Title: CMR 8
Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One
Editor: Bigben Interactive
Tested version: Nintendo Switch
Official site: https://www.wrcthegame.com/en
Release Date: November 14, 2019
Where to buy: Steam, PSN, Eshop, Microsoft Store
CMR 8 is my new favorite farming game. At first I spent so much time among the trees that I became something of an expert on the subject. Quite how I didn’t start this review swearing speaks volumes about my professionalism.
If any of you don’t like to hear swear words I would suggest not being with family members while they are playing CMR 8 on Nintendo Switch and if you have no choice, at least wear a headset to avoid injury from hastily launched consoles.
I’ll start off by pointing out that I’m not particularly good at racing games, in fact I’m pretty average at best. Rally games, on the other hand, are generally something I’m pretty good at. This was not the case when I started CMR 8 and not all the problems were my fault.
The CMR series of games have always been a little more serious compared to Colin McRae franchise and although I have always preferred the efforts of Codemasters, I have a soft spot for CMR games too. This Switch port almost erased all the good times from my memory.
The main problem with CMR 8 is the switch itself. Currently there aren’t a lot of racing games available for Nintendo’s joy machine and I’m starting to understand why, especially when played in handheld mode or with the Joy-Cons.
Joy-Cons are not made for racing games due to the shoulder buttons and these are a serious obstacle in racing games, especially rally games with their tight and fast stages with tight turns that just begging to be derived.
The PS4 and Xbox One versions of CMR are joys to play. Getting around the bends is a snap with the pressure-sensitive knobs that apply just the right amount of gas. With the Switch, it’s either at full throttle or without throttle. Having to try and push the button to feather the car is no fun and leads to a lot of crashes.
I can’t fault the developers too much as they were hampered by hardware limitations, but I found my experience in CMR 8 be frustrating, especially compared to its counterparts. I was almost ready to give up as soon as I started, yet I pushed, for you, the reader.
Aside from the controls, another big issue is one that is prevalent in many Switch games. Loading times. I’ve moaned a lot about this in a lot of the Switch reviews I’ve done and each time they seem to be worse. Here they are terrible, especially when all you want to do is complete a few quick races in a row.
Loading takes you out of the experience and is very frustrating. At least once the scene loads, it’s all there and you can run from start to finish without more pesky loading screens. Obviously it was always going to be, I’m just trying to look for the positives here, folks.
Once things load, you might wish they hadn’t. CMR 8 is not a spectator, even in docked mode. I mostly play on my unconnected Switch and here things look awful. The framerate mostly resists, but with occasional stuttering as the scenery appears.
The cars and the track look pretty pixelated and this is a problem as it can be quite difficult to see the corners approaching, especially if you are driving at night. I found myself relying on my co-pilot and his rhythm notes which, ironically, made the game more realistic and quite fun. Without him, I would have been lost.
I tried to play a race without sound. A mistake that I will not repeat in the future. I spent more time off the track than on this one and I know for a fact that if I had the sound on the crowd watching it would be just aimless applause like I just won the whole thing. The condescending so-and-so.
At this point, after quite a bit of playing time, I was ready to score CMR 8 still a shameful star out of 5. Mainly because I don’t think I have the right to give it a zero. I was ready to give up and return my paper with a shameful look on my face.
That’s when my aforementioned professionalism kicked in. I hadn’t tried it with a real controller yet. What was I thinking? So I dusted off my trusty GameCube wireless controller and tried again.
The results were completely different. I found myself having faultless races and winning. I could go around the corners and I was having a lot of fun. If you are ready to buy this game, I highly recommend that you play with a real controller and not the Joy-Cons.
Not only is the gameplay better grounded and with a controller, but it is also more beautiful. It’s still not great, but docking performance is a big improvement over the handheld.
After that I tried the handheld again, but this time I remapped the controls. I mapped the acceleration to the right analog stick, which allowed me to have a throttle that I could control. It took a bit of getting used to, but once acclimatized I was once again able to drive properly and have fun.
If you have the game and want to play in portable mode, I can’t recommend you highly enough to do so. Just make sure to remove the camera from the same analog stick or you’ll feel violently sick pretty quickly.
From a content perspective, the Switch port of CMR 8 is the worst available. The full career mode where you will probably spend most of your time is all present and taken into account, however, the modes of the other versions are not. The Esports and split screen modes of its counterparts are missing, which is a shame, although I dread thinking what the split screen would look like here.
The Switch port offers weekly challenges that pit you against the times of other racers around the world, but this is the career mode players should spend the most time in.
I’m out of room and can’t discuss it at length, however, it’s an engaging and fun mode where you build your racing team and reputation while taking on the various stages of the race. WRC. I enjoyed this mode and now that I can actually play the game I plan to spend more time with it in the future. Just be aware that the text is insanely small and now I have to wear glasses.
I would recommend to give CMR 8 to try if you have a PlayStation or Xbox as it will be the best version of the game to play. The Switch port lacks features and has a lot of the issues I described above, but even with that, it remains one of the best racing games on the platform thanks to a lack of other titles.
If the Switch is your only way to play, you might want to give it a try. Just make sure to play on your TV and use the other control options available.
Verdict: once I played around with the control settings I had a lot more fun with it CMR 8. The poor graphics and appalling load times are quite shocking, however, with a fairly engaging season mode, this could be a worthy purchase for racing fans who only own a Switch.
WRC 8 is the official simulation of the World Rally Championship. Get behind the wheel of WRC, WRC 2, Junior WRC and various legendary cars, negotiating over 100 special stages on the 14 rallies of the championship.
- Best rally game on Switch
- Good career mode
- Button mapping
- Horrible graphics
- Horrible loading times
- Lack of features compared to other versions