The Only DiRT Rally Review You Need to Read

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The nose of my Impreza dives forward under heavy braking, and for a moment I feel as if I’m going to fall out the front windshield. A quick tug on the emergency brake, and the rear end whips around with total precision. As I haven’t upgraded Subaru’s 2001 WRC entry to the maximum level yet, kamikaze corner entries are the only chance I have at maintaining my spot on the podium. For a moment, I’m able to glance up at a photographer atop a natural perch above the corner apex. I stare directly into his camera lens before re-focusing my eyes on the exit of the corner. My plastic steering wheel murmurs in my hands, mimicking early 2000’s power steering as I shift up through third, fourth, and eventually fifth gear. A German flag hangs above a group of spectators surrounding a camp fire, and my ride omits a harsh scraping sound while I whiz past them at triple the road’s legal speed limit.

Bottoming out at 170 km/h is something I’ve come to expect at least three times on this stage. And unlike Wales, where every spectator brought out their rain coats and massive winter jackets, Germany has given blessed the pack of virtual WRC fans with beautiful t-shirt weather.

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Among the crowd, I can pick out lawn chairs, security marshalls, and even a drone flying above the track, possibly capturing footage for an upcoming Red Bull or Monster Energy advert. The next hairpin is equally intense, and I can make out the material of the caution tape the hay bales have been wrapped up in. Pushing even harder through the final sector, both the car and my steering wheel become light over crests, and I’m forced to pray there isn’t a blind corner over the next hill. The car simply wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Maximum attack. Only a second off the French guy in first place. In any other rally sim, I’d have a comfortable lead with this kind of pace. Not here. Codemasters wants me to earn this one.

The game stutters ever so slightly. Thank god I’m on a straight section of road where my inputs wouldn’t be affected. The co-driver, for whatever reason, is calling out turns far too early, despite stellar navigational calls on the previous stage. Human error, or something that should have been patched before version 1.0? No time to think about that, an extremely technical left/right section is my best chance of making up time. The first apex, I can count the individual blades of grass my car is about to flatten. The second, I can almost reach out and touch the stones preventing me from cutting the track. Back under power, it’s becoming increasingly clear I won’t pull off a victory in Germany, but the final few hairpins and rhythm sections are still just as satisfying to nail. Dancing over the hills and sucked to the ground when the suspension compresses in the lowest point of a valley, there is no guesswork needed to pilot a car in DiRT Rally.

Unifying next-generation graphics with a physics model completely re-built from the ground up, DiRT Rally allows you to comprehend how mere mortals can participate in sixteen World Rally Championship events each year. The stunning visuals tug your eyes in every direction, while your hands are able to make pin-point accurate wheel inputs thanks to fantastic force feedback effects once thought impossible for Codemasters to achieve. Shuddering under power, throttle control becomes instinctual thanks to a direct connection between what’s happening on your computer screen, and how your toy steering wheel is behaving while firmly in your grasp. The longer stages drag you into a trance; the fourth, fifth, and sixth minute of your assault on Sweet Lamb sucking you into a state of hyper-focus where braking points and E-Brake slides are executed with cold and calculated precision. Rarely does a racing simulator do this good of a job at conveying what it’s like to drive a world class race car from the comfort of your own home.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, DiRT Rally is fucking wild when it’s firing on all cylinders.

But sometimes, the engine is down on power. It doesn’t happen every time you boot up the game, but occasionally, you’re reminded that this was a Codemasters side project made on a fairly tight budget. DiRT Rally is pretty damn close to being one of the best racing simulators ever made, but this brush with perfection makes even the slightest annoyances become major grievances. With the raw racing being leaps and bounds ahead of, well… anything else on the market, you begin to wish that the rest of the game was polished to the same extent.

DiRT Rally can be amazing, punishing, and satisfying, all in the span of thirty minutes, but DiRT Rally could have also been so much better.

