REVIEW – DiRT Rally already proved on PC that Codemasters is throwing out the entire Gymkhana-style, nonsense-ish drifting style to return a back-to-basics approach, which has been something the developers have done in the past – they succeeded. After the PC version, the console ports are here, and they don’t disappoint either!
When I wrote about WRC 5 and Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo, I already knew that DiRT Rally will come to consoles, plus I played the PC original back then, giving me all the reasons to compare them to this game. I expected the new DiRT game to raise the bar on the PS4 rally games by going with the back-to-basics formula, and while it’s unlikely to reach simulation levels of Richard Burns Rally, I still have to say: DiRT Rally is now the new standard. Why?
On the road
DiRT Rally is a simulator and not some arcade game. This already is one difference from the two previously mentioned games. Codemasters has their past in rally games, mind you: they were responsible for the late Colin McRae’s rally games and DiRT evolved out of them a decade ago!
Despite having ABS or traction control providing some help for beginners, you must learn (and I mean that!) to drive. I am willing to admit that I flew off the road multiple times – getting back on track either nets you a time penalty or it takes time for you to move on. Indeed, there is no room for error whatsoever, and maybe this is the single somewhat serious issue with the game: for beginners, there shall be tears and crashes aplenty…
DiRT Rally kicks the ass of Milestone’s and Kylotonn’s game – sure while Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo doesn’t look that awful at first sight, but the moment you start looking at Codemasters‘ game, your jaw will drop. Initially, I couldn’t believe how outstanding the graphics are! Using the cockpit view in the rain, I stopped just to be amazed by the effects on the windshield!
The framerate is also great: it doesn’t chug along on thirty frames per second – instead, Codies aimed high, and they achieved 60 fps. Kaz Yamauchi has his work cut out for the next Gran Turismo game – whether it will be Sport or 7 – unless the next Polyphony title is in development for the rumored PS4K.
It might be only my stupidity, but for me, the codriver’s voice was hard to get used to. I’m not saying that it’s weak, don’t get me wrong – your partner tells you in detail what is coming up on the road. Better memorize what crest or keep out means for example! The co-driver is half the success; the other half is solely depending on the player and the skill of keeping the car on the road. (Colin McRae’s classic sentence fits: If in doubt, flat out!) So the co-driver is okay, but what about the cars’ audio?
They sound just a little muffled in my opinion. Speaking of cars, several additions arrived with the console release of DiRT Rally. To name a few, Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, Mini Classic Rallycross, Peugeot 207 S1600, Renault Alpine A110… hm, perhaps Codemasters wanted to roast Milestone even more with their choices, especially if I add that Pikes Peak is also available in DiRT Rally!
You participate in races, championships (whether it be Rallycross, Pikes Peak… or Hillclimb, or actual rally events), you get some credits, and spend them on new cars, plus improving your mechanic team that gives you the option to tune your car further. Rinse and repeat. You’ll take some time to get to the victories in the start. Also, the career mode feels a bit grindy to me.
Also, there are 21 tutorials, but come on, Codemasters: why didn’t you recreate the Rally School from the first Colin McRae Rally? That should have been a marvelous idea. What about the controls, you ask? Not bad – sure, it feels better with a steering wheel, but you can keep your car on the road with a DualShock 4, too.
Must buy for racing junkies
While the game isn’t perfect, it’s still miles ahead of its two direct rivals. Unbelievable graphics, somewhat decent audio, good controls, but it’s still a bit hard, plus sometimes I found myself repeating some events for extra credits. Still, I’m giving this game a 9 out of 10. This game is a new etalon on PlayStation 4. I will compare WRC 6 and the upcoming Milestone game to DiRT Rally. If you like racing games, this game is a must-own in your collection. This is when a veteran team goes back to basics seen on the PS1 and just focus on what is important.
+ Superb graphics on PlayStation 4!
+ A great simulator
+ Zero microtransactions: you don’t need to pay extra
– Hard to learn the basics
– Career mode: grinding, grinding
– The audio isn’t the best
Genre: Rally simulator
Publication: April 5, 2016 (PS4, Xbox One, PC release now in physical as well)