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Dirt Rally 2.0 Review (Xbox One X)

DiRT Rally 2.0

Dirt Rally 2.0 Review (Xbox One X)

Between Milestone, Codemasters and others, the racing genre is alive and well. To try and keep things moving in that direction, Codemasters has returned to its off-road simulation series, this time releasing Dirt Rally 2.0 — the follow up to its critically acclaimed Dirt Rally. While the rally market may be considered a bit niche by some, Codemasters’ approach and mindset was to deliver a full-blown rally sim experience to the community.

What I Like

Gameplay

Rarely does a company challenge its community to master its game in the way that Codemasters does with Dirt Rally 2.0 (DR2). From start to the finish, DR2 pushes the user to understand each car, each venue, and the external factors such as weather and terrain. It’s a daunting task for sure, and one that requires a real commitment.

If that sounds like hyperbole, trust me, it is not, as the challenge that is presented is real. The game forces you to have complete focus at all times while racing, and the slightest mistakes can either be instantly terminal or cause issues throughout the championship that will produce less than desirable results.

If you’re thinking to yourself “well that doesn’t sound fun at all,” I think you might just have to see for yourself. While the difficulty level has definitely been amped up from its predecessor, the feeling of accomplishment I had when succeeding made up for the cramped hands and runny eyes that sometimes coincided with my time spent with DR2.

On top of everything else, DR2 offers My Team, which gives the user the opportunity to create and develop their own team of technicians. As the game states, “the challenges of putting in the garage work to fine-tune a ride for a performance catering to a specific racing style, managing component upgrades, and developing a supporting team of staff,” is what’s at play with this mode. What I love about the implementation of this is the difficulty of actually building your team. It takes a lot of work, a lot of credits, and a lot of dedication to get your stable of cars and your team where you want them to be.

Handling

As I hinted at above, the handling in DR2 is refined and on point, and requires full knowledge of the car, venue and weather to be even remotely successful while racing in a championship. Folks have to take the knowledge their co-driver is offering, the map that is provided and the terrain all into account, all while having 100 percent focus on what’s in front of them. It’s not an easy task for sure, but it’s one that can be mighty rewarding.

The controls, as well as the feel of braking and accelerating, create an intuitive feel that promotes a sort of synergy between the driver, vehicle and terrain. You feel every single nuance of the course and every little bit of undulation, and it all has a massive impact on your level of success.

Graphics And Sound

I have been playing this game on my Xbox One X, and the graphics are absolutely stunning — and at times photo-realistic. The game definitely looked better while traversing through the treacherous back hills of the game’s many remote real-world locations than say that of the FIA World RallyCross Championships, but the overall visuals are beautiful and immersive. Part of the beauty lies with the lighting system that is used in DR2 as it provides an ultra-realistic look and feel to the overall aesthetics of the game.

On top of the graphics and lighting, the in-game sound of the cars and terrain interaction sound incredibly realistic. It really adds another level of enjoyment to the game, even if at times I want to tell my co-driver to take a nap for a bit.

What I Don’t Like

Depth

It seems odd to mention depth being an issue when you have the FIA RallyCross Championships, team building, weekly challenges and so many locations to race at, but the game might come across as a bit shallow for fans who are not hardcore rally fans. In short, the lack of a track creator, a livery creator, and just an average online offering can be used against it.

Online Modes

Codemasters is renowned for a deep career mode and providing its community with a strong online stable of offerings, but DR2 struggles a bit in this category. That’s not to say that DR2 is a barren wasteland, but its main features are online championships, daily/weekly challenges and an ambiguous “find a game” element. There are no lobbies, no deep scoreboards, no track creator and no livery creator, and that stunts what would otherwise be an excellent online set of offerings.

Bottom Line

Dirt Rally 2.0 is a title that will push the limits of your patience and ability. It is going to twist you, turn you and beat you down, and for me that’s in no way a bad thing. The level of challenge that Dirt Rally 2.0 throws at you is incredibly high, and the game never even considers apologizing for that. Overall, Dirt Rally 2.0 can lead to a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to find these days in gaming. If that type of challenge is appealing to you, then having Dirt Rally 2.0 in your rotation is an absolute must.