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While 2004’s Richard Burns Rally was crowned as the almighty king of rally simulators almost immediately after launch, many WRC fans believed the larger budget Codemasters had been graced with would allow them to churn out an even better title. Migrating to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in 2007, the team slowly distanced itself from the Colin McRae namesake and instead launched an all encompassing off-road racing franchise by the name of DiRT. As the modding community surrounding Richard Burns Rally continued to expand and extend the game’s lifespan among hardcore WRC enthusiasts, Codemasters released three iterations of the DiRT series, with point-to-point rally racing taking a back seat to one of many different off road racing disciplines. Fans begged for a return to the roots of the Colin McRae Playstation 2 games, putting up with the extreme sports-laden entries in the meantime, but instead Codemasters released a demolition derby spin-off named DiRT Showdown.

Budget cuts, downsizing, and a few consecutive years of poor Formula One titles made racing game fans lose hope in the direction Codemasters had been taking with the studio itself.

Yet in the spring of 2015, DiRT Rally was released on Steam’s Early Access program. There was no announcement, no marketing hype, and no foreshadowing aside from a strange ATI Catalyst Control Center profile uploaded in the weeks prior, which most dismissed as an alternative configuration for the upcoming DiRT 3 Complete Edition. We literally woke up one day and found out Codemasters built a hardcore rally simulation for us, and we could buy it right now.

60 hours of driving and eight months of updates later, the game has finally graduated from the Early Access program into Version 1.0. Looking into my crystal ball, this will be a game many people buy for themselves as a Christmas present, and I assure you that you’re making a good decision, and you’re going to have a lot of fun with the game. But as I said above, it’s so close to perfection, the little things start to bother you just a little bit more than they normally would in any other racing sim.

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Ignore the build notes, ignore the marketing hype, and ignore what users are saying on the various sim racing message boards: DiRT Rally’s track selection is criminally weak. Featuring six environments, with only two stages in each, a complete run-through of every full point-to-point rally stage available in DiRT Rally can be accomplished in a mere 75 minutes.

To inflate the track count to ridiculous numbers that in no way represent the variety you’re actually receiving, the two main stages in each environment are chopped up into segments, and the count is multiplied yet again by the use of both forward and reverse layouts. Talented sim racers will make a beeline straight for the longest version of each stage, and as they become comfortable with their preferred car of choice, it’s entirely possible for an experienced driver to complete every stage available in a combined total of less than an hour. As Career Mode, as well as the online events make very liberal use of the fragmented tracks, it’s not uncommon to race the exact same stage section upwards of four times over the course of a single sitting.

However, on a more positive note, the stages themselves are meticulously modeled after real-world WRC stops instead of liberal interpretations of pre-existing locations, with the highlights being the actual Col de Turini and Sweet Lamb layouts. Out of boredom a few weeks ago I had been watching a 2005 WRC Year in Review video on YouTube, and during on-board footage from the opening round at Monte Carlo, I was able to recognize entire sections of the infamous mountain descent, as the stage in DiRT Rally was a near 1:1 recreation. This attention to detail explains why the actual track count is such a small number, as Codemasters essentially had to build a track the length of the Nordschleife twelve times over, but even the most precise recreation of a stage can’t hide the fact that you can see everything the game has to offer in an hour.

While not as empty as the track selection, DiRT Rally’s car roster also suffers from some very noticeable gaps. As the relevant history of the World Rally Championship dates back only to the 1970’s, the list of iconic cars who have participated in the prestigious championship is extremely short compared to the likes of Touring Car racing or Formula One. While Grand Prix teams roll out an entirely new car model at the beginning of each season, some WRC teams continue to use the same exact car model for multiple seasons in a row, and as a WRC fan it’s much easier to develop a loyalty to a specific manufacturer when a certain car has seen action for five or six years at a time before moving onto a new evolution.

