- + Incredible detail on all cars
- + Tracks are fun to race and some are replicas of actual rally tracks
- - Only for the hardcore
- - No splitscreen functionality
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “I’m sliding aaaahhhh!”
Driving games. Awesome. Especially when so much detail has been put into the cars. But rally driving? Now that’s a whole different kettle of fish. When Josh asked if I’d be up for reviewing DiRT Rally I was super excited to get back into the virtual driving seat. Now that I’ve spent a few hours playing this game, I’m starting to regret my decision.
The game starts you off by showing you the basics, introducing you to your crew, hiring new crew members and purchasing your first car. There are so many cars to choose from but your starting budget will only allow you to buy one of three old cars. Each car belongs to a certain group, these groups are predominantly based on age, i.e. 1960, 1970, 1980 etc. So the first car you can buy is from the 1960 group. As you race and progress through the ranks you earn credits which can be spent on newer and better cars. Your crew, at the beginning, consists of a crew chief and an engineer. These guys are here to upgrade and repair your car during the championships. When it comes to repairing your car you can either tell them which components to fix or simply listen to their advice; as a beginner I would highly suggest listening to your team.
There are three different types of race to compete in; championship, hill climb or rally cross. Championships consist of six races and each race has four stages. This means that, for every championship, you essentially have to complete 24 races. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this all in one go, you can quit out to the main menu between every race, but not between stages. The Rallycross event consists of 4 qualifying heats, the semi-finals then the finals. The winner of the finals is, well, the winner. Each qualifying round is 4 races long in which you have to set the fastest lap possible. The faster the lap, the more championship points you earn. You also have to use a ‘joker lap’. This requires you to take a longer route on just one of your laps per race.
If you don’t take the joker lap then you receive a time penalty. I enjoyed this mode more than Championship as I had other cars to race against, the only problem being that I’m terrible at rally driving so never made it past the qualifying stages. Going on to the Hillclimb event I was a little disappointed. In order to compete in these you need to have a specific hillclimb car, and these cost a lot of credits. This meant that I was unable to purchase a hillclimb vehicle as I’m not that skilled thus I couldn’t get together enough credits. I think this is definitely a downside to the game as it’s very enjoyable but there shouldn’t be a skill level for being able to access different types of events.
The attention to detail for each car is astounding. The way they look, the way they sound, the way the light shines off the bonnet, absolutely beautiful. The same can’t be said for the scenery. The trees look like something from a PlayStation 2 game and the spectators aren’t too different either. It seems that the developers have cut corners with the environment so that they can focus on the cars, and as this is designed to be more of a rally simulator, that’s not a bad thing. Unfortunately I’m a sucker for pretty landscapes so this is a little disappointing.
DiRT Rally also contains an online aspect; you can either race in daily, weekly and monthly challenges or participate in races amongst your friends. I like the idea of the challenges, it’s a nice way to take a break from the various championships and see how quickly you can drive a sprint. These challenges either require you to bring your own car or you can use one provided to you. This makes online easily accessible to all players, new or experienced. When racing against your friends you can choose from a pre-made championship playlist or create your own. Here you can set the number of events, how many laps, the grid formation and what cars are allowed. These online events between friends are limited to Rallycross but boy are they fun! I only played with Josh from the Start Replay team but it would be nice to get a whole group together and let the carnage unfold.
DiRT Rally is really and truly a fantastic rally simulator. Unfortunately that’s all it is. This isn’t the game that just anyone can pick up and start playing. If your mates come round they can’t hop in and race against you split screen. No. This game is for the hardcore rally fans, for people that understand the sport and have a passion for it. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed whizzing around the dirt roads in these incredibly detailed cars.