PlayStation Reviews

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review (PlayStation 4)

Review Code Provided

Introduction

Welcome to Northern-Gamer’s Dirt 2.0 review. Dirt Rally 2.0 originally released back in February 2019 with an incredible year of rally driving, with the World Championship things are only starting to heat up. Having begun on the 10th of September partnering up with Motorsport Network, it is available across all playable formats and consists of challenges spread across the next three months, all building up to a live final at Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC over the weekend commencing 11/01/2020. Developed and published by Codemasters using their own Ego game engine.

Pre-Installation

During Dirt Rally 2.0’s installation period you are able to enjoy some pre-race fun in the Classic Dirt Rally Tier of the Historic Championships, offering a clever slider bar to set your difficulty; 1 for very easy and 100 for very hard it’s really simple and easy to use. Also adding a hardcore damage mod for more serious players but overall the slider really helps to allow players of all ages to enjoy Dirt Rally 2.0.

Upon starting the Classic Tier a cutscene introduces you to the game with information about rally car during the sixties and seventies. Choosing from three team classes using vintage cars, including detailed stats and historical bios for each vehicle. Whilst waiting to start your race, loading screens with track information regarding its distance, elevation and times, before then commencing your track preview. The preview of the tracks in itself is a visual experience with beautiful lush greenery and countryside surrounding the track, an incredible visual display of scenic graphics.

Taking the driver’s seat still blows my mind with realistic-looking visuals, a complete dashboard of dials. Looking around with the right stick admiring an incredible view, with alternate views to suit any player type switching angle with the triangle button. Revving up your engine holding circle your excitement begins to grow an overwhelming sense of realism, as the engine changes gears and you speed round your first corner crashing angrily, if you’re lucky grazing the side of your vehicle. Getting back on track holding down on the d-pad at the cost of penalties to reset your vehicle, you start to get a feel as you build up speed, learning the simulation like mechanic causes you to take your time and set a steady pace around the track. With two heads up notifications in the form of a narrator describing the turns ahead also turn arrows popping slightly above mid-center showing the next turn to be made.

Pre-installation is a great taster for the main game, getting you ready and allowing you to adjust your style of play from fast-paced flashy games with catch up mechanics, to more paced realistic simulation play with authentic rally rules.

Post-Installation

After being fully installed Dirt Rally really opens up with snappy introductions to each of the new menus now displayed. Starting with My Team, there are 16 different options divided into five race types; Rally, Rally Cross, Special Events, Community Events and AI Challenges. A garage allows you to fix, buy and sell your cars, with over fifty purchasable cars, you can also test drive and upgrade them to your specifications. Finally there is also an option to edit your race team under staff, enabling the ability to hire and fire as well as train up your employees, reducing in game penalties and reducing the times required to repair your car. Under the free-play menu you are offered six original yet completely different race types; Historic, Custom, Time Trial, FIA World Rally Championship, Free Roam and Race-Net Clubs. The next menu being the World Qualifiers for serious rally drivers, also adding a DLC store and options.

Before commencing though I do recommend downloading all of the available free content to get the most from Dirt Rally 2.0.

Rally

The first mode being rally career spanning across six levels, with twenty-four differing stages travelling to the USA, Argentina, New Zealand, Monaco, Wales and Australia. On entering the first race you are offered a choice out of 14 different cars allowing you to also customise its appearance with a variety of skins. As before on pre-installation, you can view the details of each car including stats and its bio. After selecting an automobile you are taken through to vehicle preparation to view an overview of the car, make repairs, tune your engine or even upgrade your parts. Continuing on you get another pre-race menu in which you can do ten shakedown races in an attempt to get used to the track and vehicle. It’s advisable to use your shakedowns and practice your races as you are only given a set number of attempts on the championship. With every vehicle sounding completely different and so realistic you’d swear they were in your living room, as it revs up and changes gear, as your tires drag through the gravel below. Any damage taken can severely affect your driving experience with problems like punctures, blown engines and totally wiping out your car but you are free to continue if you can, with the damage slowly becoming more evident and the smoke hissing from the engine as it clacks and clunks. In-between your races you are again offered pre-race menus enabling you to repair any damage, this does in-fact cause penalty time, allowing up to thirty minutes. Repairs are split between quick and standard repairs with repair times greatly differing, in some cases you are permitted to replace the whole part but choose wisely as you can not exceed your allotted time.