Every 1980’s Group B monster is available to drive, but Tommi Mäkinen’s various dominant Mitsubishi Lancers of the late 1990’s are nowhere to be found, save for one amateur-level Lancer Evo X. The 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2011 Mini Countryman were among the first cars to be included in the initial Early Access launch of DiRT Rally, but Sebastien Loeb’s World Championship 2011 Citroen DS3 is notably absent.The Lancia Delta HF Integrale, Colin McRae’s 1995 Subaru Impreza, and the Ford Escort Cosworth combine to form the 1990’s Group A class, but the Toyota Celica adorning the cover of 90’s arcade racer Sega Rally is also absent. In a rather strange move, as if Codemasters themselves are aware that there are notable gaps in the car selection the 2001 Subaru Impreza and 1999 Ford Focus are awkwardly shoe-horned into a class alongside the 2007 Citroen C4.

Yet, what is available in DiRT Rally is modeled with such precision, and each car behaves so drastically different from the one before it, that it’s entirely possible to fall in love with one car and only one car for the complete duration of your time with DiRT Rally. There very well may be people who own this game and never drive anything other than the 1980’s BMW M3 E30, and I can’t blame them. The subtle nuances of each car are recreated so well, you’ll quickly find one that becomes yours, and it will be a challenge to let it go.

It’s just a shame that, with such a convincing physics model conveying what makes each iconic rally car featured in DiRT Rally so special and unique, not every piece of WRC history has received the DiRT Rally treatment.

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And no better is this ominous shortcoming displayed in the game’s two off-shoot modes, Hillclimb and Rallycross. As a nod to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb featured in the original DiRT title released in 2007, Codemasters have re-built the legendary Colorado point-to-point event in DiRT Rally, though the mode’s inclusion is a complete afterthought. Featuring just three cars from the late 1980’s and one track, with no functionality to allow the other 35+ cars onto the prestigious Rocky Mountain time trial, after a few runs up the mountain, there is no incentive to ever return.

Rallycross has not fared much better. Codemasters have gone out of their way to include the Monster Energy World RallyCross series in DiRT Rally, but one can see all the discipline has to offer in roughly ten minutes of driving. Though the team have managed to acquire almost the entire grid of WorldRX drivers spread among six different car models, by default the game only includes three circuits located in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway. Like the point-to-point stages in the main bulk of the game, the RallyCross track count is padded by Amateur and Clubman variants, some of which are so utterly pointless you wonder why Codemasters included them in the first place.

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Offline, Codemasters have attempted to tie the entire game together with a comprehensive Career Mode, but in execution the monotony of driving the same twelve stages over and over again with slightly harder opponents turns the game into a tedious grind. Starting you off in a 1960’s front wheel drive land yacht, Codemasters have allowed you to freely progress throughout the various classes of cars granted you’ve acquired the funding to purchase them. As you win a championship on each difficulty, the length of the season increases, as does the level of opponents, until you’re receiving enormous payouts against Master Class AI drivers regardless of your finishing position.

Rewarding players who stick with the same car over multiple championships through engine, turbo, weight reduction, and braking upgrades, players also have the option of spending a portion of their winnings on hiring various team members to remain competitive during the more difficult championships. The meta-game of maintaining a full roster of crew members to ensure your car can be adequately repaired in-between each stage is a welcomed extra layer of depth to an otherwise routine championship campaign, but talented drivers will soon earn more than enough funds to offset any expenses that come with looking after their crew.

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Two separate Career Modes are also available for both Hill Climb and RallyCross events, though the comically small track selection offered for both disciplines makes it damn near impossible to recommend for anyone to spend time grinding through the same three tracks over and over again, just for a slight increase in difficulty.

The eventual reward for completing a long, arduous season on the highest difficulty in Career Mode pales in comparison to what rally games of a previous generation have offered. Gone are the days of admiring your car in the paddock, being worked on by a team of engineers prior to your assault on the next stage, and the podium celebration after you’ve successfully completed an event is also a thing of the past. Instead, the fruits of your labor are now represented by a floating silver overall standings box. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the amount of blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put in.

