DiRT Rally 2.0 Xbox One Review

March 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Codemasters  Developer: Codemasters  Genre: Racing  Players: 1-8 

Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

DiRT Rally was an amazingly different racing game for Codemasters. It was the British gaming company’s first proper simulation in years, and it was one of those game’s that was attention grabbing, which is important for a game that requires both patience and dedication to glean the most out of it. DiRT Rally 2.0 is more of the same, meaning it is another demanding game that commands steely concentration from anyone that is up for the challenge.

Yes, this is one tricky game, but it’s a tricky game that can handle beautifully in the right hands. Even when you are still learning, there’s something that feels very satisfying about the handling, thus coaching you on to improving your driving. If you have a racing wheel, this is definitely going to be the way to play, but DiRT Rally 2.0 still feels brilliant to play with a mere controller.

There’s over 50 cars included.

In some ways you could say that this sequel is even more challenging than the game that came before it. New this time around are track conditions that you and your car need to adapt to. If you begin a stage later than a number of your competitors for example you’ll notice that sections of the track are all churned up, affecting your grip. Weather conditions also force you to change your driving technique accordingly, and you really will feel an obvious difference in the behaviour of your vehicles.

Besides tinkering with the setup of your vehicles, you can also put different tires on them before taking them out on the track. This new decision making process allows you to compare tyres and then choose the ones you see fit for the stages ahead. You can also carry one or two spares with you, with the trade off being that you’ll lose time if you opt to change a tyre during a race, and spares will also add weight to your car.

Stages span across Spain, Poland, New Zealand, the USA, Argentina and Australia, and unlike DiRT 4.0, there isn’t a track generator in sight. Each of the stages are exquisitely crafted by Codemasters themselves, and they’re both memorable and challenging, some giving you potential to reach frightening speeds on specific sections and others demanding more technical driving from you. Still, a few more countries wouldn’t have gone amiss, and the lack of snowy rallying is also a bit disappointing.

Stages differ in length, but it’s the gruelling lengthier ones that are the true test of skill and patience. Night stages are also fittingly tense, and a lack of a rewind feature once again should keep any player on their toes. This is a game that doesn’t have such luxuries to rely on, meaning you have to get better at it by the game’s terms as opposed to your own.

The game also has Rallycross content, although it does pale in comparison to the main event that is the rallying. Still, it’s a nice extra to have, and you can involve yourself in Rallycross championships for some wheel-to-wheel action that you don’t get to experience in the lonelier rally stages. There’s eight tracks included, which means it is an area of the game that hasn’t been neglected.

DiRT Rally 2.0 does have driving assists, although most of these are actually turned off by default. Unlike the original DiRT Rally, this sequel doesn’t even have any instructional videos to its name, furthering the game’s brutal nature. If you stick with it though, there’s much satisfaction guaranteed.

If you want more stages, you’ll sadly have to pay for them. The Monte Carlo, Sweden and Germany rallies that were included in the original DiRT Rally will be featured in the first wave of Season Pass content, although obviously spruced up.

DiRT Rally 2.0’s career mode is a definite improvement over the original game’s. Starting out in historic rallying, you must come in the top three in the championship to progress to the next Rally, improving the efficiency of your team and your car along the way, which are both things that can dramatically improve your chances. Other options include daily, monthly and weekly challenges, and you can also setup custom championships for yourself to play or, if you’d prefer, against some online competition.

Visually, DiRT Rally 2.0 is a major improvement over the original game. The sequel still manages a nifty 60fps, but everything looks noticeably better as well. Cars have immense detailing (including impressive damage, which is something that Codemasters have long been good at) and the beautiful lighting bounces off puddles in a striking manner. I played on the Xbox One X, and it really is a gorgeous game.

Like the original, DiRT Rally 2.0 is a driving game that definitely won’t be for everyone, but it’s also a marvellously put together game that feels like a dream to play whenever you are avoiding hitting the trees and the ditches. The aforementioned is easier said than done but is all the more satisfying when you manage to achieve a clean run on a tough as nails stage.