What I learned from an exclusive play on Dirt Rally 2.0
DriveTribe was invited down to the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London to gain exclusive access to Codemasters' latest rally simulator
It's forever startling how many games Codemasters manages to pump out each year and its latest offering looks to be up there with its best. Dirt Rally 2.0 is a hotly anticipated rally sim that aims to be the most authentic experience on the market, differentiating itself away from Dirt 4 by being much more of a sim than an arcade-style game.
It's due out in February 2019 but DriveTribe was invited down to the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London to get exclusive access to the game. Taking to a sim rig, I was given the chance to test out a little stripped-out Volkswagen Golf along the game's New Zealand stage whilst also being shown footage of some of the other stages that Codemasters has explored with its coveted rally title.
Sit back and let me take you through what I gathered from my brief time with this potentially market-topping game.
The Argentina stage looks stunning
Although I was restricted to the New Zealand stage (I set a time of 8:24 if any of you guys fancy challenging me come February), the trailer that announced the coming of the game showed an all-new stage that looks truly spectacular.
Dirt Rally 2.0 will include Argentina, with numerous rocky outcrops and barren terrain that should be even more moving from the cockpit of whatever car you dare pick for the challenge.
For the trailer, the marketing guys at Codemasters opted for an Audi Sport Quattro, with its five-cylinder turbocharged engine whooping and roaring its way around the clifftops. I cannot wait to send a bit of Group B magic down that stage when we get our hands on the full game.
It seems much easier to control than Dirt 4, and that's a good thing
Dirt 4 was a favourite in the DriveTribe office last year, with the more arcade-y game providing plenty of time trial banter on our gaming rig. For a sim racing nerd like myself however, 2.0 has come along and showed me exactly how a rally sim experience should be.
No unpredictable snaps of oversteer out of nowhere and horrid, unrelenting understeer which you can't feel at all – 2.0 is much more tactile and intuitive, meaning that the car does exactly what you want, giving you the ability to judge when you're about to understeer off into a rock and need to slam on the anchors. Coming from a Project Cars 2 addict, the game at this stage certainly meets my standard of realism due to the feedback from the simulated surfaces, rewarding me so much more than an arcade game.
The opening Golf is an absolute hoot
To kick off the game, we were given the handsome little Volkswagen Golf MkII for some plain and simple front-wheel drive hooliganism. Although it may not have the drama of something as insane as a Lancia Delta S4 or MG Metro 6R4, in terms of learning and getting used to the game's dynamics, the little VW was bloody fantastic.
I was definitely missing a handbrake which meant I couldn't rotate the car as much as I'd like but the Golf loved getting on the throttle early and could be sent into a really nice rhythm even on the trickiest bits of track with a bit of momentum driving.
You can't try too hard with it otherwise it'll understeer you into rock wall but introduce some pre-emptive nose positioning and this car could be the ultimate learning tool when you first get the game.
Tyre wear is now a thing
Once only kept to the likes of Codemasters' F1 games, tyre degradation has now been implemented into Rally 2.0.
Along with a choice of different compounds depending on the conditions, this feature will bring tactics and strategy into the game like never before and could make for some hilarious stages if you get the tyre choice wrong.
Also, the stage surfaces will be ever-changing depending on where you are sitting in the running order. In real life rallying, the loose surface will be shifted to the outside of the road having being sprayed there by the other cars. That can make the outside of a corner extremely slippery which – when combined with worn tyres – could lead to an unexpected trip into the undergrowth.
What do you think about what you've seen of the game so far? Will it be a title that you'll spend your hard earned cash on next year? Will it swipe aside the current V-Rally and WRC games? Comment with your thoughts below!