Review: DiRT Rally PlayStation VR Upgrade (DLC)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC
  • Oculus Rift

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • Racing Wheel Optional (1)
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Title: DiRT Rally PlayStation VR Upgrade
Format: PSN (600 MB)
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Original MSRP: $12.99 (US), €12.99 (EU), £9.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Review of the Original Game:

Gameplay:
First off, I should mention that this DLC add-on does not add anything to the menu apart from an option to enable the mode, select the co-driver tutorial, and play the new exclusive mode itself. Once VR is enabled, you can jump into any track, event, and career you have unlocked.

You obviously cannot change the view and must remain in the driver’s seat, but a view of your virtual body is still optional. A few of the many little things I like about this mode are that I found myself leaning slightly to get a good view of the starting lights on one track and quickly glancing over at the sod that just sideswiped me on another.

Am I better at the game when using the PlayStation VR? I would say so, only because I can instinctively look at the upcoming turns and better judge the angles. At least it feels that way for me. All I need now is an expensive gaming chair with full force-feedback to throw me about a bit and it will be as if I am actually there behind the wheel.

The new and exclusive co-driver mode is an interesting idea. With the social screen showing the action from inside the car along with a tire tread scrolling down the left side of the screen. Icons move down the tread and the co-driver must make the right calls at the correct time. A directional call needs a corresponding swipe on the touch pad while a crest or dip need a press of the up or down directional pad buttons.

If your partner manages to press the correct buttons and swipe in the desired direction all at the right times, the co-driver in the game will tell the VR player where to go, in a nice way. Anyone familiar with some popular music games will feel at home in the co-driver’s seat. It’s a fun way of getting another person involved in what’s usually a lonely experience.

… things that looked great in the standard game look just as good now …
Visuals:
Don’t look back, there is nothing on the back seat! In fact, there is no back seat whatsoever, no rear window or wheels. Zilch, nada, nothing. “Why should there be? You shouldn’t even be looking that way!”, I hear you cry. Well, I just happened to glance back and see the frightening lack of car. In the grand scheme of things it’s not an issue, but it bothers me.

The rest of the car looks great, especially the glass that often has nasty cracks in it due to my nasty habit of crashing into things. When that happens, the screen goes dark, as if you’re closing your eyes, apart from a small sliver. I found this helps deter any feelings of nausea that a sudden impact or flip might induce.

Some of the scenery looks simplistic but when you are focusing on the turns and dips in the winding road, none of it matters. It all goes by in a blur as you become immersed in the experience. The things in front of you remain clear and easy to see while the sunlight still bounces off the windscreen showing the dirt and reflections of the interior.

What really impressed me is that the things that looked great in the standard game look just as good now. Pelting round a winding Welsh road at night with the rain hammering down looks stunning. Sadly I could not record gameplay during the VR mode, otherwise, I would have happily made a video showing off how good it all looks.

… well worth the price of admission …
Audio:
Not much has changed here, all of the sound effects remain along with the co-driver voice if present. The 3D-audio headphones that came with the PlayStation VR headset work well and they help to immerse you with the skid of tires and the tear of gravel emanating from the correct side of the car.

I did find the need to adjust the levels of the co-driver when using the headphones as it was quite muffled by the din of the engine. I also struggled to hear the countdown beeps at the beginning of each course, which is only a problem on the courses that don’t allow a co-driver who counts down for you.

Online/Multiplayer:
Nothing has changed here from the base game, aside from the fact you can play the online mode in VR.

Conclusion:
At the price you pay for this add-on content, you would expect the back-end of the cars to be included. All joking aside, DiRT Rally VR is a great experience that anyone with a headset and a penchant for the genre should check out.

I would have liked a more immersive menu akin to the original DiRT game and not the boring cinema mode when outside of a car, but that’s just a small gripe in an otherwise excellent piece of content. The fact that you can jump into any track and vehicle is well worth the price of admission.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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