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  1. Got my mitts on DIRT Rally 2.0 for the Xbox One last night, and I'm in rapture.
    This is perhaps the best racing sim out of the box that I've ever played, and I don't say that lightly. I made two changes -- switched to manual transmission and adjusted the damage to simulation. Otherwise, everything is stock out of the box -- 70 percent difficulty, cockpit view, etc.
    The tactile feel on the road is sublime. Cars are more stable and float less in DIRT Rally 2.0 than the original, which is a good thing. There's more weight to the cars, which also is a good thing. But the cars are NOT easy to drive. You will crash often if you're not completely focused or overdrive.
    Graphics are gorgeous. Yes, some of the darker areas are pretty shady, but maybe I'm getting a break here by running DIRT Rally 2.0 on an OG Xbox One with a 720p plasma TV. I can still see without problem, unlike some cats running this game in 4K on an Xbox One X.
    Sounds are spectacular. Unique, angry turbo whine. Normally aspirated grunt. And PHIL MILLS! PHIL MILLS! PHIL MILLS! The longtime WRC co-driver for 2003 WRC World Champion Petter Solberg reads the notes in this game. His notes are spot-on, and it's so nice to hear Phil's familiar dulcet tones again. Mills' notes and cadence rival that of Nicky Grist's in the Colin McRae games.
    Richard Burns Rally is the benchmark for all rally sims. I was lucky enough to play it on the PC with a wheel back in the late 2000s, complete with a bunch of superb mods from the community. The feel of dancing with an angry, powerful car over a variety of surfaces was unmatched by any other sim.
    Colin McRae 2.0 is the benchmark for console rally games. Excellent physics and realism.
    Those were the kings -- until now. DIRT Rally 2.0 is the first game I can mention in the same breath as RBR and not feel slimy or deceitful. And move over CMR 2.0 -- DIRT Rally 2.0 is the new badass among console rally sims.
    If you have even the slightest interest in rally, run to buy this game. If you have even the slightest interest in racing sims, run to buy this game. It was a superb experience for two hours last night, and I can't wait to play it again tonight.
    Solid review by Bob, but I disagree with his contention -- shared by some other reviewers, too -- that the driving model in DIRT Rally 2.0 is even more unforgiving than the original game.
    I think DIRT Rally 2.0 has a far more predictable driving model with more weight to the physics.
    Rally cars have a lot of grip even on loose surfaces, especially modern cars with state-of-the-art tire technology. And I don't think DIRT Rally did the best job simulating the more predictable nature created by that grip.
    Codemasters increased difficulty by reducing grip and increasing skittishness, sometimes too much. There were times when I crashed in DIRT Rally and thought: "Why the f*ck did that happen? It makes no sense," much like I still feel at times when crashing in the Isle of Man TT game.
    That sensation is gone with DIRT Rally 2.0. I have an easier time keeping the car on the stage than with DIRT Rally. But that doesn't mean the game is easier. It's just more predictable and understandable. When I sailed off a stage last night, which happened often, I knew exactly why: I missed a note, missed a corner, braked too late, understeered on exit, etc. No shunts surprised me. But if you f*ck up, you will pay, unlike other console rally games not named DIRT Rally or DIRT Rally 2.0.
    There's simply no comparison between this game and WRC 7. Sure, WRC 7 has the official license, with real rallies, stages, cars and drivers. I like that as a WRC fan who watches every rally on Red Bull TV.
    But DIRT Rally 2.0 is far superior as a driving experience and challenge in EVERY possible way. Only Richard Burns Rally on the PC has transported me into the zone I was in at times last night, where I felt an almost telepathic connection from my thumb on the joystick, index fingers on the triggers and right thumb on the gearshift buttons to what was happening on the screen.
    It was remarkable. Can't wait to drive again tonight!
    Richzilla
    Man your going to talk me into buying this game :)

    Rich:
    I know how you dig racing games. Run, don't walk, to buy this baby!
    Richzilla
    I'm sure I will cave this weekend....You know me too well ;)

    I’m tempted to only really play Rally games for about a month and then I move on. I’ll likely pick it up when it goes on sale. Just picked up Monster Energy Supercross 2 and I’m really digging it. (RACE ITCH SCRATCHED.)
    RunN1st
    I’m tempted to only really play Rally games for about a month and then I move on. I’ll likely pick it up when it goes on sale. Just picked up Monster Energy Supercross 2 and I’m really digging it. (RACE ITCH SCRATCHED.)

