For the Rally sim fans

Title: V-Rally 4
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Kylotonn
Publisher: BigBen Interactive
Release date: Out now for PC, PS4, Xbox One and coming this winter for Nintendo Switch
tl;dr: Might as well become a Rally driver instead
Price: Console: $60/£50
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

The V-Rally series first began already 20 years ago; in 1997 to be exact, on Sony’s first Playstation console. Two years later, the game was ported to PC and the Nintendo 64 as V-Rally ’99 with slightly improved graphics and all cars from the 1998 FIA World Rally Championship. There was a dumbed down version of the game for the Game Boy Colour, V-Rally 2, then releases throughout 1999 and 2000 across a handful of platforms and different regions. The sequel featured vehicles from the 1999 World Rally Championship season along with whopping 80 tracks from the 1999 season. Then in 2002, V-Rally 3 was released to the masses first for PS2 and Game Boy Advance, followed by an Xbox, Gamecube and PC version in 2003. Fast forward to 2018. where V-Rally 4 finally sees the light of day.

V-Rally 4 is a rally sim where players will attempt to conquer the rally world across five different types of races: Buggy, V-Rally, Hillclimb, Extreme Khana, and Rally. Extreme Khana is a unique mode which features more complex races mixed up with obstacles and crazy twists and turns, challenging players to the fullest. One thing’s for sure; the game is an unforgiving rally sim. Even dropping the difficulty setting (which results in lower income for winning races) won’t help. The slightest mistake will prove costly and even driving perfectly after a few mistakes will make catching up near impossible. Thankfully, the game is somewhat forgiving in other aspects. Even finishing last will reward players with a decent amount of money. Beware, however, that if you get into scuffles or hit obstacles, an amount will be deducted from your winnings in order to pay for the damages.

As with most racing games, V-Rally 4 features a hub where players can manage their finances and their collection of cars. As players complete races around the world, they will earn well-deserved cash and new parts will become available to upgrade their vehicle. Parts unlocked will be more precisely for the car they are currently driving. Once the part has been unlocked, players can spend their hard-earned virtual currency to improve their car’s performance. One of the game’s most interesting aspects is the crew players can hire to help them succeed. For example, you’ll be able to hire crew members with different strengths such as Nancy, the initial guiding voice whose expertise lies in the rally genre of races.

For each race type, players will be able to hire a crew member who will guide them through the races and events. You can also hire engineers and mechanics, for example, all of which have to be paid at the end of the week. The more efficient your mechanic, the higher the salary. Thankfully, crew members have reasonable pricing, so if you’re having a hard time winning the big bucks events, you’ll be able to pay a decently efficient mechanic without being penalized too much.

The game’s presentation unfortunately falls flat. Not to say that it’s all bad, but visually speaking it’s definitely hit and miss. Environments are pretty and look lush, up to the point that I wish the game was open world à la Forza Horizon so I could drive anywhere. Unfortunately, up close, the vehicles, crowds and surrounding details are pretty meh; it could easily be mistaken for a late PS3/Xbox 360 game. The UI is easy to navigate and pretty barebones. While navigating through your warehouse, there’s a voiceover which will guide and explain the game’s mechanics and details, but it sounds so mundane, players will tune it out pretty quickly, but on the upside, there are some rap/hip-hop tracks playing in the background of the menus. On the race tracks, expect nothing but car noises. While I can understand during rallys, the lack of music is vital as you need to hear your co-pilot, but during standard races, there’s no mood/background music to make things more tolerable over the car engines.

I will not sugarcoat this: V-Rally 4 is a rally sim through and through. It won’t make things easy for newcomers. The game’s subpar presentation and stiff, rigid mechanics is sure to turn off new players if they don’t dedicate the necessary time to this game; however, rally purists will be able to overlook the game’s sparse presentation and eat it up. Putting in the necessary time will reward players with crazy turns and races. For everyone else, wait for Forza Horizon 4.

The Good

  • Exciting rally sim
  • Rally purists rejoice!

The Bad

  • Disappointing overall presentation
  • Steep learning curve

Family Focus

V-Rally 4 is rated E for everyone and PEGI 3 for all members of the family who can pick up a controller. In all fairness, however, not everyone will fully enjoy it.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.