Known for its racing series of games such as Dirt and Grid, Codemasters brings the Dirt series back to its Colin McRae Rally roots. Featuring realistic handling on lifelike rally stages and courses from around the world—Dirt Rally is one of the most thrilling, challenging, and authentic racing simulation games ever.

With a strong desire to create a true racing simulation, Codemasters began development on Dirt Rally in late 2012. The development team started by prototyping a new physics model, different from previous games, and by creating tracks based on map data. However, Codemasters did not officially announce Dirt Rally until April 27, 2015.

In a brilliant move, Codemasters released Dirt Rally that same day to early access on Steam. Gathering feedback on an unfinished build of Dirt Rally, the game evolved with the feedback received from the community to what you see today. Here are 5 reasons why Dirt Rally is the ultimate rally experience.

boxart.jpgGame Details

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Genre: Racing simulation
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

5. Eye popping visuals and realistic sounds

Codemasters has done quite an impressive job with the visuals on Dirt Rally, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offer 1080p 60 frames per second visuals that are astonishing. Each vehicle is rendered in amazing detail inside and out and damage to your vechile appears in real-time. I had quite a few laughs, at one point my vehicle’s bumper was hanging off and the trunk flapping up and down.

Environmental effects are top notch, you’ll experience snow blasts, rainstorms, puddle splashing, and dust storms kicking up from the tires as the trees blur by you at breakneck speeds. The sound is top notch as well; the growl of the engines will send shivers down your spine.


4. Six massive rallies with over 70 stages

Dirt Rally’s locales cover all the terrain you would ever need in your journey with 10 locations in nine different countries. You’ll get all the practice you’ll ever need to face any surface Dirt Rally throws at you as you race on the mountainous slopes of Argolis, Greece, climb almost a mile up the highway to the summit of the legendary Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA, and rally in the streets of Monte Carlo in the peak of winter.

Each and every stage requires a varying amount of skill needed to be successful. You’ll race across snow, ice, tarmac, and dirt amongst a variety of weather types. Each rally becomes a marathon-like test of concentration and skill.


3. Iconic Rally cars

Featuring officially licensed FIA World Rallycross content, Dirt Rally sports 39 vehicles broken down into 11 different classes for you to play. Experience the breathless, high-speed thrills of some of the world’s fastest off-road cars ranging from the Mini Cooper of the 1960’s all the way to the Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak.

Each of the 11 classes are full of their own unique handling cars and provide a very different experience as you move up the ladder. From the low-powered front-wheel drive vehicles of the 1960s to the high downforce, rear-wheel drive powerhouses of the modern day, let’s look at the 11 classes of vehicles in Dirt Rally.

1960s: In the 1960s, there was a movement towards more and more purpose built rally vehicles. Both the Mini Cooper S and Lancia Fulvia HF were top of their game during the time they raced. The Mini Cooper S won multiple rally championships across Europe, and the Lancia Fulvia HF won almost every Italian championship from 1965 to 1973.

1970s: The 70s saw a shift from the low-powered front-wheel drive cars of the 1960s towards a higher-powered motor and a rear-wheel drive system.

Group B: What many see as the pinnacle or rally racing, and motorsport in general, is that of Group B rally. Eventually banned, this group includes in this category are powerhouses such as the 480 horsepower Peugeot 2015 T16 Evo 2 and the wild Lancia 037 Evo 2.

Group A: Developed because of Group B’s ban, Group A cars are lower powered, safer vehicles. Although they may initially seem inferior to the vehicles in Group B, these vehicles in reality are quicker thanks in large part to their increased traction and better handling.

1980s: Sharing many of the same characteristics of the Group A, this class features production-based models that were built to stand up to the rigors of motorsport and ultimately did very well.

F2 Kit Car: These FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup class vehicles are unknown to many motorsport fans. However, don’t let their lightweight chassis, and small hatchbacks fool you. This class of vehicle can produce impressive times on the track.

2000s: This class features vehicles spanning many years from the World Rally Car class of the World Rally Championship. Featuring low displacement engines in a lightweight chassis with high downforce, these vehicles provide superior handling.

2010s: Derived from the earlier S2000 class specifications, these cars are smaller and limited by much stricter regulations enforced by the FIA. Don’t let the regulations fool you, the intense acceleration of the 2010 vehicles will leave you breathless.

Rallycross (RX): Dirt Rally also includes a variety of Rallycross vehicles to compete in the closed course action. These cars are purpose-built to be as quick as possible on the mixed surfaces of Rallycross courses.

Hillclimb: Featuring some of the most powerful and lightest vehicles to be created, these vehicles are built for pure speed, and tackling the mighty hillclimb that is Pikes Peak. These vehicles are planted to the tarmac and dirt as they climb the winding road in the race to the clouds.


2. Game modes

Dirt Rally has several different game modes that will keep you coming back for more. First up is the Career mode, here you’ll start from the bottom and work your way up. By competing in various championships, you’ll earn more money to buy new cars. In addition, you’ll have a dedicated rally team at your side who will repair your vehicle after those inevitable crashes. With skill and determination, you can quickly work your way up the ranks, and take your place on top of the podium.

Online play? You bet! Dirt Rally has a plethora of online events just waiting for you to compete in. There are daily, weekly, and monthly challenges, in all of which you compete against the Dirt Rally community. Earn money to buy new cars for your garage, and compete via Rallycross with others around the world take to the same track at the same time and race like never before.

As an extension of the online community, Dirt Rally has a league system in which you can compete against your friends and rivals. You can create your own league or join one of the thousands already created by the Dirt Rally community. League events are fully customizable and best of all, there is no restriction on the number of leagues you can be a member of.

1. A true racing sim with no compromises

Dirt Rally is a true racing sim, the team at Codemasters have ditched the glamour trappings, and novelty tack-ons of recent racing games to focus on giving you an authentic rally experience. There is no “rewind” feature to save you from taking a corner too fast or from going over the edge. Instead, Dirt Rally focuses on what makes racing simulation games great—the feeling of racing on the edge.

You can’t hold down the acceleration and tap on the brake as you near the corner—do this and you will slide badly and often off the road. The challenges that Dirt Rally throws at you are never impossible, but you’ll have to invest time and effort to get the most out of the game. It’s these characteristics that make Dirt Rally unique, and unlike anything else available.


Final thoughts

Dirt Rally is an excellent racing simulation game, with simply gorgeous visuals, over 70 stages to race on, iconic rally cars with their own unique handling, several different gameplay modes to keep you busy, and stays close to its racing sim roots with no compromises. I’ll have to admit, there is a learning curve to Dirt Rally, but once you get a hang of it, the sense of accomplishment is second to none.

Let me know in the comments section below what you like most about Dirt Rally.

Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.