    DIRT Rally 2.0 is far more difficult than Monster Energy Supercross 2. So if you're cool with Supercross 2, then wait until DIRT Rally 2.0 goes on sale, especially since a season mode doesn't exist in DIRT Rally 2.0. There is a Career, but no season.
    The first dirt rally game I had success doing the circuit races but when it came to the point to point races I absolutely could not keep the car on the road. It was the most frustrating racing game I've played. I kept trying and trying but to complete a course without crashing I had to drive like and old lady. Hence I have not even considered Dirt Rally 2. I think I will also wait for it to go on sale.
    Not sure what my problem is. I have no problem with the WRC games but Dirt Rally I just found to be really difficult. Now if there was a handling mode like Dirt 4 I'd be ok with it. lol.
    The more I played this game over the weekend, the more I realized it might be the most sublime driving experience I've enjoyed on a console.
    JMD
    Not sure what my problem is. I have no problem with the WRC games but Dirt Rally I just found to be really difficult. Now if there was a handling mode like Dirt 4 I'd be ok with it. lol.

    The DIRT Rally series has a far tougher and more realistic driving model than the WRC series.
    But DIRT Rally 2.0 is more approachable than the first game. It's not as easy as DIRT 4 even when that game used Sim handling. But I find the cars in DIRT Rally 2.0 have more weight and grip than the sometimes "on ice everywhere" physics of DIRT Rally.
    In no way am I saying DIRT Rally 2.0 is as easy to drive as WRC 7. No, sir. But you might find it more fun for your driving style than the original DIRT Rally game.
    Your mileage may vary! Good luck.
    pk500
    The DIRT Rally series has a far tougher and more realistic driving model than the WRC series.
    But DIRT Rally 2.0 is more approachable than the first game. It's not as easy as DIRT 4 even when that game used Sim handling. But I find the cars in DIRT Rally 2.0 have more weight and grip than the sometimes "on ice everywhere" physics of DIRT Rally.
    In no way am I saying DIRT Rally 2.0 is as easy to drive as WRC 7. No, sir. But you might find it more fun for your driving style than the original DIRT Rally game.
    Your mileage may vary! Good luck.

    This game seems enjoyable but I cannot be competitive at all. Each rally I do I am like two minutes off the pace. Even set the difficulty to 10. May try zero tomorrow. I have tried everything from 50 to 10 and still the same result.
    poulka
    This game seems enjoyable but I cannot be competitive at all. Each rally I do I am like two minutes off the pace. Even set the difficulty to 10. May try zero tomorrow. I have tried everything from 50 to 10 and still the same result.

    Is your problem too many off-course excursions? Then you MUST resist the urge to go 10/10ths all the time like arcade racing games or even simcade circuit-racing games. One of the recipes of success in rally is to stay clean and stay on the stage, establishing a rhythm.
    Is your problem lack of speed? Then switch to manual tranny and use a quick downshift to control speed instead of the brakes. That will carry more momentum and shave time.
    Good luck!
    pk500
    Is your problem too many off-course excursions? Then you MUST resist the urge to go 10/10ths all the time like arcade racing games or even simcade circuit-racing games. One of the recipes of success in rally is to stay clean and stay on the stage, establishing a rhythm.
    Is your problem lack of speed? Then switch to manual tranny and use a quick downshift to control speed instead of the brakes. That will carry more momentum and shave time.
    Good luck!

    Thanks for the advice. I did get a chance to give it another go yet, but I will try staying on the course. That has been one of my problems. I have never been good a manual tranny on games. My age and reflexes not what they use to be lol. I will see. Thanks PK
    poulka
    I have never been good a manual tranny on games. My age and reflexes not what they use to be lol. I will see. Thanks PK

    Come on, man: I'm almost 54 years old and running a manual tranny. You can do it! :)
    pk500
    Come on, man: I'm almost 54 years old and running a manual tranny. You can do it! :)

    Oh man. I am not near that fine age. If you can, I guess I can give it a try. Thanks man.
    poulka
    Oh man. I am not near that fine age. If you can, I guess I can give it a try. Thanks man.

    Give it a true go. You have so much more control over your braking and acceleration. Shaves many precious seconds and is much more fun and immersive.
    I have this for both the PS4 and Xbox One. It looks great on the PS4 but it looks amazing on the X. I made room today for my Thrustmaster and tried to play a few time trials. Boy do I suck with the wheel ����. I need to find some good settings. I did set up my TH8A in sequential mode and am using it as the e-brake. I've also turned off all assists currently except for automatic transmission. I also hooked up my wheel to the PS4 using the DriveHub which I got for Christmas last year. Shows up as a Thrustmaster T150 and worked flawlessly.

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