DiRT Rally was developed by Codemasters and published by Koch Media. It was released on Xbox One on April 5th 2016 at a price of $59.99/£54.99.
DiRT Rally is a racing simulation game and part of the Dirt series which dates back to 1998 with the original Colin McRae rally. In DiRT Rally you will take the place of the driver and choose to race on numerous modes such as Rally-cross, Pikes Peak, and Rally. I was very personally excited about this game after hearing it was going back to its roots and going full simulation again. I felt DiRT 3 was a great game but missed a lot of the key factors of the series and was drifting majorly away from the simulation. Thankfully they brought the game back to it’s roots and I was awaiting in anticipation for this game to finally arrive.
What I enjoyed:
Upgrade System – After each race you progress towards unlocking an upgrade part for your car. Although it’s very limited to what you can do upgrade wise with having unlocks pre-determined for each car the feeling of being rewarded after each race even after doing not so great is really good and kept me going through the difficult and rough patches in my racing career.
Handling – Another major letdown in racing games are the handling of vehicles; DiRT Rally being a racing simulation handles this beautifully. You feel every bump, surface, and condition of the track. The handling feels perfect to me and you can also adjust it in options if it is not so great to you. Everything on the handling is unique via customization from the sensitivity to the steering dead zone. I feel this game has the vehicle handling perfect on default settings and I did not have to change anything apart from turning vibration off.
Sounds – From the Original Soundtrack to the actual engine and environment noise, the sound compliments the game beautifully. There have been many times where I have gone into the cockpit just to experience the sound of the engine and how realistic and fulfilling it actually feels. Sound can make or break a game and it was a clear priority in this release.
Graphics – The Xbox One does hold the graphics back as I feel they could have that extra push. If we look past the current hardware restrictions the game does indeed look quite beautiful. There are rough lines due to no anti-aliasing but apart from that the scenery, tracks, and weather effects are really pleasing to the eye. I just feel the game misses out on its true potential due to current hardware but preformed very well on the system with what it can currently do.
Difficulty – This game is more realistic than difficult. There are no rewinds and the opponents do not have difficulties. At the beginning this was very difficult being thrown straight into the deep end. The more I played the game the more I enjoyed the difficulty. In long rallies and Rally-cross the feeling of actually needing positions and points makes for a very fun experience. With other rally games I found that constantly being first was quite tedious.
What I disliked:
Loading screens – Unfortunately this game has the major problem of waiting for a long time in the loading area. Most of the loading times can take up to a minute. Luckily there are not too many loading screens but when you do reach one it is a dreaded moment. This is becoming a common issue and should be a concern for developers.
Broken leader boards – The leader boards that populate after you finish the race are currently bugged and don’t show correctly. Hopefully this will be rectified in a future patch but as of now there are a few leader boards, especially in Rally-cross which are broken. You also cannot use the ‘find me’ function in the global leader boards.
Artificial Intelligence – In many of the racing games, the part biggest annoyance and letdown tends to be in the AI behavior or difficulty. In Dirt Rally the AI especially in Rally-cross start off pleasant with you barely noticing them at times. They yield in places and take corners not so tight leaving you for room to undertake them. This changes up when you get to higher difficulties where they become merciless and most the times end up spinning you off course for being in their path. If you do try and be rough with them back they will win the majority of times but I feel this part is fair.
Cars and Car Classes – The cars chosen for the game was not a problem but the lack of variety and not having a lot to choose from was a big letdown for me. Most of the car classes contained three cars with one of the cars dominating over the others. I felt the balance and quantity could’ve been increased to more cars and more classes.
Not much freedom – As soon as you leave the track you automatically incur a 15 second penalty and you’re automatically put back on the track. I feel as though this function should only be manual. A few times I have found myself only marginally going off track and incurring a 15 second penalty from something which could have been salvaged in 10 seconds or less
Being a diehard racing simulation fan there are very few games out there which actually test me. In many of occasions DiRT Rally has tested and tried me with the daunting difficulty of the game. If you are looking for an easy and relaxed racing game then this is a game you should avoid. If you are a hardcore racer then this is definitely something which can keep you occupied and coming back for more. Each time I played the game I found myself slowly improving my own times and becoming a better racer.
There were many claims that the game would be the “best rally game on console” – I personally feel that this statement doesn’t quite go far enough. To me it is the best racing game I’ve played on a console. Quite possibly one of the best racing games of all time so far. The late Colin McRae would’ve been proud of this masterpiece.
Score: Buy It Now
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