DiRT Rally is a PC exclusive that sneaked quietly onto Steam with a simple goal: to deliver a pure rally game. To be one of the most realistic simulators Codemasters Racing Studio has ever made. It is a strange statement when you are already enjoying the many good racing games Codemasters have released over the years, but none of them is worth the title of racing sim. They are fun, fancy and flashy, but not a sim. DiRT Rally is here to change that.
Dirt Rally is as real as it gets. It features a brand new engine created specifically to simulate real-world physics and it takes you to a new rally driving experience. Trust me, lead designer Paul Coleman drives rally cars himself and he is backed up with a full team of experienced developers, so you will hate driving your own car after playing this game.
Are rally simulators for everyone? Absolutely not. It takes the slightest mistake to send you flying down a mountain. I repeat: this is not an arcade racing type of game. It will be frustrating to play this if you are not a fan of it. The cars are twitchy and heavy. You need to actually fight them to keep them steady, there isn’t a magical rewind time here. You won’t be able to turn off car damage to be able to smash trees and keep it going. It takes time to learn how to balance the car, how to drive carefully, how to be precise on curves and more importantly: how to know the limits of your own vehicle and save precious seconds off your time. You will get your perfect run only to realize you end up 5ht out of 10. The game doesn´t care about you, and that’s why you will love it.
The sound design is close to perfect. Plenty of cars, each with individual sounds, handling and tuning. They all not only feel different, they also sound different. Individual engine sounds, the gravel hitting your chassis, hearing it creak on bumpy roads, doing a bad shifting… The realisms never stops and the immersion never breaks.
Is it worth the $45.99 price tag? Well, it was cheaper before but the price increases with each update. As soon as you buy it, you will get all future updates, modes, cars, tracks, multiplayer and improvements for free. If you are using a fancy Logitech G27 Racing Wheel inside your cock pit, you have nothing to think about.
What can you expect from the final release down the road? 25 cars, all rendered with fine, hand-crafted detail, including rally classics like the Lancia Stratos, Subaru Impreza, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, and Mini Cooper. 5 massive new real-world rally locations and over 50 challenging stages to drive during the day in dry, overcast, sunny, misty, wet, rainy or snowing conditions. Not enough? You can also drive your rally-tuned car during the night for a complete different experience.
DiRT Rally is a nice return to the series’ rally roots. So far, the game delivers a good amount of challenge and realism for those racing fans looking for it: No gymkhana, no magical rewinding time, no turning off car damage. It is not finished and it has room for improvement, but you can’t go wrong with it since they promised free new content every month and a continuous stream of gameplay improvements.