Dirt Rally Review

BMW M3 racing at high speed

The magnificence of Dirt Rally could be appreciated as early as April. And even then, in early access, the rally simulator showed itself in the right light. New tracks, game modes, and cars from different eras were added. There was no need to force adepts, or in our case, pilots, to experience the changes. Everything was taken for granted and fit into the overall picture. With each update, the spark of interest in the game flared up with renewed strength.

In Dirt, there is a wide selection of legendary and famous rally cars, but their total number is not so impressive. There are already cars from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and modern ones. Their number will gradually increase. It is pleasant for experts and fans of the automotive world to sit behind the wheel and feel how a particular model is handled. The level of detail in each car is impressive, for example, such details as the original materials of the interior and even the correct twitching and speed of the instrument panel needles are replicated.

Zubilo vehicle ready for action

The design of the track tries to deceive us. You don’t know what awaits beyond the next elevation: a turn or a carefully placed stone. Along the road, you can see traces of previous racers, and it is possible to follow a trajectory already tested by someone, but it would be foolish to trust it. It may not lie on the most efficient maneuvering trajectory or lead to a dead end at the next fork, resulting in a loss of time.

Exploring the in-game map

Cutting corners is not allowed in the game. The player will be returned back to the track and penalized with a ten-second penalty. However, in some places, it is possible to improve the time by using the shoulder or successfully using the next ramp.

By the law of meanness or the local level designer, tricky sections are located at the end of stages. The timer shows that you are leading, maintaining the pace, and… the last turn turns out to be slightly sharper than all the previous ones, resulting in an error that will push you down from the desired first place in the championship results.

There are different consequences for piloting errors: you can fall off a cliff or crash into a log warehouse, or slowly slide onto the lawn. The car naturally loses its properties from such abuse, it may start pulling slightly to the side, which will make it more difficult to simply reach the finish line, let alone win. After each stage of the championship, a limited time is given for repairs, during which hired engineers help.

Subaru rally car in full throttle

The more engineers there are, the more malfunctions you can fix between stages. With a full team, there is enough time to completely eliminate the consequences of an average racer’s mistakes.

The visual effects are cool, attention to detail is noted, but sometimes a lack of technological sophistication is visible. You can notice forest wildlife crossing the road. Mud splashes from the wheels along with flying stones, and flames flicker from the exhaust pipe. The beauty of weather effects is noticed when watching replays.

Driving through heavy rain

The physics of car behavior in Dirt at first glance approaches perfection, but not everything is smooth. The difference between different cars and, more importantly, drivetrains, is noticeable. All-wheel drive confidently holds the road, while over-revving in turns with rear-wheel drive leads to sideways sliding. And to the correct sensation of sliding. A typical spike in Dirt (GIF 7mb). The main criticisms of the model of movement in turns. It is not possible to use additional traction with the road from the effect of pressing the car during braking. Turning without gas and brakes is done on an excessively enlarged arc. Where the balance is lost here and why it is done is unknown, but it feels disgusting when the car turns into a cart at minimum speed. But as soon as you return to active turns, the game again begins to delight with indescribable pleasure.

As you progress, you improve your results thanks not only to increased skill, but also to the upgrade system. The more kilometers you drive in a certain car, the more data engineers will receive on how to improve it. Naturally, it is easier to win and earn points on upgraded cars.

Players enjoying multiplayer mode

Dirt Rally is a good teacher who explains the rules of driving to us at a fast pace: when to brake, which trajectory to take, and when to step on the gas.

Completing elements quickly does not necessarily lead to winning in speed over the entire distance. Exceeding the optimal entry speed into a turn, even by a little, leads to moving away from the point of possible acceleration. It is important not only to enter at the right point but also to turn the car for acceleration as quickly as possible. Frequent rolling, releasing the gas before braking, leads to the inability to finish in the top three.

I didn’t call Dirt a teacher for nothing. It is impossible to constantly practice behind the wheel of a real car. You get tired faster than sitting in front of a monitor screen. Sometimes you can lap after lap and the best time will not decrease, and it may even get worse. Coming back rested the next day, you can immediately get an increase of a few percent in the results: the brain has processed yesterday’s training, and the level of driving has increased.

A snowy environment in the game

Playing with steering wheel controllers has the best effect, but it is not enough to give up real practice. There are some remarks about the mismatch of steering angles and equipment.

For beginners in car racing, the first mistake often happens when they are unable to release the handbrake in time or forget about it until they come to a complete stop in a turn. Currently, controller models with a steering wheel, three pedals, and a gear lever are being released, but no manufacturer has included a handbrake in the set yet. The more complete the set, the more motor skills can be developed at a subconscious level.

If you sit in a car after playing Dirt, the model reactivity adjustment will not happen immediately: no one will become an ace so easily. During the game, the ability to make quick decisions is acquired, and the motor skill will have to be gradually learned while sitting in the car seat.

Nighttime race in the game

Strangely enough, the main competitors, Forza and Gran Turismo, exploit the educational component of car simulators even more powerfully in their rivalry for the hearts of virtual pilots. They boldly state that our players are so skilled that they cannot participate in amateur competitions, as after just a month of training, they achieve lap times approaching those of professionals. On PC, there are no alternatives to Dirt, and there are none in sight on the horizon.

DiRT Rally
Racing, Multiplayer
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews