I recently got my hands on DiRT Rally for the PC and wanted to see how it played. I have played a few racing games over the years, but I haven’t played a rally game since I was younger. The game is also coming to Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles early next year. From the moment I started the game I was impressed.
The game comes from Codemasters, and previous games like Dirt Showdown have failed to match other racing games in terms of quality. This is the first game that Codemasters put into early access, and it seems to have been a good idea. The game feels tight, compact and delivers a quality experience. Codemasters have now been able to use feedback from gamers to improve the game, something that we are seeing more and more often.
The game is very hard to get used to and certainly takes practice, but I love that because it made perfectly that turn or course even more satisfying. You can use a number of assists if you are looking for a more casual experience. Controlling the car feels very responsive and also controls differently as you drive on various surfaces. The game is still accessible to new players and it just takes time and practise to improve. Every car feels and controls slightly differently which was nice to see.
The game provides many different locations. There’s places like Baumholder that sees you driving on tarmac, Monte Carlo has ice and snow and many other surfaces and locations that will test you. You have to really consider how to approach each course to become successful in the leaderboards. You have the ability to change the pace notes given to you as you drive. What I also really liked was how the courses varied it length. That’s great as you can do a short 5-10 minute course or a longer one more like 20-25 minutes. This means you can just jump into the game for a short session or sit down for a longer period.
There’s a PVP mode, where there are three locations to compete. These are Hell, Lydden Hill, and Höljes. Again these courses offer a variety of styles and layouts designed to test your skills. What’s also fantastic about this mode is the licensed World RX cars and also drivers. There is also Pikes Peak which is extremely hard. You have a choice of three cars, the Audi Sport Quattro S1, Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak and the Peugeot 205 T16 Pikes Peak. This really tests your skills and would recommend you practice a lot before taking this on.
If you want to really get into the game and its mechanics, you can use the car tuning options. You can just pick a car a drive it with its standard settings, but if you want to you can fiddle with various aspects of the cars controls and features. This can mean you can change how the cars control. This isn’t something I personally used much, but its nice to see that option and it certainly will appeal to the more hardcore rally enthusiast. Another thing to mention is the range of cars to choose from is very impressive. You can also drive older cars from the 80’s which is a nice addition.
The presentation of the game is great. The game looks visually stunning as you hit surfaces, and see snow, dirt and mud spray. The locations look impressive and varied, and there’s nice lighting affects. What I also enjoyed was how damage taken to your car looks realistic. This effects the car and therefore you have to be extremely careful not to rack up too much damage. The sound design is also great, and you can see that a lot of time and effort has been put into creating an experience that feels realistic. The combination of good sound design, impressive visuals and solid gameplay creates an impressively immersive experience.
Overall DiRT Rally is a very impressive title from Codemasters. It’s great for hardcore rally enthusiasts but also offers a nice entry point for new gamers into this genre. It’s certainly not easy, so if you’re on the fence then be aware that it will require time and practice to get into. The game feels great to play when you get the hang of it, it looks visually impressive and has real depth. If you want an experience that feels challenging but rewarding, then this could be the game for you.
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