The tradition of Codemasters in the field of racing games it is one of the most rooted among those present in the entire videogame industry. The first titles developed by the English team date back to the end of the 80s, and it is for this reason that for many of us the name of the English studio is synonymous with the first love of videogames, at least in the racing genre. Whether we were thrilled by the very old Grand Prix Simulator or a more recent (so to speak) Colin McRae Rally, Codemasters has been able to convey the passion for engines on our screens, satisfying all tastes, from those more oriented towards the arcade to those who instead try to get closer to the simulation. The birth of the DiRT Rally series is linked to this type of philosophy, which took place with its first chapter in 2015 to get to the present of DiRT Rally 2.0, which we deal with in this one review. There was also a DiRT 4 in between, before Codemasters decided to go back to making us chew mud and glory with a more simulation title. We are therefore ready to go with DiRT Rally 2.0.
Modes and tracks: career drivers
Right from the start in the company of DiRT Rally 2.0, it is clear that Codemasters intends to address mainly those who loved its predecessor, which we awarded at the time. In fact, the game presents itself with few explanations on the possibilities we have at our disposal to kick off the dances, starting from a career mode which, as often happens, is at the heart of the DiRT Rally 2.0 offer. An offer that starts from the possibility of creating our own driver to take him to the top of the international rally, participating in various types of events related to both the traditional rally and the rallycross with its races held within closed circuits. In this regard it is worth remembering that in terms of licenses DiRT Rally 2.0 cannot count on that of the official WRC championship, in the hands of Kylotonn Games and its WRC 7, while it can instead show off that linked to the FIA World Rallycross Championship, which includes the eight routes of Barcelona, Montalegre, Mettet, Lohéac Bretagne, Trois-Rivieres, Hell, Holjes and Silverstone.
The career is divided mainly through these two disciplines, presenting in the case of the classic rally six settings that count a total of over seventy itineraries to learn centimeter by centimeter between New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia and the United States. An offer that, as we will see later, presents some lights but also some shadows, completed by what are some community challenges that can be played asynchronously with other players. Outside the career mode, DiRT Rally 2.0 allows you to compete in the aforementioned FIA World Rallycross Championship starting from its official cars, or to drive in a historic rally with vintage cars. By completing events within the latter, the player purchases new cars from over fifty that the game offers, starting with a Lancia Fulvia for rallying and an Opel Corsa 1600 for rallycross. Without forgetting to strengthen their team, to make sure that the engineers and co-driver become more efficient in their work to support our driver in search of success. Compared to DiRT Rally, the mode disappears as widely announced hill climb.
Gameplay: handbrake on, along with breathlessness
The heart of DiRT Rally 2.0 naturally lies in its model guide, centered on a simulation-type experience which, however, does not give up some softening to avoid that only real rally drivers can play. The ability to activate some help is especially necessary with the use of a DualShock 4, where the use of automatic transmission is practically mandatory to be able to enjoy what on balance is a good yield in terms of feeling even with a controller in hand. Where DiRT Rally 2.0 manages to give its best is inevitably with steering wheel and pedal set, better if equipped with a clutch, reproducing through this combination all the weight of our car when cornering, while the rain beats on our windshield but above all on the mud. The simcade policy adopted by Codemasters serves to soften a bit what remains a fairly steep learning curve, using the aids to teach while learning to coordinate the voice of the co-driver with their actions between ridges and hairpin bends. Those who are already used to the DiRT Rally model will find a similar experience awaiting them, more refined especially in terms of tire grip in various situations: in this regard it is a shame to have to wait for the release of additional contents (for a fee) to taste DiRT Rally 2.0 also on the INFO, the real big absentee in this game's initial offering.
Once the disappointment has been dispelled, it is still possible to appreciate the detail placed by Codemasters at various levels, starting from the management of physics which allows the player to feel the full weight of the game on his skin thanks to a damage system that forgives a little, but not too much. What makes each stage electrifying is the impossibility of carrying out a short rewind in case of error, accompanied by a length of the tracks that in some cases exceeds ten minutes. Thanks to this, DiRT Rally 2.0 leads us to face every single pitfall with the utmost concentration, carefully evaluating how to get out of a jump or how to best deal with entering a bottleneck. If on the one hand the awareness of having the error always ready to attack us around the corner weighs like a boulder especially in the initial stages, on the other hand the need to restart the entire stage to remedy it makes the rally experience offered by DiRT Rally 2.0 a commitment not to be taken lightly, in some cases reaching the limits of fatigue physics. On our way to learning how to master cars in the mud, Codemasters still gives us a hand beyond aid: artificial intelligence of the game is in fact of an adaptive type, thus making it more affordable to reach a good position and then intensify the challenge when the level of difficulty rises and we have to worry about keeping what we have achieved.
PlayStation 4 Trophies
In addition to those obtainable by winning its stages, DiRT Rally 2.0 also brings with it fifty-one Trophies. The ubiquitous Platinum is accompanied by two of the Gold, ten Silver and thirty-eight Bronze types, divided between all the modes that are part of the game. The nature of the Trophies is in fact what one would expect from such a title, with the need to complete some levels or bring some cars to success. An exception is the tipping premium, to be obtained strictly in Australia.
Graphics and sound: Ego Engine to the max
When we talked a little while ago about attention to detail, we were not referring only to the driving model, but also to the entire technical sector of DiRT Rally 2.0. Although less surprising than its predecessor, this new chapter makes itself appreciated on PlayStation 4 Pro for the sixty frames per second that practically never hint at decreasing, in the absence of smudges that can somehow affect the trance state of the player behind the wheel. Only by looking with a detached eye can you see some compromise in the vegetation and in the representation of the car models, necessary to be able to put a Ego Engine on the way to inevitable retirement.
From inside the driver's cabin, however, it's a whole other story: whizzing sinuously among the Argentine rocks or crossing the Spanish villages is pure poetry, also thanks to a wide field of vision that in some cases opens up to breathtaking views, from appreciate for a nanosecond before taking care of the upcoming turn 1. Our driving mistakes also led us to drive at night without headlights, appreciating every inch of a stage completed blindly except for the sections in the moonlight or the glow of a flare kept on the side of the road. The sonoro is equally efficient in maintaining a high level of involvement in DiRT Rally 2.0, thanks to a co-driver with a clear voice even in Spanish, punctual in giving directions on the route. At times even exaggerating, forcing us to do an extra work of memory to take note of what is in front of us. Naturally, the work on the engine sound effects is also excellent, the noises of which when changing gear sound like a melody while the number of revolutions explodes into a thunderous party.
CommentTested version PlayStation 4 Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 54,99 € / 69,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
The DiRT Rally 2.0 review gives us what will probably remain the best rally simulation of this generation. The effort of Codemasters improves what has been seen in its predecessor, but does not take the additional step that we would have expected in terms of content. A few additional tracks and, why not, even the immediate support for virtual reality would have made us talk about DiRT Rally 2.0 with even greater transport, also passing over some limitations of its engine that now appears evident. However, we are sure that even as it is the game will not fail to amuse lovers of the discipline to which it is dedicated.
- Right compromise between simulation and arcade
- You can choose the tires!
- Excellent technical sector ...
- ... but the Ego Engine is starting to show its age
- Something more could have been done on the contents once again
- No VR right away, let's hope for the future