Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: DiRT Rally 2.0
Format: PSN (27.1 GB)
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Codemasters, Koch Media
Developer: Codemasters
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US) £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI Rating: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
DiRT Rally 2.0 features a new handling model that makes the raft of vehicles, over fifty of them, feel much better than previous games.

Even though I had already played this game at the reveal event, I still needed a modicum of time to grow accustomed to the new feel.

It might have been the old Lancia Fulvia on the muddy and waterlogged stage that took some getting used to, but after a few embarrassing mistakes involving something about a missed corner and a tree, now with added paintwork, I got the hang of it.

With only five restarts allowed during the entire event, I needed to concentrate.

It helped that my classic car felt quite responsive on the soft ground and the majority of the stage had some flat open areas, perfect for my wide grass-cutting turns.

I like the new menu layout and the stage loading screen features a satellite view of the track complete with current conditions and information on the route. It still isn’t as cool as the original Colin McRae: DiRT format, but it does the job.

Tire choice plays a part now and replacing them when possible is a necessity. I hadn’t gotten into the habit of doing this and having a front tire blowout near the end of a stage was somewhat of a wakeup call. I managed to limp over the line and kept my pole position.

Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4) Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

A great addition is the long-requested surface deformation. Depending on where you’re placed in the running order, the quality of the course changes over the day. It isn’t very noticeable until you play the same stage again and even then, some might not feel the difference.

The difficulty level is adjustable but it feels like they’ve hidden it away and pulled the focus from it. Gone are the myriad of tweaks and adjustments to get the percentage just right. Now, it seems to be a select-and-forget setting where I just get stuck into the racing, worrying if I remembered to swap out my worn tires.

Am I getting better at these games or did this one just get easier? I think the latter to be honest. For example, my driving would be all over the place in the mud but in this game, I’m doing alright. I would have thought my old Lancia would have hated the slop, but this little beast loves it so much that I’ve nicknamed it ‘Pappanick’.

Hiring staff, upgrading the cars, and even the co-driver to lower the penalty times and improve durability means you’re actually spending the credits you earn for your podium wins and seeing a difference on the track.

Codemasters snatched the FIA World Rallycross Championship belt but relegated the mode to the Freeplay menu along with Historic, Time Trial, and Custom modes, the latter being a Solo or Online Championship creator or search.

Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4) Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

The FIA mode is quite overwhelming for a newbie as it lands you in 600 bhp behemoth of a turbocharged car and waves you off. These cars make my starting ride, the ‘Pappanick,’ feel like a feather in a breeze.

Most new players should ease into the Rallycross mode by opting for the career option, which places you in a nice little 224 bhp runabout to begin with. Even so, I still managed to slam into a barrier on the first stage and total my little Corsa.

The new handling system becomes very noticeable when getting behind the wheel of the more powerful cars on offer, the sense of speed is insane. Like poor old Wile E. Coyote strapped to an Acme Rocket, my heart goes ten to the dozen as a small touch to the pedal sends my beast of a ride through a fence and into a ravine.

The randomly generated stages and variety they offered are sadly missing from this latest game, along with a few other things that I will mention a little later. There are some Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Challenges to keep everyone entertained along with plenty of Trophies. The six real-life rally locations are very nice but I wish there were more. There are some great FIA rallycross locations, including my current favorite, Höljes in Sweden.

I hooked up my Thrustmaster T150 steering wheel and flicked on the BT LED Display for an added sense of immersion. I had to recalibrate the wheel, adjust the sensitivity, and set it to the primary device. After that, I was in my element and my longing for a wheel stand has been ignited once more.

Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4) Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

Visuals:
Ever since the first game in this long and lustrous series, Codemasters has always impressed with the visuals and DiRT Rally 2.0 doesn’t disappoint. I can see many similarities with the older game but this one looks better, for the most part.

The rain-soaked ground looks great and generally feels much better as the impressive looking cars speed through the puddles and mud. The rain looks exactly the same, which isn’t a bad thing, but the fog and snow have disappeared from this iteration.

Audio:
DiRT Rally 2.0 has some great sounds, I can’t get enough of it. I was deeply disappointed to not have the option for a female co-driver but the soothing sounds of Phil Mills will have to do.

Online/Multiplayer:
I couldn’t find anyone to play against in the run-up to release and I wanted to play online before I published this review. So, how did it turn out? Well, I can safely say that enjoyed the online component and I didn’t find any issues.

I did find better players, most of them in fact, but I still had fun. As for options, you can either browse the lobby or create your own Championship.

Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4) Review: DiRT Rally 2.0 (PS4)

Conclusion:
DiRT Rally 2.0 is a great game but it isn’t quite an amalgamation of Codemaster’s finest efforts. The new handling is great but it will take some getting used to, and the quantity of courses is a little lacking, although the developers have mentioned more is coming.

I’m very disappointed with the lack of a female co-driver and a few other little things, but this is a solid game with a great foundation to build upon. Newcomers might be a little put off by the fierce machines but tweaking the assists and some patience will be enough to find the pure adrenaline-filled delight within.

The reliance on a connection to RaceNet is annoying but there are one or two things still available if the servers aren’t working. Having the assortment of Challenges is nice but the majority of the time they just highlight my incompetence at this demanding simulation.

Score:
9.0

* 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, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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