There's also lots of content to race through. The career mode will take you a good long while to get through, but there are also plenty of individual rally and race modes to mess with if you're looking for a quick race or two on the go. The game loads quickly between races, so you won't find yourself waiting around endlessly for tracks to load. WRC also includes multiplayer functionality, but like in most rally games, it's pretty worthless. The only head-to-head ad hoc mode is a simple time trial race where you race against a ghost car outline of your opponent's car. The rest of the modes--which include full rallies and even a version of the career mode--are all turn-based on a single PSP. These modes aren't broken or bad, but they don't lend themselves to a particularly thrilling multiplayer experience. Then again, maybe it's asking too much for a developer to come up with a great multiplayer variation of a traditionally single-car sport.
WRC's best feature is its graphics. There are lots of pretty-looking PSP driving games out there that do flashier things than WRC, but this game nails a lot of the rally aesthetics exceedingly well. The race courses feature varied forms of terrain and weather effects, and no matter what you're driving through, the frame rate keeps steady at around 30 frames per second at all times. The car models are detailed and include more than just your average range of damage modeling. Bumpers don't just come off--they bend and twist depending on what you run into and where. Mud cakes over the attractive paint jobs of the cars over time, windshields crack, and dents will appear all over the place. The cars also have a natural movement that isn't completely realistic but looks really nice as you're driving along, taking big jumps and sliding around big turns. You might run into an occasional collision glitch with pieces of the scenery, but those problems aside, this is a wonderful-looking game.
There's lots of different terrain to drive on, and the environments are excellent looking.
The audio is considerably less impressive. The in-race sounds aren't the problem--the racing sound effects are all very good, and the copilot dialogue, while a little robotic, is nicely informative. It's the soundtrack that drags things down. The songs themselves are fine, including tracks by popular artists like Franz Ferdinand and The Walkmen. The trouble is that there are only six songs on the soundtrack, and they don't even play at random. You have to go into the options menu any time you want new music to play and switch the songs manually. Otherwise, the same song will play endlessly during races. There's no point in having a licensed soundtrack if it's going to be so limited in scope and set up in such a moronic way. At least there's an option to turn the music off.
WRC: FIA World Rally Championship is a thoroughly imperfect racer, but it's a good first effort at bringing the WRC series to the PSP. The flaws in the controls are impossible to ignore, and the overwrought difficulty is going to turn a lot of casual players off (and hardcore players might be irritated at some of the game's arcade-in-lieu-of-simulation inspirations). But with its superb visual presentation, wealth of courses, and genuinely fun (if flawed) driving, WRC: FIA World Rally Championship is a game that rally racing fans ought to take a look at.