Dirt Rally, is it (rally) a dream come true?

For now, I don’t have a definitive answer to this question. In fact, I don’t have any kind of answer, because I still haven’t had a chance to test this latest product of the team behind so many legendary rally and racing games. Right now, there is a lot going on in my life, mostly related to either work or more work; one of those I use to pay the bills and the other I use to promptly incur bills. In short, we’re working flat out to get our apartment ready for the upcoming move-in, so for the last couple of weeks I am mostly covered in paint, dust and some more paint. Tomorrow, however, I could squeeze in a bit of testing – I had no idea steam games work offline, I never ever tried, maybe because you don’t actually go offline these days, and when I do travel I don’t play games. Either way, this new game should work offline, so I should be able to hook up my steering wheel to laptop and dedicate some time to DiRT Rally tomorrow, to finally get some impressions.

But what is DiRT Rally, you say? Again, I cannot really say because I haven’t tried it yet, but according to numerous reviewers, it’s a gem. This is when I would like to insert a mandatory “told you so” – quite some time ago I wrote some posts about rally simulations, naming Codemasters as our best bet, even though their DiRT games were more about arcade stuff and gymkhana, instead of pure, basic rallying. DiRT’s engine, however, looked and sounded fantastic, yet the games did not meet all of our expectations, there was always something missing. In my mind, it was just a matter of time (and some good corporate decisions) – someone had to push DiRT’s engine into full rally mode. Now, I am not fully familiar with all the tech behind Codemaster’s latest game, but to me it seems that DiRT’s engine finally met its roots; the roads became more demanding and punishing, sounds grew, cars developed a different character and feel, resulting in a completely different experience, compared to the previous DiRT series products. You know how we always talk about Richard Burns Rally and its legendary steep learning curve, coupled with unrivaled physics? How many times did you wish for RBR and DiRT to have a child? Some say DiRT Rally is what RBR + CMR would look like in an ideal world.

Personally, I would like to test this game before making any calls, but I spoke to many people and they are genuinely excited about it. These are the people who would not go anywhere near any of the earlier Dirt games and swore only to RBR.

Best thing about Dirt Rally is that it’s a work in progress. Game is still being developed, even though you can get it and play it already as an “early access” on Steam. The team behind it is very enthusiastic about their project and they want your honest opinions. If you ever wanted to talk to people behind your favourite rally or racing game, do it now, because your ideas could help them shape this game just the way you want it. Seriously, they really really REALLY want your opinions. If you have the game, play it and let them know what you think. If you don’t have it, well, I cannot really recommend it yet, but again, I’ve heard some very encouraging things about it. I’ll test some of it tomorrow, until then I’ll try to keep my excitement at level 8.

Here are some of the features, taken from game’s official website:

  • Experience 3 massive new real-world rally locations during the day – in dry, overcast, sunny, misty, wet, rainy and snowy conditions – and then take them on at night for a very different, intense experience that will challenge the elite.
  • 17 CARS OVER 6 NEW AND CLASSIC CLASSES TO DRIVE NOW: Rally is about having the right car and DiRT Rally will have all of the right cars. At the start of Early Access, DiRT Rally delivers 14 cars and will be adding more cars over more classes in the future.
  • RALLY CHAMPIONSHIPS, RALLY ASYNC & CUSTOM RALLY EVENTS: Take on a single stage and learn the calls in Custom Rally events, compete against increasingly skilled opposition in Rally Seasons or prove yourself against the entire community of players in Rally Async
  • TEAM MANAGEMENT: Hire up to four engineering staff to work on your vehicle between stages. Drill down and hire them based on their contract length, wage demands, and on the insight they can offer over upgrades to the vehicles you own. Keep renewing an engineer’s contract and you’ll be able to give them perks that will help upgrade specific vehicles faster.
  • NEW DRIVING MODEL: The physical simulation for DIRT Rally has been completely rebuilt to adequately capture how it feels to race across changing surfaces, and loose surfaces collect under the wheels during lateral sliding, creating a completely new feel to sliding around corners.

Mandatory Get-It-Here link.