Codemasters is well known for developing the iconic racing game series, DiRT. Showdown was the last title in the franchise, and we have barely heard anything about the series since then. The silence finally ended on Monday, when they announced DiRT Rally and made the game available on Steam Early Access.
DiRT Rally is a completely new take on the DiRT franchise. Instead of catering to the fans of arcade racers, Codemasters goes back to the roots of the franchise and focuses on simulation. Unrealistic features that have been in previous titles, such as rewind, have been completely stripped from the game. In their place, the developers have implemented many features that make it more of a simulation than a casual game.
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the brand new physics and damage system. Driving with my G27 gave me a sense of immersion that I have never felt before. While I don’t know what it feels like to really race down the gravel roads of Monte Carlo, Monaco, I’m willing to bet this experience is pretty close. The realistic turning physics made me carefully watch my speed and tactfully plan out my lines. If I miscalculated a turn, the realistic damage system made me pay for it. Luckily, there is always the option of stopping your car for quick repairs, but it will cost you valuable seconds.
The realism may seem a bit intimidating for some newer players, but there are plenty of options to make the game fit your experience. You have the option to modify various handicaps that will make the game a lot more forgiving. These options include manual launch control, ABS, traction control, and stability control. Manual launch control can be toggled off and the other aforementioned options can be set on a scale of one through five, five giving the most assistance.
To accompany the great gameplay, there are also a lot of ways to play the game. The first way is to play in the new Rally seasons mode. In seasons, you will have the ability to hire engineers, manage your team, and compete in various events to become the best rally car driver there is. Alternatively, you can create quick custom events and allow yourself to get to know the tracks and cars that are available. There are a huge amount of options to choose from when creating custom events, so the possibilities are endless.
In its current state, there are a few minor bugs here and there, but the game performs really well overall. On my R9 270X, I am able to keep a near constant 60 FPS with the Ultra preset. Due to the game being a simulator, I would only recommend buying it now if you have been looking for a modern rally sim and have a good setup to play it. You should also know that there is a limited amount of content currently available in the Early Access version. Regardless, I believe that the game will eventually compete with notable simulators such as Richard Burns Rally, so making an early investment is not a bad idea. If you’re interested in DiRT Rally, it is currently available on Steam Early Access for $31.49.