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Those wanting human competition will be pleased to know that DiRT Rally offers a fairly comprehensive Online Leagues option using in-game functionality. Throughout Early Access, we here at PRC.net were easily able to set up a a number of various online events through the RaceNet DiRT Rally league creator, and users could participate in each event whenever they had a few minutes to spare. Every single event went off without a hitch while adhering to the scheduled start time, and there wasn’t a single server error that crippled the event for everyone. Those with tight-knit online communities looking for a competitive racing sim, but can’t get everyone on the same page for a league night? This is exactly what you’re looking for, and it works as smoothly as its been advertised.

Yet, despite these comprehensive online league options, the act of physically racing against other cars on the track has been restricted to online RallyCross events. Whereas DiRT 2 and DiRT 3 allowed up to eight drivers to all participate on the same rally stage, launching in five second intervals, DiRT Rally does not let you compete against other drivers on the same stage. I miss the challenge of being on a killer run, only to have to discover a way to get around the car in front of me, and that doesn’t exist in DiRT Rally.

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A few technical hiccups do plague DiRT Rally from time to time, sometimes drastically affecting the gameplay. The game’s co-driver is downright brilliant when he’s calling out pacenotes in sync with your driving, but his accuracy varies between each individual stage. Running two Finland stages back to back, my co-driver performed phenomenally during a short sprint stage, yet he was ridiculously ahead of schedule on the 12 kilometer behemoth, to the point where some of the turns he called out didn’t appear for a good ten or twelve seconds. At speeds eclipsing 190 km/h, you can’t have this, and it’s frustrating that the quality of the co-driver varies on every single stage in the game.

DiRT Rally also ships with some of the most brutal cockpit cameras I’ve ever seen in a modern racing sim. Allowing users to select from both a traditional cockpit view, and a Daytona USA-like dash view, the two cameras are woefully inadequate, and the rFactor-like seat adjustments do absolutely nothing to rectify the fact that some cameras literally have you staring at your car’s hood. Tweaking the cockpit cameras to your liking is a painful process involving the conversion of XML files and fiddling with numbers by hand, forcing some of the hardcore guys to stick with one or two primary cars in an effort to avoid the painful process of configuring a custom camera.

Framerate issues have also crept up on my machine. I’m able to lock the game at a constant 60 FPS and have a buttery smooth experience for 45 seconds at a time, though occasionally the game dips to a framerate in the high 40’s for two or three seconds. At some points it feels tied into the game’s physics engine, as the dip in framerate directly begins to affect my controller inputs and force feedback effects. It rarely happens, but when it does, you wish it would stop for good.

To round out the list of my personal grievances, the lack of a modern rock/electronic soundtrack is a bit disappointing. For three DiRT titles in a row, Codemasters had an impeccable knack for compiling a fantastic list of 40+ alternative rock & electronica tracks that immediately found a home on my portable music player. I didn’t think I’d miss the angst-ridden lyrics of Rise Against or Templeton Pek until they were replaced by upbeat elevator music. The lack of a photo mode is also slightly frustrating. If you haven’t been able to tell by some of the beautiful stills circulating around the internet, DiRT Rally is one hell of a good looking game, and currently there isn’t a way to properly capture some of the game’s finer moments.

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I think my opinion of DiRT Rally would be drastically different had I not bought the game the day it was released on Steam’s Early Access program. Shipping with only six stages and seventeen cars, many of us early adopters were so thrilled at the prospect of a modern replacement for Richard Burns Rally, we exhausted the initial list of content available in DiRT Rally only a few weeks after launch. Codemasters did a fantastic job of continuously providing new content on a monthly basis to hold up their end of the Early Access bargain, but hardcore guys like myself would immediately rush home from work to try the new set of stages and features that had been added in at the beginning of each month, only to put down the game after a few days and wait patiently for the next update – an update that sometimes wouldn’t come for a month or two.

