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Format Tested: PC
DiRT Rally 2.0 has often been praised over the last 12 months, but how does the Game of the Year edition, featuring all of the downloadable content released for the game including the new McRae FLAT OUT pack, shape up?
DiRT as a name has been around since 2007 where the aforementioned McRae’s name was part of its title and Codemasters have over the last 13 years released a series of sequels, all with different ideas behind them.
But it was in 2015 when arguably the biggest shape up in the franchise occurred with the sudden early-access release of the first DiRT Rally which was aimed mainly at die hard sim-racers for the first time in the series.
This was then followed last year by this second version of this new philosophy, with more cars, more stages and better physics all on the list of new and improved features. Add in extra game modes, such as the returning FIA World Rallycross Championship (the 2019 cars now included as part of the GOTY), and this in theory is one of the biggest and most complete off-road games ever produced.
Annoyingly Frustrating but Hugely Rewarding
The best place to start is by saying just how challenging but in the end satisfying this game is. The setup I have is an ‘entry level’ Logitech G920, so I thought the first time I fired the game it would be relatively easy to set a fast time on one of the online leaderboards. How wrong I was!
Thank goodness this game isn’t real life, that’s all I’m saying. There’s a very fine line between nailing a hairpin turn on a dark and wet night in a Welsh forest and going for a barrel roll among the scenery. Have this on the most difficult settings and this game won’t let you off, no matter how small your mistake is.
It’s incredibly challenging to nail that sweet spot of ensuring you finish each and every stage but at the same time set a competitive time, whether that be against the A.I. or on an online leaderboard.
This is somewhere the base game already was already well stocked and the extra DLC that comes with the GOTY edition makes it even more complete. The lineup is a rally fans dream, with everything from a classic Mini, 1970;s Lancia Stratos, flame spitting Group B monsters such as the Peugeot 205 T16 and a brand new R5 Volkswagen Polo all in the game.
Every generation of car is represented all the way from the 1960’s to the present day and all tell a story for rallying and all played a part in the history of the sport.
Rallycross fans aren’t disappointed either, with both the 2018 and 2019 FIA WRX rota’s being topped off by the familiar S1600 and RX2 classes – both are perfect if like me you can’t get the hang of drifting a 600hp Supercar around Silverstone straight away!
Although the career mode, complete with different various championships and events is a solid enough package, this is somewhere I think Codemasters missed a trick.
One of the better features of the 2017 more arcadey DiRT4 was the career mode where you set up your own team and had a team of mechanics and sponsors to manage- something that’s missing here.
To be fair in DR2, it’s not a case of starting off in something slow and then gradually unlocking more cars as you complete rallies and races in slower machinery, but it’s all based around in-game credits. If you can afford it, you’re able to step up from your Volkswagen Golf GTI to a WRC machine as soon as you have the credits.
Don’t get me wrong, the career mode is interesting, but it just feels a repetitive after a while. I guess this is down to the number of locations in the game, but I think this mode could have had more done to it overall, with more championships and more cars to unlock over a longer period of time.
The Visuals and Audio
To put it simply, visually, the game looks stunning. It’s a cliche to say, but you do really have to sometimes take a double check at some of the screenshots in the game that they aren’t in fact a real photo.
You see every puddle, every drop of rain, every reflection bouncing off the trees as the sun sets and the game just looks stunning. DiRT games have traditionally looked amazing and this backs that idea up.
As well as the incredible visuals, the audio is also second to none. The car sounds are as realistic as I’ve ever heard in any rally game and makes DR2 as immersive as possible.
The game also for the first time features 2003 WRC winning co-driver Phil Mills calling the notes as you fly along each stage, adding to that realism feeling.
The only slight issue I have here is that some of the notes can be a little late being called and you might need to spend some time in the menus tweaking them to your preference, but I guess this is more my personal feeling.
DLC in General
It’s great to have as many stages, cars and events in the game don’t get me wrong. But if you’re a long term DiRT Rally player, you’ll recognise a lot of what has been added to the GOTY edition compared to the standard.
Codemasters have made a great job of visually upgrading the returning locations like Germany, Wales and Monte Carlo, but the stages have all been in the previous game and you’ll more than likely get the feeling you’ve driven them before.
With the added cars, it’s not quite as much of deja vu feeling as they have added several new vehicles over the last year. I’m a big fan of the Peugeot 206 that competed in the WRC in the early 2000’s and the introduction of more Kit Cars such as the Volkswagen Golf too.
The Rallycross mode has also been bolstered, now has a total of 13 tracks thanks to the extra DLC, something that is highly impressive.
New locations to the series including the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina track make the official game of the FIA World Rallycross Championship feel even more realistic and the developers have made a great job of bringing the series into the game.
The Colin McRae FLAT OUT Pack
The final piece of DLC released alongside the complete GOTY edition of the game is the Colin McRae FLATOUT Pack.
This features a brand new rallying location, Perth and Kinross in Scotland and two new cars in the form of the Subaru Legacy RS and the Subaru Impreza S4 as well as 40 scenario challenges celebrating the man’s real life achievements.
These range from his early days in a Sierra Cosworth where he took the Scottish title and goes on to take in his world championship title win in 1995, his later achievements with Ford in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and then his post-WRC career too.
I like this mode a lot as it’s something different from the developers, as well as paying a fine tribute to one of the greatest drivers in the sport and I also like the idea of them using what they had available to them to make as many challenges as possible.
The addition of the S4 gave me serious vibes of the Colin McRae Rally 2.0 too, especially with that being one of the very first racing games I played and I get the feeling that was what Codemasters were hoping to achieve.
If I can advise you of one thing to do with this game, join an online club when you’re racing online. Have a look on the offiicial Codemasters fourms or on Facebook groups for clubs you can join and you’re making this great game even better.
Perhaps the most famous club so far is that set up of WRC2 driver Oliver Solberg, where thousands of people compete against each other in what’s being called The Solberg World Cup, with prizes for the winners of each round as the real life season is on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effectively these clubs are online leaderboards, but have a different feel to them. I love the idea that I’m able to compete against a range of different people stage by stage and it really does feel as if you’re competing in a virtual rally.
These clubs are added to on the online side by daily and weekly events which make a return from the original DiRT Rally as well as the ability to race online in Rallycross events too.
With online racing and eSports continuing to grow in popularity and given the current situation the world faces, DR2 enables anyone to compete online and test their skills against tens of thousands of opponents, something that is vital with the way things currently are in the world.
To summarise, if you’re a rallying and or rallycross fan, this game is a must buy. It’s guaranteed to have something that you’ll enjoy, whether that be a brand-new R5 car or a historic Mk2 Escort.
The amount of content is incredible. The way it looks visually is incredible and the added Colin McRae DLC is very good too. I’d of perfered a slighly more detailed career mode, maybe with sponsors as like in DiRT4, but this is a mere small issue that shoudln’t stop you from buying this game.
The only word of caution I’d say is that be prepared to hit the restart button! This isn’t a game for the casual pick up and play person but it’s aimed at a much more sim-racing level market.
Don’t get me wrong you can quite easily still enjoy this game using a controller, but I’d say a wheel will definitely be a great option if you have the chance to use one.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
Also as I write this, if you’re a PlayStation 4 user with PS Plus, you’re in luck as you can get the standard edition of DR2 as one of the free games with the service in April. So why not give it a download and see how you like it, with the option of upgrading to this GOTY edition at a later date?