Simulation at its finest!

Last week, Codemasters and Koch Media give Game Hype an early chance to get hands-on with their latest DiRT title, DiRT Rally 2.0. However, for us to fully understand the realism of the game, we were sent to the Phil Price Rally School in order to get to grips with a proper Rally car ourselves. After a exhilarating both on the consoles and in the Rally cars, how does DiRT Rally 2.0 shape up? Pretty damn well is our answer!

First of all, we would like to take this opportunity to thank both Koch Media and Codemasters for taking us out to Wales. We had such a great day, where myself and John were treated so well. If you’re into your driving or Rally cars, the Phil Price Rally School really should not be missed, it is an experience that we won’t forget.

As we first got there, we were told how we were brought to the Rally School in order for us to blur the lines between a real life Rally experience and the game itself. We were given the chance to be a passenger in a Rally Car and even drive the Rally car ourselves (John did this and considering it was the first time he had ever drove, was really good!). Being the passenger in the car, Phil spoke to me regarding his Rallying experience and how they drive a rally car much different to that of a normal car.

In the afternoon, each of us was then given a taste of proper Rally action. As the passenger, we were taken around the main circuit of the Phil Price Rally School in a very classic Subaru Impreza. This is where speed was encouraged. Going around the track, my breath was literally taken away as we were doing almost 100mph. All in all, it was 2 minutes long but felt like 30 seconds. I can’t explain the feeling but it was such an adrenaline rush, one that is completely worth it alone.

All through the day, Phil and his team fully made us appreciate how Rally cars work and the rules in such a demanding sport. I’ve definitely got a new found appreciation for those whose profession is that of Rally car racing. The competitive nature is second-to-none but the potential danger is there in abundance. These guys have had 30+ years of experience and know exactly what they were doing behind the wheel.

I definitely come out of the Rally School experience with my eyes wide open in terms of the sport of Rally. This is a sport where perfection is the only choice. It is so hard to handle these Rally cars, the amount of spin they have focusing on the back wheels alone in order to make drifting turns is very impressive to say the least. After all that real-life knowledge and experience, it was only then when I fully realised how much of a sim that DiRT Rally 2.0 really is….

DiRT Rally 2.0 from Codemasters plays out like no other racing game. By that I mean that if you try and handle this game like no other, you are going to be disappointed because you are not going to get very far in the game at all in terms of the finish. This is a game that I can only describe as hardcore.

Myself and John played on two different set ups. One was using the PlayStation 4 DualShock controller and one was on actual set up for the game, with wheels and pedals all set up. Firstly, me and John decided to go on the proper set up to see how we handled the game the first time of playing it. Let’s just say we were awful!. We were given tips on how to control the car but still really struggled. The point between pressing your brake and accelerator is such a sweet point that you have to get right in DiRT Rally 2.0. You really have to judge each turn as carefully as you did last.

If you don’t judge turns or when to brake carefully, you’ll end up smashing your car. There isn’t an indefinite damage your car can take either, if you do too much damage, you will end up with a ‘terminal damage’ sign come up, meaning you have to retire from the race or restart. You’ll find yourself playing this game for hours on end just to get use to the different tracks in the game, which visually look so detailed! Codemasters get so much praise from us on how good the game does look. It’s a superb looking DiRT title, and you can tell how much work has gone into this. The dirt splashing up on your car, the damage via your car, weather effects, it all adds up to a visually impressive looking game.

It’s not just about damaging your car and thinking ‘ah don’t worry, it’ll be fine the next race’ because if you’re in a Championship, you have to manually decide what components of your car to pay the most attention to. You won’t be able to fix everything without a penalty so you’re going to have to be a really good driver, or prioritise where your fixes are going to come into the next race.

Overall, DiRT Rally 2.0 is shaping up really well. With DiRT Rally 2.0 coming out fully this month (26th), this is going to be one racing game that gets so much of my attention. Having the chance to be in a proper Rally car and experience it myself has only made me appreciate how good this game actually is. This isn’t an arcade racing game at all, and you’ll be so wrong to treat it like one.

Make sure you also read the transcript of our DiRT Rally 2.0 Interview.