Moved, assembled furniture, started paying bills on this new location. Replaced broken up-shift switch on my Logitech DFP wheel. DiRT Rally installed on laptop – finally, FINALLY, it was time for first proper stage of this new rally game. This time with a steering wheel. I picked Lancia Delta and one of the Welsh stages, just one stage for this briefest of brief intros. And it was all I ever hoped it would be and much, much more. This game is no joke, this game wants to put an end to various myths and aims to stomp over some legends with massive authority. Nothing we currently have can compare to DiRT Rally. It’s a valid successor not only to Colin McRae Rally games but to the Legend itself, yes, Richard Burns Rally can finally retire (I’m sure it won’t, not yet, but…). And yes, I am confident in all this after just one stage. Partly because I also followed much of what happened in the past weeks, all the development and interaction. This is it, friends, this is the game we waited for all these years.
This is a five points list, taken out from my overwhelmed mind. Yes I crashed a lot on this stage (is there an achievement for crashing into 100 or so ambulances?), yes I limped through the finish after what felt like a year, but it was a love at first turn of the wheel. Some games grow on you with time and some are instant love, just like this one.
- When you crash, and you will crash in this game, switch to in-car camera in replay and see driver and co-driver brace themselves for impact. This is called attention for detail and it’s just one of many, many examples in this game.
- During this one initial stage I literally parked my car by the side of the road (I didn’t pause the game because this is not a RPG with frequent saving, pausing is for the weak) and go inspect my PC case for this strange new noise. Well, actually, as soon as I stopped the car, this mysterious sound also disappeared, but I was sure something was seriously off either on my PC or in game… in game? Could it be? Rear view camera revealed nothing, left side of the car was intact as well, but AHA, I am missing a tyre on my front right, so this new, very strange but now fully and excellently vivid sound was my bare rim scraping on the Welsh gravel.
- You can beach your car on small banks at the side of the road and no amount of gearbox and handbrake wizardry will pull you out. Again, there are simple offs and crashes and there are situations like this, where you literally get stuck and only outside helpers can save the day.
- After recent Force-Feedback update I am led to believe this system is now more intuitive and feeds back (is this what you English speaking people call a pun?) more information to the wheel. I cannot say whether it’s better or not because I am, again, late to the show, but in this one stage it felt fantastic. Mind you, I haven’t tuned anything, except for setting my DFP wheel to use 540 degrees lock-to-lock. With fine tuning in game I am sure you can set it up to be JUST the way you want it.
- This game is still very much in development, yet already it feels like a fantastic addition to every rally fan’s collection of games. It’s surely worth the money, especially if you can grab a sale or some kind of deal. Even better, developers are in constant contact with fans and your wishes can make it into the game, believe it or not. This can only get (even) better before it reaches v1.0 status.