hood, however.
Some of those changes: WRC 8 received criticism for requiring a bit of tinkering to make some of the cars driving - that's no longer the case; the handbrake has been made more manageable and hairpin bends are a joy to navigate as a result (and the Scandinavian flick has been nailed, too); the feel of road surfaces has been improved (and moving from one to the other is more realistic as a result).
Graphically, the game is sharper and smoother with higher framerates and finer detail, not to mention more dynamic lighting.
For some, of course, it will be the new rallies that offer the biggest draw. Japan, New Zealand and Kenya all make a first appearance, while stages such as Turkey and Finland have been built and improved upon.Add in a new Club mode that allows players to set up their own online championships and invite friends to compete and there's a lot of horsepower driving WRC 9.