Why I love DiRT Rally 2.0 – Reader’s Feature

A reader offers his review of Codemasters’ hardcore rally game and gives his approval to both the gameplay and the DLC plans.

DiRT Rally 2.0 manages to surpass its critically acclaimed predecessor with ease, with improved variety in locations, an improved sense of ‘holy crap, I didn’t see that corner coming!’, and often beautiful graphics.

In terms of a career mode, My Team mode stays mostly the same as DiRT Rally, where you are progressing from beginner championship to reach the top, with each league getting increasingly more difficult. I only got past two leagues before having to drive at full throttle to keep up to the leader, every corner feeling like the last.

And that is where DiRT Rally 2.0 shines. There isn’t any other game that can make a seven-minute stage feel so intense, knowing that you’re only as good as your last corner. You make a mistake and plough into some trees and need resetting to the track? Time penalty. You accidentally overcook a corner and end up at the bottom of a hill? Time penalty. You break your lights and don’t have a service area to fix them before an early morning stage? You might as well quit now as you’re not going to be fast with zero visibility. It sounds harsh but it’s all worth it once you win your first stage after stressing at full speed for four minutes on the cliff sides of New Zealand.

As part of the My Team mode, you can use the money you’ve earned to improve your engineers, in terms of reducing time penalties once you are reset or upgrading their knowledge of 4WD cars, which makes service station repairs quicker. But what you do with your money is up to you. You might finally buy that 1995 Subaru Impreza you’ve had your eye on, either used or brand new. In terms of buying cars, there is great variety. You can go from anywhere between a 60s Mini to a Group B Audi Quattro to a GT spec Aston Martin, and everything in between. It may not have the quantity of selection as Project CARS, Gran Turismo, or Forza but the fact each car feels unique gives the selection great depth in other areas.

When you feel like a break from rally, you can venture into a career in rallycross across eight official courses, from Belgium to England. It is a vast improvement in gameplay and pure content in the base game compared to DiRT Rally’s poultry three circuits to select from. The racing is tough and very intense, and the artificial intelligence is never above shoving you around or feeling very competitive. This means it’s a great game mode but just like the rally portion, it’s tough as nails to win. And having an official championship to try and win is much more satisfying than a beginner league.

When you’re bored of the single-player content you can jump into daily, weekly, and monthly events to take part in with the community. This is the most fun way to play DiRT as your times feel like they actually matter compared to the single-player My Team section. Seeing your name on a leaderboard of actual people is much cooler than a bunch of fake computer-controlled names.

DiRT Rally 2.0 launched with six rally locations and eight RX rallycross tracks at launch, but as I bought the deluxe edition Germany, Sweden, Monte Carlo, and a Latvian rallycross track have been added – with more to come. Say what you want about DLC, but the rally map pack is under £3 for people who didn’t get the deluxe edition. They have added great variety and I’m sure in the future more ‘seasons’ will be announced to keep the game fresh.

DiRT Rally 2.0 is a worthy sequel to the most refreshing rally game since the PlayStation 2 days. Menus are super clean and gameplay is extremely accessible on a game controller, but still brutally tough. New locations like New Zealand and Poland are brilliant, alongside vast improvements on the quantity of official rallycross stages. And continued post-launch DLC support is a welcome addition to keep it fresh.

Nowhere else will rally ever be so intense, and nowhere else will it feel so good to play.

DiRT Rally 2.0 is an essential purchase, but it isn’t for the faint hearted.

By reader Charlie Ridgewell

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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