The DiRT series is back, bigger and somewhat scarier than ever. For a series that is now over two decades old, going back to the original PlayStation titles, you’d think the quality would struggle to stand the test of time, but you would be wrong. Codemasters have consistently put out stellar rally title after rally title out there onto the market. Whilst the improvements game to game are not monumental, you can really see the love and attention the studio has for this series.
DiRT Rally 2.0 is the sequel to 2015’s aptly named DiRT Rally, and you can definitely tell these two games are not for the faint of heart. Essentially, DiRT Rally 2.0 does exactly what you would like a sequel to do: refine and add some features to mix up the formula.
Trust me when I say this, you will be terrible at this game if you are a newcomer as it is punishingly difficult, and you will be extremely frustrated when you start off. This game demands your time to improve, you will make incremental improvements as you play, and you will feel immense pleasure when you complete a race with pinpoint precision.
The developers have made this game to be as authentic an experience as possible, but in doing so, it has really blocked itself off to the casual player. You can definitely tell this is geared towards the hardcore gamer as there is no tutorial to help the new players ease themselves into this game.
Don’t think that if you are an avid racer that you will be spared from the pain of losing. You will have accidents, and in this game, car damage can be a major factor during a race championship. The repairs that your car will need will just eat into your overall race time before you know it.
The ever-present rewind feature in most Codemasters racing games is not present in this game. Whilst this helping hand has been taken away, it does make you think about your moves more carefully. You will see your driving skills increase because of this decision.
Whilst this may all sound off-putting and might make it sound as if the game is just put out there to punish you for every single mistake, you will be determined to improve as the game’s driving is impeccable. Even with a controller, it is ultra precise and very rewarding. You are able to navigate through the long, tricky tracks with such laser-like precision. Even with the lack of assists, there is an abundance of race settings to make the game perfect to play.
The biggest portion of this game is the Rally Career. You will compete in championships and earn credits that can be spent on new cars and upgrades. You can also buy members of a staff team that will offer bonuses, such as reduced repair costs and penalty times. There is also a Rallycross career, which will allow you to go up against others instead of just setting times. Whilst this mode adds some meat to the game’s bones, it is nowhere near as enjoyable as the normal Rally Career as the AI feels a bit too rough and too “video gamey” for my liking.
This is an upgrade from the last game but still does not reach the pinnacle racing titles of this generation, like Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo, in terms of the technical aspects of the graphics and frame-rate, but don’t think it looks bad either. It looks good, just not outstanding. The tracks are also very well done, especially well known tracks, like Silverstone, or the rural spots across Australia, Europe and South America. This GOTY edition does come with all the previously released content over the last year, which includes lots of new cars and tracks to boot to add further depth to this stellar rally title.
The big inclusion in this edition is the official FIA Rallycross Championship, which adds more to the already packed career path. There is also the flat out pack, which twists things up by including 40 scenarios from Colin McRae’s career and the beautiful locations across Scotland.
In summation, this is a superb rally simulation. Codemasters have really listened to the feedback from their loyal fan base and have made some really nice improvements. This is a hardcore game for a hardcore crowd. This game could not come with a higher recommendation if you enjoyed the first game from 2015. The inclusion of the familiar voice of Phil Mills as your co-driver is a very nice touch. The purr of the engine, the look of the tracks and the crunch of every single crash and hit from other cars is superb. There is also a brilliant soundtrack to keep you going through the menus.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 20th March 2020