Review: V-Rally 4 (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed by Prans Dunn, posted Jan 26, 2019
Jan 26, 2019
  • Release Date (NA): February 5, 2019
  • Release Date (EU): December 13, 2018
  • Publisher: Bigben Interactive
  • Developer: Kylotonn Entertainment
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
The off-road racing simulation V-Rally is back on track with its fourth installment. Is it a gripping experience or has being out of the competition for so long got its gears rusty?
Prans Dunn

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As is customary in racing games, this title is centered towards its career mode. You will have to pave your way from the bottom to the top while taking part in races across the globe from Bolivia to China. However, you will sadly remain at the bottom of the lot for the majority of the time, in particular while starting off. This is not only because V-Rally 4 deals with the harsh conditions of off-road racing but also subjects the player to harsh gaming conditions.

For one getting a grip of the controls will take a lot of practice and dedication and this can easily deter anyone with a passing interest in the game. Handling cars proves to be very challenging, with a slight inaccurate maneuver like braking too late or bumping in the environmental obstacles like rocks will have your car drifting around the track aimlessly. You might say that this is what’s supposed to happen in a rally game but they might have taken it too far in this game. And if you plan on driving carefully, then you’ll end up last in the race. Newcomers to the genre will have a hard time coming to terms with the controls and here the lack of a rewind feature is felt as it could greatly help alleviate things. V-Rally 4 feels very unforgiving to begin with but if you do have the patience to sink in some time and master the controls, you might enjoy the challenge that the game poses. But the game hasn’t enticed me enough to go that far myself.

Now this steep learning curve might have been fine except that in order to progress, you need to earn money and you do so by winning races. But if you can’t start winning races as soon as you pick up the game, then this spells trouble. Moreover, after every race you have to repair damages incurred to your vehicle and that will cost you more money. There is also an added a layer of finance management to V-Rally 4 where you have to allocate some capital to your crew which consists of an agent and mechanic and research teams to help you out in your career. So you have to manage to do sufficiently well in races in order to make the ends meet come pay day.

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There are five types of races you can participate in, Rally, V-Rally Cross, Buggy, Hillclimb and Extreme-Khana, and each will require a suitable car which you can purchase after you’ve painstakingly amassed enough cash. Rally races will have you attempt to finish the race as fast as possible. V-Rally Cross will have you compete wildly against others in short tracks. In Buggy races you drive, well, Buggy cars in off-road tracks and find the shortest path to the finish line. Hillclimb pits beefy cars in winding tracks of increasing altitude. As the name implies, Extreme-Khana is quite extreme challenging you to drive solo in closed tracks with sharp corners while testing your drifting abilities.

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All of these modes feature varied tracks from different countries which is very welcome except for the fact that the graphics seem to have been stuck when the last V-Rally game was released. At best they seem blurry and at worst they feel straight out of the GameCube’s V-Rally 3.

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Another let down in this title are the load times that I noticed to take place in both docked and handheld mode; loading before you race, loading before you actually see the model of the car you are choosing. Such load times would be understandable if the game was graphically demanding but in V-Rally 4’s case, I really wonder what’s taking so long to load those dated graphics.

V-Rally 4 has given me a lot to complain about, and I thought that it might be me at first but after playing it with others, I found out that they experienced similar issues as I did. In particular, the controls are very unforgiving. But I did have lots to laugh by playing against my brother in split screen as we each saw our cars skidding around the race tracks. The most fun I've had is in Quick Game, which is not even the main mode, but allowed me to choose from the full roster of cars in any type of race and make a fool of my driver, without affecting his virtual career.

V-Rally 4 - Launch Trailer

Verdict
Pros
+ Varied locations
+ Range of car selection
Cons
- Controls
- Dated graphics
- Difficulty curve
- Load times
5 Presentation
V-Rally 4's graphics all too often feels dated on the Switch and holds back the details that the varied landscapes and cars could depict.
4 Gameplay
Done either intentionally or unintentionally, the controls are a real challenge to behold.
4 Lasting Appeal
It's saddening to find that the main mode isn't where you'll have the most fun and even then driving aimlessly in Quick Game can only entertain you for so long.
4.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
I was looking forward to what the V-Rally franchise would bring with its comeback but was disappointed to see dated graphics and harsh controls holding back a once revered series.


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