Review – WRC 9 (Switch)

When I first heard that Kylotonn and Nacon were porting WRC 9 to the Switch, I was equally curious and skeptical. I love when developers announce Switch ports of games that are way more advanced than what the console can handle, but I was also worried about the quality of the port. It was one hell of a good looking game on normal consoles, but it had its fair share of performance issues. How would the game run on a Switch? What kinds of visual and performance cuts would be implemented in order for it to even be able to be played on said system?

WRC 9 Switch

WRC 9 is occasionally good looking… for Switch standards…

This review will basically focus on the port’s performance, as the amount of content per se is identical to all other versions of WRC 9 released so far. The open world practice area, the RPG-inspired career mode, quick races, as well as online multiplayer, are all featured in here. This is not a FIFA type of Switch port: not a single piece of content has been removed. You’re getting the same game as before, but on the go.

I also need to clarify that, for obvious reasons, this is the ugliest and worst performing version of WRC 9 out of all ports released since last year. That’s fine. We were aware of that. Thankfully, it runs surprisingly well, considering all of its issues and hardware-related hindrances.

WRC 9 Porsche

… but there are other times it looks hideous.

The most noticeable downgrade is the level of graphical detail. The Switch version of WRC 9 looks like a PC running the game on minimum specs, with reduced textural quality, the removal of tons of environmental props, and a severe reduction in the game’s overall lighting effects. Some levels look like deforested versions of the same tracks featured in the Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game. It’s a bit ugly, no doubt about it, but it looks decent when playing on portable mode. It’s way too inferior to other ports when played on docked mode, which will probably make you want to turn your PlayStation or Xbox on and play WRC 9 there instead.

Weirdly enough, all cars still retain high quality models and textures, standing out from the rest of the game. There are times in which the discrepancies are so severe that it makes you feel like you’re playing an older racing game with some more modern mods installed.

A rally game without a Lancia Delta isn’t a rally game, it’s an embarrassment.

These caveats allow for WRC 9 to achieve a respectable framerate on the Switch, despite some occasional, albeit minor, hiccups. Despite being all about quick reflexes and precision, rally cars don’t always run at ludicrous speeds, making the more limited framerate feel less egregious as a result. Just like with the visuals as a whole, the framerate issues are more apparent if you decide, for some reason, to play the game on docked mode instead of portable. The smaller screen manages to hide some of WRC 9‘s inconsistencies.

Just like most Switch ports, WRC 9 is heavily compressed, and that results in a few extra issues. Due to the amount of times the game needs to unzip folders, its loading times are substantially longer than in other versions of the game, and I’m not even talking about the blistering fast next-gen versions which take advantage of their consoles’ SSD capabilities. Finally, while there is a crap-ton of music and voice acting, even an untrained ear will be able to notice how compressed and unnatural they sound. 

It’s almost like Tokyo Drift…

Let’s face it. There was no way the Switch version of WRC 9 would look and run like other versions of the game. Although, the sole fact that not only does it actually run on such underpowered hardware, but manages to do so without looking hideous or running at a poor framerate, is already impressive in its own right. Being admittedly the worst version of the game out there, I’d actually recommend grabbing WRC 9 for other consoles if you haven’t played it yet. But if you’re a fan of the series, as well as rally games in general, having this game on-the-go is still quite fun.


Graphics: 6.5

This version of WRC 9 has suffered loads of setbacks in order to properly run on the Switch’s hardware. It’s much uglier than any other port of the game, but the fact that it still looks passable and it doesn’t run like crap is impressive enough.

Gameplay: 7.0

Even if the Joy-Cons or Pro Controller aren’t ideal for racing games, it does play well enough. The framerate is not as stable as other versions, but it’s not bad either.

Sound: 7.0

The same soundtrack and sound effects from other versions, but everything sounds noticeably more compressed.

Fun Factor: 7.0

It’s obviously not as entertaining as other console ports, but the fact that this version of WRC 9 is not only playable, but actually enjoyable on Switch, is already way better than initially expected.

Final Verdict: 7.0

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

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of WRC 9 was provided by the publisher.