Sometimes you know a game is coming, you want it but you’re so busy you forget to read up on it or watch any YouTube videos about it. DiRT Rally was one of those games for me. I love Codemaster games and have done for many years so it stands to reason I thought I knew roughly what I would be getting when DiRT had finished installing. WRONG!
I should have read up on it before hitting the first race championship, I was dead last on numerous occasions. As a veteran racer and whilst I will never claim to be in the elite batch of current day racers I certainly know my way round a track and could feature in the top 3 most of the time. Well I just got schooled by the kings of DiRT.
I bring to your attention something I should’ve taken more notice of:
“DiRT Rally is the most authentic”
That is the first line and frankly the only line you need read. This is not some jolly crash and bash like DiRT Showdown was (the recently re release backwards compatible Dirt spin off title) this is truly learn all you can, adapt, evolve and you might win more than a cup of tea. No Mercy is the approach here and you can’t expect to be a average racer and jump in and win everything.
I found myself for just about the first time ever, using the practice laps to get to grips and eventually once I had digested the fact that this is a hard game for the average racer, I started to adapt and tweak the setup for my car one part at a time. Gradually I found it easier to grab a win but was struggling to get off the line with any speed and spent 4 or 6 laps chasing down the pack.
Stages produced a similar result with tight tracks yet cars that moved like on a bowl of jelly in a paint mixing machine.
It’s rare I find myself getting so frustrated by a game that I have to call it a day and come back to it but this was one of those.
Visually it’s finely tuned in places but lacking in others. Cut scenes portray a beautiful landscape and the cars themselves look absolutely stunning with engine details easy to see and decals looking sharp, however you normally look at the road and what’s ahead of you and for the most part it’s bland and replicated over and over. For an overall impression of where you are and the type of country etc it does achieve the goals but unlike other games in the racing genre it lacked detail in the foreground and background that sharpens up the overall experience.
Sound is great, the combination of engine roaring, gravel, dirt and other elements kicking up from the tyres, clunking metal as you clip rocks and other objects from the side of the road coupled with your co-pilot barking instructions at you every few seconds just gives that authentic feel of rallying.
There is loads to do from the career that I found particularly difficult at first until I unlocked upgrades but it did mean a bit of grinding the same championships to get money and experience.
There are also custom tournaments, online events that appear daily, weekly and monthly where you compete against other DiRT players around the world and PVP events, these are live Rally X events.
Being able to choose the pit crew and bring them along with you to build up your car and along the way you will find perks that can reduce build time among other things.
With over 60 cars to choose in 16 classes ranging from 1960’s to concepts
I found nice touches like having to repair your car within an hour, losing credits if you restart the race add to the realism somewhat preventing the arcade, crash and restart every 2 minutes. It also made me perfect my laps rather than just ploughing round and hoping to get a lucky 4 laps.
All that said though, it’s a great game if you love Rally and love a challenge, unfortunately this game will not suit the casual racer and I don’t mean to be rude but backmarkers won’t play for long as they will be backmarkers against the AI too.