Now that Version 1.0 has arrived, it’s hard to continue to be excited about DiRT Rally. Some of us have memorized every track, driven every car, finished Career Mode, and competed in numerous online leagues long before the official launch of the game earlier today. It’s important to note that Codemasters have taken everyone to school on how to release and support an Early Access title on Steam without pissing anyone off, but a large majority of those who have owned the game since the spring are already bored of it. If there was any downfall to Codemasters using the Early Access program for DiRT Rally, it’s that the hardcore guys have already played the shit out of it and moved on.

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While I can easily point out things that could have been done better, features that should have been expanded upon, or cars that should have been included, the version of DiRT Rally that exists on the Steam store, warts and all, is easily worth the asking price. The sim obviously isn’t for everyone, and may be a bit too punishing for the inexperienced drivers among us, but those with the balls to give it a shot will probably come to enjoy their time spent with DiRT Rally. Shortcomings and incoherent ramblings over minor grievances aside, DiRT Rally is not only the best racing game of 2015, Codemasters have shown the entire gaming industry that it’s indeed possible to release a title in Early Access format and still please a large majority of their fanbase by simply holding up their end of the bargain with a solid finished product.

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58 thoughts on “The Only DiRT Rally Review You Need to Read

      1. I bought the game last night, and so far so good. The only thing that I find hard to fix is the way the cars drive. Is there a setting you would recommend to make the car drivable enough to to make it in an ok condition to the end of the races!?

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        1. You played for 12h and already figured out the handling is crap?

          Congratulations, Sir. 250h in and I’m still at the stage where I believe it’s me and not the game that makes practicing so effective. You are, like Fernando, faster than me, like Fernando, in more than one way.

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      1. Sorry It won’t happen again we weren’t aware we were in the presence of The level 305 candy crush master David Bell

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  1. Great review! While most people may get a big hung up on the negativity, you do raise many valid points. This game definitely needs more tracks (on all modes) as well as a multiplayer for the standard rally. Staggered starts would be awesome, but I’d even take racing a ghost at this point. Still, it’s the driving itself that makes this game so great. Hopefully we’ll get a more fleshed out game on their next go. Cheers

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  2. Damn shame that Codies prefers to fill Bernie’s pockets with that abonimation called F1.Dirt Rally with a good budget and a competent CEO could have been the best racing game ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1.0 and still the SSD+HDD stutter issue that myself and alot of others on the official/steam forums are having.

    I just want this game to work ;-;

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    1. I run the same drive configuration without issues. It’s a chipset specific issue with dirt rally and SSD+HDD, that’s why it’s taking so long to fully resolve.

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    2. Couple things for you to try:
      ————————————–
      hardware_settings_config.xml
      Replace existing threadstrategy with:

      (or whatever your core count is, try both PHYSICAL and virtual totals, virtual total is likely to induce stutter as the virtual core throughput is reliant on the primary thread not utilizing the CPU’s pipeline effectively)
      ————————————————————–
      Re-name replay folder and symbolically link to another folder on a separate drive.
      example: mklink /j “C:\ProgramData\Codemasters\DIRT Rally\DataCache\[yourname]\replay” “E:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\DIRT Rally\replay2”

      OR

      set “replay.pbf, replay30.pbf and replay60.pbf” to read only. (disables replays)

      Anyways, you’ve probably already explored these solutions.

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    1. And sounds.
      DR also have native RWD and FWD, way better than the one hacks finally brought to RBR. And the tarmac doesn’t feel super weird like in RBR.

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      1. Indeed. Innovative as their solutions were for circumventing the base limitations, it was just a workaround in the end and had some pretty obvious issues.

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  4. How is the controller support/performance? I’ll be getting this on Xbox if I get it at all, and I don’t use a wheel. Forza Motorsport 6 is fantastic with a controller, but Turn 10 have a big advantage in that regard as they work directly with Microsoft (the Xbox One’s haptic triggers was their idea).

