The Original DiRT Rally
When DiRT Rally was a beta release on Steam, I picked it up out of curiosity. I didn’t know much about rallying beyond the spectacular crashes. DiRT Rally is a brutally hardcore game that doesn’t even have a tutorial on how to drive on dirt. I fell in love with it instantly and it remains one of my favorite driving games. I became so excited about rally that I went as far as building my Yaris to rally rules. I haven’t competing in rallies yet, but I still think about it. I absolutely love driving on dirt, be it virtual or real.
DiRT 4 Disaster
When Codemasters announced their next title, DiRT 4, I was pretty excited. It had this cool procedurally generated track technology that allows it to randomly generate stages. Great idea but it didn’t actually create much variation as there were too few building blocks. Worse, the car physics were horrible. Not only have I uninstalled it, I completely removed it from my account so I never have to see that POS again.
DiRT Rally 2.0 Initial Release
When DiRT Rally 2.0 was announced I was both excited and nervous. Would it be the much anticipated sequel to DiRT Rally or another disappointment like DiRT 4? It was terrible. I couldn’t get my controllers mapped properly because the interface didn’t show controller values. But the reason I asked for a refund was the asphalt physics in Spain. Absolutely no feedback. It felt like I was driving a 1980s arcade game. I cried myself to sleep that night.
DiRT Rally 2.0 Redux
The next time I purchased DiRT Rally 2.0, I got it during a sale, and paid half the price. And to my surprise and delight, it is much improved. It now has one of the best interfaces for controller input. It’s intuitive and highly customizable. Also, the asphalt physics in Spain are better. Somehow they are not the same as Germany, which feels more like the original. I don’t know why different locations should have such different physics, but they do.
I don’t normally play career mode in simulators but I did in DiRT Rally. I did the entire career and won every championship, even to the top level. I thought I would do the same thing in DR2. The first season went just fine and I was having a great time. Then I hit Argentina and couldn’t progress further. It’s so freaking bumpy that I just hated it. Even with the softest suspension I was jumping all over. Doing 6 stages felt like such a chore. And the next level it would probably be 8. Not even remotely fun. Some locations are brilliant though. My favorites in the original were Greece and Germany. In DR2, these are also great, but despite graphic differences (possibly improvements), they aren’t any better than the original.
Next, I switched to rally cross, and the career mode there is good fun. There’s a lot of contact allowed though, so it easily becomes a demolition derby. While I preferred stage rally to rally cross in the original, it’s the opposite in DR2. Not all of that is because of Argentina and Spain. Rally cross is much improved in DR2 also.
I’m currently making my way through the rally cross career mode and having a pretty good time. Unfortunately, DiRT Rally 2.0 is not better than the original. It’ less fun, doesn’t have hill climb, locks you into online play, and has various monetary schemes that will see you paying for extra content. Save your money and skip 2.0. During sales, you can pick up the OG DiRT Rally for as little as $5.99. It was even available for free briefly. Like Project CARS, the original was better than the sequel.