Review – Dirt Rally 2.0

There’s just something exhilarating about rally racing that other racing disciplines lack. Maybe it’s because it is just you and the track, with only your co-driver and quick reflexes being the difference between finishing or spinning out of control to certain death. There’s no crowd cheering, no other racers jostling for position, no manufactured track underneath your tires. It’s your driving versus nature, and the smallest mistake can and will spell disaster.

 

Ignore your co-driver’s tips at your own peril.

The Colin McRae Rally franchise has always been the premier rally gaming experience. However, it wasn’t until the original Dirt Rally that Codemasters took the plunge and released a pure sim game instead of the more arcadeish titles that came before. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, and many consider it one of the best in the genre. While Dirt 4 took some elements from Rally, most still wished for a dedicated sequel that took what people loved about the original and added more, while remaining just as uncompromising. Dirt Rally 2.0 is exactly the game we were waiting for and more.

Just from a content standpoint, 2.0 is much bigger then its predecessor. More cars to unlock and master, more locations to fail in, more official WRC circuits for Rallycross fans, and more modes to play through. One new mode of particular note is the Historic Championships mode. Each championship is themed around different eras of rally racing history. They all start with an intro containing footage from the period and information about that stage of the sport’s history, and you race in cars from the time. It’s a fantastic way to experience racing history, and it’s clear that a lot of care and love was put into it. On top of that, there’s the standard Championships for both Rally and Rallycross, Daily/Weekly/Monthly events that put you in competition with the entire world’s times, and a full featured custom mode to create your own events.

MyTeam returns, but in a much more paired down manner than in Dirt 4.

As any racing fan will tell you though, it’s not about the content. A racing game lives and dies based upon its handling. It can have as many cars and tracks as you want, but if it feels wrong to play, it’s all for naught. Fortunately for Dirt Rally 2.0 the handling and feeling of control isn’t just as good as the original: it’s even better. Each car also feels different from each other, especially across classes, each with their own quirks to master. With over 50 cars to choose from, there’s a lot of game to experience here.

Also new are track degradation and an enhanced weather system. They all combine to form the most complete and authentic rally simulation made yet. You will grow to hate rain just as much as any rally racer, when it turns your so far successful 15 minute drive into a complete waste after you take one small turn just a little too fast. Also, your placing on the leaderboard matters now more than just winning. The more cars that go down the track, the more it degrades and gets harder to traverse. Now one bad move won’t just ruin your run, it could affect your whole championship! Realism!

The track is going to be shredded by the time it’s your turn.

Codemasters has made the best racing games for racing fans for years now, and Dirt Rally 2.0 is one of their best so far. Created hand-in-hand with actual rally racers, customized to feedback straight from players, and not compromised in the slightest in the name of aproachability, Dirt Rally 2.0 takes the promises and success of the original and manages to push the envelope even further. A must play for fans of the genre, and for anyone who just wants a challenging yet fair hardcore racing experience.

 

Graphics: 6.0

Forza Horizon this is not. Cars look great, but from muddy textures to shapeless forms masquerading as people the rest leaves much to be desired.

Gameplay: 9.0

The handling system is as close to perfect as I’ve played, the weather is appropriately rage inducing, and there’s plenty of modes to experience it in.

Sound: 7.5

The cars sound great as does the sounds your car makes moving across various surfaces. However, these are also the only sounds in the game. Understandable, but unremarkable.

Fun Factor: 8.5

There is no greater thrill in racing than a successfully rally run. However, it can also be incredibly difficult at the start, and there is a steep learning curve that many will fail to get past.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Dirt Rally 2.0 is available February 26th on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Dirt Rally 2.0 was provided by the publisher.

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