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Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4 Pro)

9

Amazing

Codemasters have become a bit of a household name for racing game fans over the years. They’ve built up a reputation of making good quality games across different disciplines within the racing game genre. DiRT Rally 2.0 is another entry in their DiRT series and I’m just going to say it, it’s damn good.

Not for the faint of heart

I will be the first to admit that I struggled to get going with DiRT Rally 2.0. The game is not easy, and there’s very little hand-holding to let you come to grips with what is what once you boot it up. There’s no tutorial besides some dude explaining to you what is what in the menus, which is clean and very well designed. When you decide to get going and do some racing (because that’s why we’re here), it becomes very apparent that this game is not for the faint of heart.

DiRT Rally 2.0 has almost all of the assists off by default, so if you not used to the super simulation of a rally game, you’re going to have a hard time.

DiRT Rally 2.0 has almost all of the assists off by default, so if you not used to the super simulation of a rally game, you’re going to have a hard time. I really struggled to get going and wasn’t enjoying myself with the game, but once I looked at the assists, and enabled a few, I could sit back and enjoy this awesome game for what it’s worth.

The first thing I truly noticed was just how pretty the game looks. DiRT Rally 2.0 has some of the best visuals I’m seen outside of console exclusive titles such as Gran Turismo or Forza. The locations you travel to for your racing looks amazing, with some incredible drawing distances, decent looking crowd and some pretty solid particle effects. The cars themselves though are amazing and the way dirt accumulates on the vehicles are just incredible. It also varies depending on the service you’re racing on whether it’s mud, dust or just general grime, it all looks great and authentic. I should also mention that wet conditions look amazing, as you can see the water damming up tracks of other cars or mini-potholes on the road. The attention to detail when it comes to these things are so good and I love it.

DiRT Rally 2.0 also has some incredible sound design. The cars sound amazing, and the sounds of pebbles and stones bouncing off the road onto the body of the car are pretty accurate from what I know driving on gravel roads.

I know my car is a mess, but just look at that massive trail of dust you leave in your wake.

If you’re not living on the edge…

As I mentioned, I really struggled in the beginning, and I blame that game design, that could have made things a tad bit easier for newcomers. That doesn’t mean that racing in DiRT Rally 2.0 is bad though, on the contrary, it is incredible. Once I got used to the way the game plays, I started removing and adjusting some of the assists to cater to my abilities and skill level, and boy does this game come alive then.

While racing, especially in faster cars, there’s this sense of controlled chaos. You’re truly living on the edge as you know one little mistake can completely destroy the great time you’re having.

While racing, especially in faster cars, there’s this sense of controlled chaos. You’re truly living on the edge as you know one little mistake can completely destroy the great time you’re having. There’s no rewind, and the game only offers you a limited number of restarts on an event, so it really becomes a serious risk/reward kind of thing. The vehicles all handle like an absolute dream, and going sideways through a long five left has never been so satisfying.

DiRt Rally 2.0 offers two main disciplines which are Rally and RallyCross and it can be accessed via a few different ways. Rally is your normal Point-to-Point race at a set location that consists of a couple of stages, while RallyCross is an outright race against other opponents. In RallyCross you compete against 19 others in a set of four qualifiers. You race in groups of five and the drivers with the top 12 times go through to the semi-final and ultimately the final.

RallyCross is arguably the most fun, since it’s not just a form of Time Trials, but requires you to outdrive physical opponents that are on the track with you. The premise is simple, but it works and can be quite challenging, especially in wet weather racing.

The game offers a career mode which allows you to compete in the two different disciplines, as well as do daily and weekly challenges. You have a crew that has some minor management systems to it, but nothing too much to get excited about. You can upgrade their skills to give you some bonuses such as better repair diagnostics, or faster reset times if you go off the track.

Finally, you have Freeplay where you can race in historic events and cars, as well as do the FIA World RallyCross Championship. The Custom mode is where you can set up a lobby to play with your friends, or join other lobbies both private and public. Playing online is an absolute treat and we experienced no input lag whatsoever.

A nice touch is how the game adds AI opponents to fill the gaps, and you don’t necessarily race with your friend every time when doing RallyCross. It gives the game a bit more authenticity and when you do compete together, you know the pressure is on.

Where is my feedback?

I put the Thrustmaster T150 to the test in Dirt Rally 2.0 and, unlike my experience using the Dualshock 4, it wasn’t quite as resounding. Unfortunately, the biggest problem comes in the form of feedback to the T150. Unlike GT Sport where you could feel each and every bump on the dusty gravel road of a rally race, you feel virtually nothing here. It’s only when you bump into other cars in RallyCross that you’ll get a solid thump reaching the wheel’s force feedback. There are many settings to tamper with, but nothing solved this problem and as a result most racers leaves this effort in the dust. It’s unfortunate as it controls exceptionally well using the wheel, it’s just that the immersion is completely missing.

(Please note: The steering wheel score and information does not affect the final score, as most players will use a Dualshock controller when playing the game).

A few things to take note of

While playing DiRT Rally 2.0 is a very satisfying experience, I do have a few concerns. First, the steep learning curve and lack of any tutorial can be a little bit off-putting. I feel some kind of setting screen as you get started would’ve been helpful.

Another concern is that I had a few disconnects from Racenet, which I assume is Codemaster’s servers, and it resulted in loss of progress on my career. While it was minor, it was a little bit concerning, and I’m sure the disconnects will be addressed in the day one patch, I was a bit alarmed by the fact that not being connected could be a problem. This is something to consider before buying the game though.

The final concern I have is the number of locations and tracks. While each of the environments are incredibly well designed, and has a lot of variety on offer, I found it a bit disappointing that only six Rally locations and eight RallyCross tracks are available. I did a bit of digging and found that DiRT Rally 2.0 has a Deluxe version available that will make more tracks available at a later stage. I don’t have an inherent problem with paid for DLC and tracks, but the fact that the original offering is a bit sparse doesn’t quite sit that well with me.

I’m also a little bit bummed out that there’s no real photo mode, which is a shame because the game is so pretty and I really wanted to take some nice pictures of the racing.

Conclusion

DiRT Rally 2.0 is probably the best rally game you will get right now. Hell, I’m even willing to say it’s one of the best racing sims available today. It is slick, plays incredibly well and is well polished. The lack of tracks are a bit concerning, and seeing as more might well be behind a paywall doesn’t sit quite right with me, but other than that I find very little fault with this game.

Good

  • Visually stunning
  • Excellent weather effects
  • Great sound design
  • The cars
  • Tight and entertaining gameplay
  • Multiplayer is fun and well made

Bad

  • Incredibly steep learning curve and little guidance in the beginning
  • Not enough locations and tracks
  • The possibility of more tracks being gated off behind DLC

Summary

DiRT Rally 2.0 is not an easy game to play, but once you get a hang of it, it will suck you in and challenge you to be better and improve all the time. The game is very well made and offers quite a bit in terms of gameplay and challenge. It is the gold standard for Rally simulation.
9

Amazing

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