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    1. It’s very difficult with a controller, almost too difficult to be enjoyable, especially the older cars. But I’m sure codemasters will tweak some things for the consoles

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  5. Narcissism in this review is much more then physics review. When you think that others use “toys” just think before, okay? No one cares today of your fail with iracing. Im frustrated with this site. Why do we need another virtualr? No update about how they would lawing iracing stuff to give their money back. So nothing to do here. From news to news site start to more and more take unproofed shit and consider that as ultimate truth. Narcissism.

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      1. The hardware is a component of the toy. Many toys contain circuits and mechanisms. The technical specifics of the hardware does not exclude these devices from the toy category.

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      2. So which ffb wheel is not a toy? Or should we install a big curved widescreen monitor on a car windshield, then connect the sim software to the car hardware, fix the car in place, and then use the real car wheel, pedals, and shifter; then we no longer toys?

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    1. every freaking race- and/ or fun-car that you take to the track and that does not pay you — is pretty much a toy. So are our gaming-wheels (regardless of quality or price). All are equal in that all can be fun.

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  6. Getting a little hyperbolic and flowery with the writing but for anyone that doesn’t want to slog through this: get the game, it’s good

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    1. Those particles are generated through GPU direct compute iirc. Consider trying different drivers. It shouldn’t be significantly different than the gravel particles in other stages in terms of performance.

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  7. >DiRT Rally allows you to comprehend how mere mortals can participate in sixteen World Rally Championship events each year
    No, it doesn’t. Rounds in the WRC *each* take on average something like 3 to 4 hours of top-notch competitive driving. Multiply that by the number of rounds and it turns out with your game-play time you probably wouldn’t have even completed the game twice yet.

    >This attention to detail explains why the actual track count is such a small number
    No, it doesn’t. Mobil 1 British Rally Championship – a game from 1999 – has around 650 kilometers of stages (double that if you consider going the other way as a separate stage), all fully recreated from real data: Ordnance Survey maps, photo and video footage. You can still trace the stages over Google maps or whatever. Sure, it’s only like one polygon per meter, but the available hardware was both less powerful as well as more expensive at the time.

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    1. A lot of WRC special stages are over 20-30 km long and the longest ones are over 50 km. In DiRT Rally longest stages are around 11 km which is disappointing considering it’s simulation game released in 2015.

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      1. which is why I am happy to have bought into the early-access period. I paid what… …about €30 for the game. Which it is worth as I see it. Would I want to pay €60 for it? Not really. The €50 they are asking for for the PC is a bit steep going by the amount of miles/kilometers. BUT then there are steam-sales and should you not call yourself a(rally-) simulation enthusiast then waiting for such an opportunity should not be too much of an inconvenience for you. With about €35 on discount, the price certainly sounds a lot more reasonable for such an under-funded game.

        What about Milestone?
        now: expecting customers to swallow their pre-order – scheme and only then receive bonus-content like the full-gravel Pikes Peak of yesteryear(…). In my mind, they still have to prove their worth before I am tempted to open my wallet for them. It’s not the fact that they seemingly are aiming for a larger package at full price. It is the fact that they apparently are planning on scolding their future customers for buying their game, should they not be willing to part with their money before the effin’ release!

        Why do they have to make it so hard for us to like them?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Overall I’m pleased with the v2 tire model and the way things are developing, but I think it’s a bit too soon for ‘v1.0’.

    The modern climate of games at initial release somewhat invalidates my opinion though. Can’t exactly blame Codemasters for releasing a bit too early.

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    1. Pure marketing-decision. And I have to agree: V1.0 should not have been given the seal of release-approval. That should have been reserved for a later patch. Other than that: At least they did deliver on most of their promises feature-wise. Still a bit rough-around-the-edges, yet at least: it drives kind-of well.

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  9. The biggest positive (apart from the game itself) from all this is that Codemasters actually released a really solid game and got a part of the community’s trust back. Now it’s time for them to continue this way.
    Personally I’m hoping this translates to a fully licensed BTCC game all us ToCA fans have been waiting for since forever.

