DiRT: Rally is the newest addition into the series by Codemasters, and it’s easily the best rally game since Colin Mcrae. If speeding down narrow roads at breakneck speeds while trying to keep your car out of the ditch sounds exciting, then DiRT: Rally might be for you, and you should definitely read through this review!
DiRT: Rally is one of those rare titles that I think can be appreciated by almost anyone who enjoys racing games, from the hardcore “simmer” to the more casual racing fan. The Driving Assist settings are relatively deep, and you can have an extremely “sim-like” experience or one that’s kept on the road with lots of help via traction control, stability management, etc – or somewhere in between like I prefer.
In the last installment to the series (DiRT 3), you could freely rewind time and essentially correct any kind of major crash, but in DiRT: Rally, that option was thrown out the window – and this is awesome, in my opinion. You can still restart the race from the beginning in Rally, but not being able to just rewind time really puts you in a position to learn the track and listen to your codriver’s calls. In my opinion, this really adds to the level of immersion, especially if you’re playing in first-person.
Cars, Tracks, and Game Modes
There are 10 different car classes to choose from, and about 30 cars to pick from within those classes. The differences between varying cars of the same class are subtle but noticeable once you’ve spent enough time in them – each car feels almost unique after a while. They’re not easy to just jump in and finish rallies with either, and you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to make a small error and wind up completely screwed.
Right now there are pretty much 3 game modes not including what’s going on online (which I’ll get to in a future revision of this review). Rally, RallyX and Hillclimb. Rally races are where the heart of DiRT: Rally lies, and in these you’re the only car on the road, racing against the clock. Hillclimb races are very similar to Rally, only you’re doing it while driving primarily up a hill. RallyX is where you’ll get to meet other cars, and these races are more “PVP” oriented.
The tracks feel lifelike and they look incredible, especially when you’re watching a replay and you actually have time to scope the scenery. You’ll find yourself racing in areas like the snowy hills of Monaco to complete tarmac tracks in Germany, and winding mountain roads in Greece.
DiRT: Rally isn’t a hardcore “sim” racing experience, and it’s definitely nowhere near “arcade racing” like previous DiRT titles were. Instead, Rally is something that “simmers” can appreciate and enjoy for its level of realism with all the driving assists off, and also something that almost any other racing fan can enjoy by tweaking the assists to their liking.
I wouldn’t call DiRT: Rally a true “sim”, but it’s definitely the closest thing to it while still keeping the more casual gamers involved as well. One thing that is completely irrefutable is the fact that DiRT: Rally is the best rally racing game since Codemasters ditched the Colin McRae series.