3 Reviews


Grit and persistence from Black Bean and Ubisoft

Black Bean may have a fraction of the budget of the DiRT games, but it may surprise you to discover that this plucky (albeit officially licensed) upstart actually does some things better than Codies' off-road behemoth.

The career mode for example, which saw us build Team Dirtbag from a humble one-car operation into a fully fledged motorsport team complete with R&D and a PR squad, is remarkably involving.

Your first season's schedule is fixed, but beyond that you choose a calendar from a selection of race programmes, tinker with staffing and are rewarded with a variety of unlockables as you go. Exactly the kind of coherency between races we're looking for in a racing game. WRC 2's also got the tracks to support a career mode of this complexity without too much repetition.

Releasing close to Forza 4? You sure picked your moment, WRC 2.

Many of the routes are lightly polished versions of the ones from last year's game - but with 90 configurations of corners and straights, unless you absolutely hammered the previous version, there's no way you'll remember all of the old ones.

Besides, there are enough new rallies, including an incongruous urban blast through central Berlin, plus five new head-to-head super special stages. The sins of the father aren't entirely erased, though. The co-driver is less of a pain, but there are still too many late calls - don't tell us to slow down, tell us the number of the corner first and we'll decide whether we need to slow down or not.

Similarly, while there are l improvements visually, it'd be a Pinocchio-calibre stretch to call it a pretty game. That Berlin location? The graphics engine just isn't good enough to do it justice.

But whether you're haring along some cliffside road, desperately trying to keep yourself from sailing to a painful death, or just fiddling with your sponsor challenges for maximum return, WRC 2 is an involving and rewarding racer. It's still not as great as the DiRT games, but it's not as far off as you might think.

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The verdict

Surprisingly solid quick and dirty fun

Xbox 360
Racing / Driving