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  10. Mobil 1 Rally Championship has already been mentioned, but I do wish that newer rally titles would include stages as long and punishing as the ones in that game.
    I had to drive a 20 minute stage in the Scottish countryside without 2nd or 3rd gear in the dark once – still the most fun I’ve ever had in a rally title.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Many of the cars you mention was left out with licensing issues. In one of the release videos you can see a wall that shows all the cars they wanted to include. That include the Lancer, Corolla, Celica, DS3 etc.

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  12. I bought day one and am still having fun with it, still stuck on Elite but I don’t mind. It’s the title that finally got me to source a wheel, albeit only a second-hand DFGT but it came with a wheel stand which was useful. Maybe its me but with 1.0 the FFB feels off somehow. I tried dialling up the settings.

    I’m aware of RBR etc, never played and never will. Played DiRT 3 with a pad and bought the rip-off IMO that was GRID 2.

    With so many broken games and overblown marketing campaigns for me it was refreshing to see the game appear out of nowhere and with the impression that they were trying to create what both they and the fans wanted using the time, resources and tech they had at hand. I believe F1 2015 (launched broken?) uses their updated ego engine so I wonder what kind if game they could create with that along with improved replays, track deformation over time etc. Hopefully this isn’t just a one off and that Paul Coleman’s passion can be out to good use.

    The official WRC title that Kyloton released looks arcadey, I guess the FIA require it, so that’s not for me at this stage, no pun intended.. Milestone have moved from WRC series to the Seb Loeb title which looks interesting graphically so I look forward to the reviews.

    As the reviewer noted Codies with DiRT rally have shown the industry how to build a game. Just think of the amount of people recommending the game to their console friends, no trailers or IGN nonsense required. I wonder what frame rate they’ll be able to achieve though since the Seb Loeb title on consoles is only 30. If codies can get 60 out of the PS4 it will definitely help. And great foe those who’ve invested in a wheel.

    Despites it’s flaws DiRT Rally has made me go off and look into this elements of rally in DiRT 3 that I never fully understood. I’ve since learned about Group B, RWD vs FWD, sequential shifters and the names of the driving greats. Also I live in Finland, my in-laws live close to M. Gronholm so rally has been around me for a while but I never fully got it but now I think I do, or at least the essence of it, and that is down to this one title.

    The aero is DiRT Rally is a bit odd, indeed if you watch the monthly DiRT Show on their channel they openly bring up all the the issues which is refreshing. As opposed to the OTT approach of Turn 10. I don’t know, maybe as a European I just appreciate the Codies approach that much more.

    Anyway I’ll continue playing, haven’t even completed single player yet and the elements that are in the game, such as the RX and hill climb things, shoe horned as they might feel are nonetheless interesting and maybe indicate things to come. I did wonder thought why I can run a regular stage in the Quattro included in hill climb since from the videos I’ve been watching, because of this title like I said, seemed to indicate that Walter Rohrl drove that later interation of the Quattro in regular rally events prior to the Group B ban.

    As someone who likes to draw and do design and is a big of a nerd I appreciated DiRT Rally on several levels. Design, attention to detail and most of all being upfront on things and trying to do their best. The one thing I’ll always remember is the FFB video by beta lines, some small random channel but there was a comment from Codies on the video asking him to contact them directly so he could help them improve the FFB. And they later admitted that they had started with the FFB from DiRT 3 which they honestly thought was okay. How many studios for any game type would be that upfront?

    I don’t have a console only PC. I wont be playing Batman Arkham Knight anytime soon or other titles broken on PC. Codies it appeared to me (as I haven’t been playing racing titles over the years) appeared to have gone for a console focus (ported to PC) to embracing the Early Access concept and trying to do their best. And I as a novice, appreciate it and given all the nonsense goes on with games and the fact that the official WRC title doesn’t look so great to me am happy that the game even exists. And developed in the UK 🙂

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  13. I play this game and love it. The whole atmosphere during the EA was basically
    “Come on Codies! You can do it! DON’T FUCK IT UP! YOU CAN DO IT.”

