Hands-On: DiRT Rally 2.0

Hands-On: DiRT Rally 2.0

* PS Nation was invited to a private event at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London by Codemasters for a hands-on preview of DiRT Rally 2.0. Food and beverages were paid for by the studio. The game was played on PS4 Pro.

I was lucky enough to attend a reveal and hands-on event for DiRT Rally 2.0. Ross Gowen, the Chief Game Designer talked us through some of the new additions and improvements, which I’ll discuss a little later.

We watched Jon Armstrong expertly navigate a rally course at breakneck speed, and I swear he only blinked about ten times throughout. Armstrong is a real-life rally driver and well known in the eSports scene. Helping on a daily basis at Codemasters, Armstrong has been tweaking the handling and making sure it feels more realistic than ever.

Ryan Champion and Oliver Solberg, who have both been helping out on a less frequent basis than Armstrong, have been making sure the vehicles feel just as they should. Gowen also mentioned a focus on the tires compounds and their feel on different surfaces, which I’m sure will please some of the hardcore fans.

On release, there will be eight official circuits from the FIA World Rallycross Championship with the hope of adding more in the future. Gowen also announced there will be over fifty vehicles including some historic cars. All of the stages are based on real locations

I quickly grabbed a DualShock 4 that was hooked up to a PlayStation 4 Pro and dove into some Rally Cross. I instantly felt right at home with the controls, although I still crashed a few times. The car’s destruction model is sublime and even the trackside paraphernalia reacts to the car in a realistic way. Tires bounce and tumble, while the toughened plastic barriers slide and snake across the tarmac.

I eventually totaled the car, just because it looked so damn good as it slowly fell apart. After restarting the race I jumped the gun and had to do an extra Joker as punishment, my pit chief wasn’t happy.

Once I completed the Rallycross I wanted to try out a proper Rally and loaded up the Argentinian course, one of the new locations this year. Just like before, the graphics were excellent. What really blew me away was the diversity and abundance of trees, shrubs, and bushes along the edge of the dirt road. The crowd looks better too, but I still couldn’t startle them.

My first two race attempts were quite embarrassing and I struggled over the finish line in eighth place. It wasn’t the game’s fault, more of my own issues, and once I stopped myself from being distracted by the gorgeous scenery I fared much better and even came in pole position.

I still couldn’t help but notice when I slammed into a dirt wall and dislodged a cloud of loose red dirt. The car shook and my door almost came off. My co-driver, voiced by Phil Mills, took it in stride and only paused to quickly compose himself. For the first time in the series, I could hear the bumps and shakes echo through his voice as he gave the most detailed and believable pace notes I’ve ever heard.

What I couldn’t see during the event was the course degradation over a virtual day. Now, according to the development team, they’ve made it so the track will be worse off by the end of the day. So after the first couple of cars have swept the course the ruts will begin to appear and make life a bit tricky.

I walked away from the event eager to play it again and excited with what the development team at Codemasters has accomplished with this latest experience. It’ll be a long wait till February 26, 2019. And before you ask, there was no talk of VR support -hands-on but that isn’t to say it’ll never happen.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

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

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