‘DiRT Rally’ Review: Mastering the Hardcore Thrills of Rally Racing

Game: DiRT Rally
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Codemasters

Simulation racing games challenge their fanbase to master the deep mechanics behind differing automobile types. Rally racing games are entirely a different beast thanks to a host of varying elements that impact the way you play. Simply going as fast as you can isn’t the sole factor that will determine if you’ll place high in the final rankings. There’s so much more to pay attention to as you navigate through the championship events present in DiRT Rally. Codemasters has made great strides towards making the rally racing game sub-genre matter even more with their latest release.

The world of rally racing is fully represented with Codemasters’ latest rally release since DiRT: Showdown. There’s plenty of vehicles to master due to the separate classes given their proper representation – the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Group B, Group A, 2000s, 2010s etc. On the content front, you’ll be more than satisfied with the game’s offering of 25+ cars and 50+ stages (plus there’s more on the way). Everything that’s been thrown into this hardcore racer looks as close to the real thing. You’ll drive rough and fast over dirt filled roads, climb up sandy hill terrain, rush through muddy/wet environments etc. DiRT Rally’s visuals and audio performance are both expectedly in tip-top shape.

Dirt Rally

DiRT Rally’s events focus on your ability to nab fast track completion times and beat the pack during head-to-head races. Navigating the many stages on hand during your trial runs are nail-bitingly tough. Not only do you have to pay close attention to your co-driver’s commands, you’ll also need to take heed of your vehicle’s overall performance. Be prepared to restart races as you look to pull off a perfect run, avoid falling off the beaten path and place in 1st every time. The progression system is strong, which means you’ll play just one more race as you unlock new cars, be granted new upgrades and add more automobile technicians to your team. Let’s be clear, though – the more casual fans of racing games shouldn’t take a risk on this type of racer. Their patience level will reach all-time low’s thanks to the tighter racing mechanics and high chances of making errors. Only the most dedicated and hardcore racing sim audience will be able to handle the high difficulty factor presented here.

If you’ve become accustomed to the demanding style of play from past rally racing games, then you’ll have an easier time doing well with this one. Managing to follow the strict suggestions from your co-driver, making perfect turns on dirt roads and crossing the finish line with a completion time under three/four minutes are just a few of the moments that makes your participation worthwhile. The more time you sink into DiRT Rally, the better the rewards will be. Your skill mastery will most certainly be showcased through your tighter handling and better use of acceleration during the appropriate times. This racing sim will push you to your very limits, but the sense of gratification you’ll get from constantly improving is unmatched.

Bottom Line

Dirt Rally

DiRT Rally is indeed quite the hill to overcome for those who aren’t very experienced with rally racing releases. But for those who are (or for those who’re willing to put in the time to learn the game’s basics), there’s a rewarding racer here. There’s so much to do – mastering tracks during solo runs, buying new team mechanic contracts, adding new cars to your garage, excelling on stages with ever changing terrain etc. The racing itself is finely tuned here, so you can only blame yourself for your mistakes and not the mechanics at play. Mastering DiRT Rally may prove to be a challenge that some may not overcome. But it’s a challenge that’s supplemented by an addictive loop that will push you to become the very best.

Score: 8/10


  • The graphical fidelity is strong; the many vehicles and race tracks look great
  • The sense of progress (getting better lap times, unlocking new car upgrades etc.) feels satiating
  • There’s a good variety of racing events to excel at


  • The learning curve may be too tough for casual racing fans to overcome