    Honestly theyve done a really good job. They fixed the fanatec csr clutch issue, theyve been really responsive, and I hope the game makes them lots of money. In this instance, theyve earned it

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  14. A nice article.
    In my view DiRT Rally is a massive achievement for several reasons:

    1. It ran to a development timetable with a decent product at the end of it. Sure it could have lots more stuff but the developers didn’t have the option of delaying it like seemingly every other title where the decision makers don’t have to answer to anyone upstairs. In fact as a piece of software development for any function this is quite remarkable!
    2. What it lacks in stages it makes up for with pure driveability. You know your favourite road you never tire of driving when the conditions are right and the road is clear? That is how it works. Race/rally games shouldn’t need gameplay to be desirable to run again and again. Quadruple the stage lengths and it is still only a few hours to complete yet the great sims have thousands of hours of playability; this is one of them.
    3. It is a modern landmark where a recognised publisher renowned for commercially successful but less hardcore racing games has been persuaded to create a real sim. If you look at all the other players they have gone their independent ways to be able to produce enthusiast titles since the big publishers cut off the funding.
    4. As such it represents a direction that should allow for a series of quality simulations on a regular cycle, so we should expect to see more content and features aligned to a developing simulation core. This isn’t the one off that RBR was or a product that gets a sequel after nearly a decade or so. I believe this is the start of a really promising future. Let’s hope it is sufficiently commercially successful.
    5. The team have nurtured an excellent spirit within the community throughout the Early Access demonstrating people management skills seldom seen in this development genre. It makes a big difference.

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  15. I have recently bought the v1.1 which I guess includes a little bit more of content. I have played around 10 hours so far, and although the lack of content (especially tracks) is noticeable I wouldn’t be bothered as this is something that can be “easily” added later on. As I purchased the game on sale (18€) I’m more than happy with it, but I totally agree with some of the issues highlighted on this article: music becomes repetitive and boring after a little while, and it’s a bit sad that after winning a rally you only get a breakdown like an invoice…

    On the physics and handling side… there’s a lot of controversy on the Internet about whether or not DR is really a sim… compared of course to RBR. To me, this game is rather good and the reference on rally simulation.
    I’ve played RBR for years and I still love it, but IMHO it is too hard. It was until present day the most accurate rally sim, but that doesn’t mean it was perfect. We all like RBR so much because it tends to exagerate how the car behaves so we have to put so much effort on it to master it. But again, it isn’t 100% accurate. If you have ever played other simulators like rfactor or Assetto Corsa, you somehow get used to the grip on tarmac and you learn how to recover the car on tricky corners. Then you drive on tarmac on RBR and things are not quite what you would expect.

    I just hope sells work well for Codemasters so this would be the beginning of new era.

    Like

  16. A great review in all aspects that reminded me of my reactions to Dirt Rally. It IS one of the best Rally Sims, and well worth being hated to no extent 🙂 I won the Open Championship on a Mini and felt enthusiastic after the 4 hours that it took, and it was maybe the best fun in a car sim I’ve ever had. Then I won the Clubman – after weeks – on a Peugeot 205 and EVERY CAR ever since the Mini was a punishment and annoyance. Realizing that the Mini, or better: the 60s class, were the only FWD cars, and that those are the ones that give me what I expect from a game (fun), I quickly fell out of love with Dirt Rally, considering it deeply un-motivational. Focusing on “getting your car through” lead to situations where you corner around in an Audi Quattro so slowly that Ole Granny Smith can overtake you easily with her rollator, AND STILL make 2nd or 3rd place. 2 crashes, flat tires … 3rd place … that took out the immersion quite quickly.

    And then the AI which either let’s you win, or places a single racer around 20 seconds ahead of you, no matter how insane you drive. As good a the racing simulation was, the simulation of the contenders field was not. With winning times of 3:xx and a 4th place being at 7:xx it’s different leagues competing.

    However, nuff ranting 🙂 Thanks again for a really in-depth review and for sharing it! Greetz!

    Like

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