DiRT Rally is one of the most authentic and thrilling rally games ever made, and that is before it has been fine-tuned and road-tested over 80 million miles by the DiRT community. The game perfectly captures that white knuckle feeling of racing on the edge as you hurtle along dangerous roads at breakneck speed, knowing that one crash could irreparably harm your stage time.
Codemasters‘ latest racing game might not contain the breadth of a Gran Turismo or Forza title, but its singular focus on rally racing makes it a cut above other games. DiRT Rally does a remarkable job of capturing the intensity of rallying, rallycross and hill climbs, where every hairpin turn and gravel-laden jump can send you careening off to certain doom.
DiRT Rally strips everything back to basics, and presents a simulation of rally that celebrates the unbridled purity of motorsport. In short if you are completely in control, you’re not going fast enough. For example imagine this: the dense walls of trees on either side blur into a desaturated mess of browns and greens. My co-driver warns of a fast-approaching bump in the road and, just as the words leave him, I soar into the air. The wheels come tumbling back down again, depressing the suspension springs with a worrying thud. My focus is now on to the next instruction, this game really does immerse you in the driving experience.
There are 39 cars available, ranging from the 1960s classics to today’s competitors. Aside from a few obvious exceptions DiRT Rally covers most of the sport’s most iconic vehicles. There is a great deal of variety in the rally locations, ranging from the huge jumps and high speed gravel straights of Finland to the incredibly rough gravel farm tracks of Greece, and from the lush, green countryside of Germany to the icy roads of Sweden, with its stages carved through snow drifts. In addition to the rally locations there’s also Colorado’s famous Pikes Peak hillclimb course, plus several dedicated Rallycross tracks.
DiRT Rally is a great looking game. The vehicles themselves are incredibly detailed and the stage design is excellent. The small details are incredible from the way new mud is plastered over dried mud, to the occasions you’ll spot camera drones darting from behind shrubs to capture a great angle of you shredding up a corner. And the water splash effects? Magnificent!
Now to the sound of the cars, exhaust notes are a violent symphony of snarls, crackles, and pops just like in real life. DiRT Rally nails everything from the whine of a turbo, or the squeal of brakes. The pace notes too have an incredibly authentic beat to them, feeling unique to each stage rather than a cut and pasted barrage of commands lifted from a virtual soundboard.
DiRT Rally now also includes officially licensed World Rallycross content, allowing you to experience the high-speed thrills of some of the world’s fastest off-road cars at some of the series’ best-loved circuits, in both single player and high-intensity multiplayer races.
DiRT Rally is more than just the best Codemasters rally game to date; it’s arguably the best racing game Codemasters has produced in at least a decade. DiRT Rally is rewarding precisely because it makes you work so hard to get results. It’s certainly the best crack at a hard-core rally game since 2004’s heavily-worshiped Richard Burns Rally. It’s brilliant.
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