Dirt Rally 2.0 Review: Stay Focused

Dirt Rally 2.0 is as satisfying of a racing experience as Codemasters has ever developed. It can even be stated that it’s as satisfying of a racer that’s ever been made.

The sequel to 2015’s Dirt Rally, Dirt Rally 2.0 is a game geared to hardcore fans of rally racing which may turn off some new players looking to get into the series, especially when you realize the game offers no learning or tutorial area.

The game offers players 50 cars to unlock and race, with each car giving a completely different feel than the other. From a course standpoint, you can race on 14 total tracks at launch, including eight circuits from the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Enjoy the Feeling

Whether you are playing with a controller or a wheel, Dirt Rally 2.0 feels good. The game handles great with a wheel (I used a Logitech G29) and is quite responsive when using manual transmission and the Driving Force gear shift.

If you decide it’s best to try and speed through the woods in a downpour, you’re going to have a bad time.

Unlike its predecessor four years ago, Dirt Rally 2.0 offers sliders to adjust the AI difficulty level, allowing more novice players to actually have a chance at success on the course. There are also other sliders available to help with assists. It may take some time to get your settings proper, but once you get something that feels right, you will never look back.

In addition to the settings, each car will require tweaking in order to get something that performs the right way on each course. Whether you take part in true Rallies or Rallycross, you’re going to take time to make sure your car is optimized.

Where the gameplay really feels special is how you tackle the various environments. The new weather system implemented requires players to change up how they drive throughout an event. If it’s raining, the grip of the car will change as you go and driving the same way from start to finish just won’t cut it. If you decide it’s best to try and speed through the woods in a downpour, you’re going to have a bad time.

To add to the realistic feeling on the course, the more cars that drive on a circuit, the more the track will wear. If you happen to start further back in the running order, you’ll notice a big difference than if you had been at the front of the pack. After starting a rally 121st in the order, I found myself fighting with my car far more than I would’ve liked due to the amount of wear and tear the course had received from the cars before me. On the flipside of things, it was pretty smooth sailing during a rally where I was 23rd in the order.

Visually, Dirt Rally 2.0 is stunning. From the lighting to the circuit environments, the game is one of Codemasters’ best looking titles. Car renderings are true to life, and the dirt and mud will collect on your car as you drive through the puddles that form in the rain. It just feels immersive, which is really all you can ask for from a racing experience.

On High Alert

One of the biggest aspects of Rally Racing is the co-driver. Drivers don’t always know what’s coming u p next on a course, and it’s up to the team to accurately describe the twists and turns in order to prepare the driver. In Dirt Rally 2.0, it’s never been more important.

If you aren’t paying attention to those trying to help, you’re going to find yourself going off course more often than not.

Your career will take you all over the World in a number of fun rally cars.

The game’s career mode – known as My Team – requires players to hire engineers to maintain vehicles. There’s nothing much to it more than buying and upgrading cars with a staff of chosen team members. It would be nice if there was more of a true career element to it, but it’s just a true racer, repair, upgrade and race again system. It’s something that could become stale to players after a while.

If you don’t want to jump into the My Team mode right away, there’s Time Trials, the FIA World Rallycross Championship, and a Historic mode to cut your teeth with. With these modes, it allows you to try out different vehicles to get a feel for what you may like to buy after you earn some money. But just be ready to grind for enough to buy anything early on.

Verdict

Dirt Rally 2.0 not only looks incredible, but it feels like you are behind the wheel of a real rally car. If rally racing is your thing, then look no further than this game. Hell, even if you’ve never picked up a rally driver before but you consider yourself a racing fan, it’s still worth giving this game a go. The only thing keeping this game from being a true masterpiece is the lack of course offerings and the run-of-the-mill career mode.


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Dirt Rally 2.0 Review
  • 9/10
    Gameplay - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Game Modes - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Presentation - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Longevity - 8/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

Dirt Rally 2.0 not only looks incredible, but it feels like you are behind the wheel of a real rally car. If rally racing is your thing, then look no further than this game.