DiRT Rally 2.0 has a lot riding on it, as its highly praised predecessor certainly set the bar high. And for all the reasons fans love the original DiRT Rally, this successor should deliver, but unfortunately the game also doubles down on a few of its predecessor’s flaws. Nevertheless, DiRT Rally 2.0 still remains a top tier, if somewhat niche, racing simulator that only developer Codemasters could deliver.
On release, there’s no doubt many gamers will also be comparing DiRT Rally 2.0 to its predecessor, and it doesn’t seem that many expecting the tried-and-true rally experience will be disappointed. Whereas the original only contained 17 cars and 36 tracks, Dirt Rally 2.0 starts players off with a choice of 50 cars (some will need to be unlocked, of course), and there’s even a new dynamic weather system. Overall, there is enough new to justify another entry in the franchise, but also enough drawn from the past to keep the game rooted in the Colin McRae name.
It’s also worth mentioning that this game highlights the subtle difference between a racing simulator and a racing game, as the ability to fine-tune a vehicle with the appropriate options and adjustments is far more important than the standard racing game. This is most definitely not a pickup and race type of game; it is more intricate, complex, and demanding to befit the title of DiRT Rally 2.0.
Fine-tuning a vehicle also comes with a variety of assist options and mechanical upgrades, but players will want to find what suits their playstyle best. This includes a distance driven-based research system, through mechanical upgrades to select systems in the vehicle, and a constant need to check for repairs. However, for those who do not like the micromanagement in DiRT Rally 2.0, there are a few options to speed up the process.
We recommend that everyone take some time to fine-tune and adjust their rides to perform best for them, as Dirt Rally 2.0 has a greater emphasis on vehicle management than most other run-of-the-mill racers. This comes in handy when the F1 2017 developer throws players a curveball, as they will find is the case more often than not.
Players will find themselves racing against the clock on tracks at day or night, in rain or shine. Combining rain with a muddy or even asphalt track forces players to think on the fly in order to avoid an incredibly punishing crash. This weather can also affect visibility, grip, and much more, meaning that players need to take their time and be considerate about their approach to every map, as even the slightest mistake can ruin a promising run in DiRT Rally 2.o.
DiRT Rally 2.0 offers players a wide selection of modes to choose from like the “My Team” mode first introduced in DiRT 4, which gives players more special options to improve and maintain their vehicles. Although players will have their favorites, highlights include career events, historic events, and the FIA world rallycross championship. So if one mode proves to not be a player’s cup of tea, there is more than one way to enjoy DiRT Rally 2.0
We found that the historic mode was the most enjoyable, as it gives a detailed glimpse into the history behind rally racing. Career mode is nothing rally fans or even racing games fans will be unfamiliar with, but it is nice that players can own multiple cars, take on multiple events, and micromanage what races they feel up to tackling.
DiRT Rally 2.0 promises a realistic driving experience, but it’s worth mentioning that this is a fickle promise. It is realistic, by all means, in how closely it simulates actually driving a vehicle, but clearly unrealistic situations have the ability to seriously derail a race. A midair 360 can occur with the car landing back on all four wheels maintaining the momentum it had previously built, with little-to-no damage actually occurring to the vehicle. A car can go barreling down a hill without reasonably dealing terminal damage to the vehicle itself, but a slight bump can completely stall a car.
For many, DiRT Rally 2.0 will check off all the right boxes for those who have been fans of the series thus far. It offers plenty of compelling modes, a new challenge, and its weather system helps give the courses a lot of character. Yes, there are going to be moments where the game doesn’t function as realistic as one might hope, but it’s only a small bump on an otherwise enjoyable ride.
DiRT Rally 2.0 launches on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on February 26. Game Rant was provided with a PS4 code for the purposes of this review.