Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

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Buttermancan
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Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 24th, 2021, 2:11 pm

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For over six months I've consistently played and enjoyed Dirt Rally 2.0. Unlike most of the arcade racers I spend my time with, Dirt Rally 2.0 is a sim based, realistic monster that delights in punishing you for the smallest of errors. Make no mistake; this isn't a game that you'll master in two evenings, but it is a title that I was surprised to enjoy from the very start.

I was terrible to begin with and initially I'd often overestimate the speed at which I could safely take corners. However this encouraged me to develop a more cautious, safe approach and before long the racing term "slow in, fast out" made more sense as corners I wasn't familiar with were exited with more zip than I previously thought possible.

After all this time I still make many errors but I'm always getting better and herein lies the game's lasting appeal: if ever I score a bad time or crash it's always due to overestimating my ability, user error, or not respecting the brutally impressive physics engine. Slicing a corner too finely can result in contacting stones or logs that could puncture a tyre or send your vehicle careening off a mountain.

Rally stages are varied, well designed and require a different driving approach depending on their surface. A good example of the contrasts on offer are Spain's tarmac tracks and the rough gravel stages of Argentina. Tarmac requires a precise approach, mirroring the style of circuit drivers, whilst gravel or muddy stages are most reminiscent of rallying and encourage liberal, joyous use of the handbrake.

Weather conditions such as rain add an extra ingredient to the challenge and require a more cautious approach. Track degradation is a new feature implemented by Codemasters and can make runs on the same stage feel different depending on where you stand in the rankings. If twenty five drivers have whizzed round the course already, you can expect a more uneven and difficult driving surface.

More impressive than the number of vehicles on offer (81) is how different they are to one another. I had as much fun getting all I could from a 1950's Mini as I did from the mightiest of modern machines. Handling is realistic, challenging and differs appropriately between car types. Tackling a rear wheel drive car after mastering the front wheel variety requires patience and highlights the developer's efforts to create a true to life simulation. I must stress that beginners will fare better starting with low powered cars unless they're experienced sim racers.

For those looking for further rallying immersion, it's possible to tune your car and potentially increase race times. This highlights my motor sports ignorance as I utilised the pre-sets of a YouTuber to best modify my car per stage. Unmodified vehicles are by no means terrible but those with relevant knowledge will be able to shave seconds off their best times.

Graphically the game looks decent; at high speeds a newcomer won't notice defects but several hours in, pop-in becomes increasingly obvious and distracting but not terribly so.
Audio however is amazing: engine sounds are unique to each car and feel guttural - especially when transitioning between gears. Every piece of gravel hitting the under belly of your car has an audible impact and can be felt via rumble feedback. Importantly, the co-driver delivers pace notes in a convincing and realistic fashion which the user can modify to be received early or late.
There's no music whilst racing which suits the game's realistic nature but menu and replay arrangements are relaxing and appropriately themed.

A frustration worthy of note is the online requirement for the career mode. There have been more than ten occasions where I couldn't access this component and it was due to Codemasters servers and not connection issues on my end.

I initially held off buying Dirt Rally 2.0 as I disliked their approach of piecemealing content to buyers via DLC which came at an additional cost. In fact, this review would not have been made if it wasn't for the game of the year edition that more than doubles the original rally stage line-up as well as adding twenty five new cars. Also included in this edition is a special tribute mode to Rally legend Colin McRae. This new addition puts players in the shoes of Mr McRae himself and challenges you with several real life rallying scenarios that the Scotsman endured.

Dirt Rally 2.0 is a visceral, thrill per minute experience that requires extreme focus from the player. Its harsh, realistic nature may not suit all who play it, but those who persevere will find a game to come back to again and again. Personally speaking it's one of the greatest racers I've encountered and I find myself encouraging others to try it more than any game from recent memory.


Graphics :- 79%

Sound Design :- 90%

Soundtrack :- 66%

Playability:- 90%

Replay Value:- 94%

Final Verdict :- 90%

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Last edited by Buttermancan on June 25th, 2021, 3:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Xbox Series X Review)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 24th, 2021, 9:27 pm

Awesome review and great pics! But while you call it a Series X review, isn't the game made for an Xbox One? I take it you just reviewed in on the Series X??

Buttermancan
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Xbox Series X Review)

Postby Buttermancan » June 25th, 2021, 3:45 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:Awesome review and great pics! But while you call it a Series X review, isn't the game made for an Xbox One? I take it you just reviewed in on the Series X??


Thanks for your kind words. You are 100% correct. Previously I've always mentioned the various platforms the game is released for and the one I've reviewed it on. I just forgot this time ;) . I'll rectify it now :D

Buttermancan
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 25th, 2021, 3:53 am

I changed it to (Reviewed on Xbox Series X) as the game title box looks far too cluttered if I include all the platforms it's available for.
For those eager to try the game out you can pick it up on Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and PC.

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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 25th, 2021, 4:05 pm

I imagine the rumble effects are pretty good in this one. As much flack as I give the Xbox One, that thing has the best controller around.

Buttermancan
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 25th, 2021, 5:22 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:I imagine the rumble effects are pretty good in this one. As much flack as I give the Xbox One, that thing has the best controller around.


I don't own a PS5 and it's advanced controller but the feedback is great via the Series X. I can only imagine how incredible the dual sense would be in a title like this if it was implemented properly.

Buttermancan
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 25th, 2021, 5:22 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:I imagine the rumble effects are pretty good in this one. As much flack as I give the Xbox One, that thing has the best controller around.


I don't own a PS5 and it's advanced controller but the feedback is great via the Series X. I can only imagine how incredible the dual sense would be in a title like this if it was implemented properly.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Retro STrife » June 27th, 2021, 4:52 pm

Very nice review. I'll admit I have to count myself among the people you mention in your review that just can't handle this game. I played the game for a couple hours on PS4. It was way too difficult to learn and unforgiving for my taste.. and I kept having this feeling like, even if I took the time to learn it, it would still be too unforgiving for me. So I moved on pretty quickly from it. Sounds like you had better luck with it.

In fairness, I'm not really cut out for the racing sim genre anyway. Other than loving the early Gran Turismo games on PS1 and PS2, I haven't really invested time in any since then. But I gave this one a shot based on the solid reviews and being free on PS+.

Buttermancan
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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 30th, 2021, 2:00 pm

Retro STrife wrote:Very nice review. I'll admit I have to count myself among the people you mention in your review that just can't handle this game. I played the game for a couple hours on PS4. It was way too difficult to learn and unforgiving for my taste.. and I kept having this feeling like, even if I took the time to learn it, it would still be too unforgiving for me. So I moved on pretty quickly from it. Sounds like you had better luck with it.

In fairness, I'm not really cut out for the racing sim genre anyway. Other than loving the early Gran Turismo games on PS1 and PS2, I haven't really invested time in any since then. But I gave this one a shot based on the solid reviews and being free on PS+.


Thanks for your kind feedback. I have to admit my surprise in loving this game. I mostly enjoy arcade racers but the intensity of this completely won me over. The career mode starts off relatively easy. Yes; the physics are brutal but your competitors are crap and also make mistakes. When you get to the highest difficulty is when things become relentlessly brutal. One significant mistake sends you far down the rankings.
I just love this title, it truly had that just one more go quality to it and I keep coming back to it!

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Re: Dirt Rally 2.0 (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 30th, 2021, 3:32 pm

Sounds like one thing this game has going for it is that it's easy to make progress.

I can't stand racers where you hit a wall because 1) you can't earn a license without making a perfect 3-pt turn or something like that, or 2) you can't advance until you finish first in a race.

Graphics look pretty too.


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