If fully repaired by your second race you will find it to be a much more pleasant drive round but, if like me you barely managed your repairs or picked the wrong types you will find yourself struggling to compete. My engine failed to function less than halfway around the track as I neglected my radiator, causing my disqualification and failure of the races. It wasn’t until retrying I realised the weather on the race had altered, the first time was dry and sunny making it relatively easy to stay on track but this time it was pouring down, the track drenched and the sound of rain splashing on the windshield, I revved my engine and let it go, shooting forward slipping uncontrollably. Holding the brakes the car rolled and bounced over into foliage veering off the road. Pressing down I reset my car, taking heed of the dynamic weather system at play. Slowing my pace and braking round corners helped me to complete the races, from there overcoming the rain, although I didn’t finish well on the scoreboard, I was just glad I finished at all. With every race being a sprint, accompanied by your chatty cornering partner, rally career is an exciting but difficult play.

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review

Rally Cross

With three locations and over 18 races visiting Canada, Sweden, and Portugal. Picking between six different vehicles and over 40 different car paint jobs to make it your own. As with rally career you are given an extensive pre-race menu enabling modifications and repairs, although in Rally Cross you are offered two practice attempts of the race, allowing you to put your best foot forward. Differing from Rally Career, Rally Cross is a more original race theme, giving solid track races for you to improve your skill under a confined location. Averaging between four and six laps per race, and offering joker laps to the player, Rally Career made for a more consistent play, giving genuine track locations across the world. Flying around lap after lap you start to gain an appreciation for the care needed to traverse the road, slowing dramatically to take corners efficiently in hopes you don’t get too many penalties. Preset weather also allows you to repeatedly race under set conditions giving mastery over the elements.

Special Events

With 5 different mode options consisting of three daily challenges, one weekly challenge, and a monthly challenge. Each mode having a different number of races, stages or events with set restrictions on car types by maximum cc, and also caring weather. There are also online leaderboards to allow you to compete worldwide, motivating you to do your best. Each reward for the daily events differ, offering higher or lower rewards based on difficulties and restrictions, and even giving exclusive events for DLC owners and enhanced credit rewards.

Community Events

With seven different modes to choose from, again having multiple races in each class, some of which designed specifically for season pass holders. Similar to Special Events they also have daily, weekly and monthly challenges to complete, changing frequently and adding rewards for successful drivers, also again adding leaderboards for you to compete for the top spot.

AI Challenges

Repeating the challenge system with dailies, weeklies, and monthlies, this time you will be competing against the game’s AI, giving you a less competitive challenge. In all honesty, due to the nature of the races despite being AI challenges, I couldn’t tell the difference, being that you don’t race alongside your competitors but race for the best times.

Historic

Four distinct eras of rally driving, starting on a path through the ages with vintage cars from the seventies and travelling through time once you finish in the top three. Shooting into the eighties then nineties, modern classics and finally unlocking present-day rally. Enjoy the relaxing informative historic race types to really understand rally history and embrace the tracks from the driver’s seat.

Custom

Building your own events across twenty different locations, changing the experience to suit you, inviting your friends to join in the race or simply add ai to ease into it, with a large number of customizable options to adjust the race. Setting car restrictions, alternate weather types and a number of varying lap types or alternatively search the rally database and join other players.

Time Trial

Competing for the fastest time across a number of locations with a huge selection of varying stages, competing with your friends to see who is the rally champion of the world.

FIA World Rally Cross Championship

Compete in the fastest paced mode yet competing against a multitude of real life drivers such Eriksson driving the Ford Fiesta MK8, or T.Hansen driving The Peugeot 208 WRX. Visiting from across the world on their home grounds to see if you can out rally these legends.

Freeroam

Allowing you to freely drive your car getting a feel for the controls, offering a huge Washington space for you to really open up your engine without consequence. With Dirt Rally 2.0 having so many cars to choose from there is no better place to test your vehicles.

Race-Net Clubs

Very similar to custom matches, allows you to create your own events for others to join. Dirt Rally 2.0 forces you to sign up to dirtrally.com/clubs to take part, your races are set up in more championship fashion rather than a friendly race.

Qualifiers

The most exciting rally driving option available, with a chance to compete in live rally events partnered up with motocross and test your skill against serious competitors. An exclusive chance to attend the on site finals in three months for successful racers.

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review

Conclusion

Dirt Rally 2.0 is a fantastic experience but not for the faint of heart, with incredibly realistic graphics, sounds and weather systems it will blow you away. Offering more in-game modes than any game I’ve ever seen. Dirt Rally 2.0 is a great play, not just for hardcore racers with the availability of the free play modes and dynamic difficulty to let younger or less capable drivers have the chance at an authentic simulation like driving experience.  My only criticism is the lack of PSVR compatibility, already owning Dirt Rally 1, I had hope that it would also be compatible but unfortunately is only available in VR for PC.