Review – WRC 9 (Nintendo Switch)

When I heard that Kylotonn and Nacon were porting WRC 9 to the Switch, I was both curious and skeptical. I love it when developers announce ports of games to Switch that go way beyond what the console can handle, but I also worry about the quality of the port. It was a very good game on regular consoles, but it had its share of performance issues. How would the game work on the Switch? What are the visual and operational reductions, so it can be mapped to the given system?

WRC 9 looks good sometimes…. for switching standards

This article will mainly focus on the performance of the port, as the content itself is identical to all other versions of WRC 9 released so far. You’ll find an open training area, a role-playing game mode, high-speed racing and online multiplayer. This isn’t some FIFA Switch port: No part of the content has been removed. You get the same game as before, but in motion.

I should also point out that this is the ugliest and worst performing version of WRC 9 of all the ports released since last year. It doesn’t matter. We knew that. Fortunately, given all his material problems and obstacles, it works surprisingly well.

… but there are other cases where it looks nasty.

The most noticeable deterioration concerns the level of graphic detail. The Switch version of WRC 9 looks like a PC game running on minimal specs, with a reduced quality of textures, the removal of a ton of environment attributes and a serious reduction in the overall lighting effect in the game. Some levels look like distorted versions of the same tracks from the Xbox and Playstation versions of the game. It’s a little ugly, no doubt, but it looks decent when you play in portable mode. It’s inferior to other ports when you play it in docked mode, which will probably encourage you to turn on your Playstation or Xbox and play WRC 9 on it.

Oddly enough, all the cars retain the high quality of the models and textures, which sets them apart from the rest of the game. Sometimes the gaps are so big that it’s like playing an old racing game with more modern models.

A rally without a Lancia Delta is not a rally, it’s a disgrace.

Thanks to these limitations, WRC 9 achieves a respectable frame rate on the Switch, despite some occasional, albeit minor, hiccups. While it’s all about quick reflexes and precision, rally cars don’t always move at ridiculous speeds, making limited shooting less of an issue. As with graphics in general, frame rate issues become more apparent for some reason when playing in docked mode rather than handheld mode. The small screen manages to hide some of WRC 9’s inconsistencies.

Like most switch ports, WRC 9 is highly compressed, which causes some additional problems. Due to the number of times the game has to unzip folders, load times are significantly longer than in other versions of the game, not to mention the fast next-gen versions that take advantage of their consoles’ SSD capabilities. Finally, although there is a lot of music and singing, even an untrained ear will notice how compressed and unnatural these are.

It’s like Tokyo Drift…

Let’s face it. There was no way the Switch version of WRC 9 would look and run like the other versions of the game, but the mere fact that the game not only runs on such hardware with such low power, but manages to do so without looking ugly or running on a bad screen is impressive in itself. Since this is the worst version of the game, I recommend you get WRC 9 on the other consoles if you haven’t played it yet, but if you’re a fan of the series and rally games in general, this game is still great fun on the road.

This version of WRC 9 has had a lot of glitches to work properly on the Switch hardware. It’s much uglier than any other port of the game, but the fact that it looks acceptable and doesn’t run like crap is already impressive. While Joycones or Pro controllers are not ideal for racing games, they are good enough. The frame rate is not as stable as other versions, but not bad either.
The soundtrack and sound effects are the same as in the other versions, but everything seems much more compressed. Sure, it’s not as exciting as other console ports, but the fact that this version of WRC 9 is not only playable on the Switch, but actually fun to play, is already a lot better than what was originally intended.
Last block : 7.0

WRC 9 is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC and Switch.

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A copy of CMR 9 was provided by the publisher.

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