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DIRT RALLY 2.0 is a good old-fashioned motor vehicle race-style game. 

It has all the thrills and spills you could ask for of a game in this genre, plus there are a large variety of cars, plus courses, tracks, repairs, customisation and options. 

The default controls on the PC via STEAM are not automatically comfortable, for example, using the keyboard for control, the letter [Key] A is for acceleration with the Comma and Full Stop being Left and Right. Thankfully you can get to the controls and reset them to suit your own needs. I set them as W for acceleration with A for Left and D for Right and found that to be much more acceptable, though as I have never been very good at cornering in motor Racing games, the change of Keys only helped enough to (mostly) keep me on the road. Completing the course and not going over the cliffs or into deep, down brambled bushes was still not easy, but the thing is despite my uselessness, I was having fun.

Do you get the thrill of the race ? Yes! Do you get the atmosphere of an actual live Rally? then I would say "not really" but then this is a game more than a simulation. What you don't get are cars going round on wet, dirt or gravel roads without throwing up splashes, stone chips and mucky mud. Skid round a corner and watch the wheels spin, sending out a spray of road surface debris. What you don't get are vehicles with easy steering; from the off the need to concentrate is paramount. Remember this is a Rally, and so unlike a general Formula One motor race, you are against the clock, other cars are a nuisance their speeds are the opposition.

DIRT RALLY 2.0 is published by Codemasters and was on general release last year. This is the seventh of the games in the Colin McRae Rally series to carry the Dirt name and the thirteenth game overall. It is amazing how the designers have managed to create so many similar games and yet keep each one fresh and exciting enough to ensure its value to the series. Every console and hand-held game has half-a-dozen or more motor sports games, this one alone is already on the two major consoles as well as the Steam media for the PC - Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Like the majority of the games in this genre, you start with a choice of a weakish motor vehicle and an easy race track, and as usual you build up as you play to getting a better selection of car, different tracks, until you have the run of everything available in the game, by which time (6-8 hours) you may have exhausted the available possibilities and be going round again. Changing cars for different courses is also an important element of playing. If you race to finish the game then you'll quite likely break the game as far as your entertainment goes. The courses and terrain along and around the tracks are generally lined by race supporters, race staff and essential services. Many supporters stand behind barriers that, with poor driving, stay safe even when you crash into but not through them. 

Before racing you can adjust your car, angle of wheels, dip on front and back etc. It is great that you can do this but you need to know the type of ground the race will be held on. However, it's no use asking me which tyres are best for which track as I can't even pump my wheelchair tyres up correctly. Of course there is no need to do any of those adjustments at all, you can just get in and drive. I did just as well (for "well" read "poorly") without an adjusted car as I did with one. Yet once again I had fun.

Taking care of your car is essential as damage carries through from race to race but there is a difference between careful driving and driving to win. On the driving side, using a keyboard is not the best way to play. If you have a controller that works with your PC, such as the Thrustmaster F1 dual controller then take that route. Better still if you have a Thrustmaster Racing Wheel complete with headphones, gearstick and pedals - that's the way to race. If you don't have a Driving Wheel (of any type or make), the controller is the next best thing, the keyboard is the last resort.

 

Carve your way through a selection of iconic rally locations from across the globe, knowing that the smallest mistake could end your stage. You will need to rely on your instincts with the most immersive and truly focused off-road experience yet, including a new authentic handling model, tyre choice and surface deformation. Power your rally car through real-life off-road environments in New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia and the USA, with only your co-driver and instincts to guide you. Race on eight official circuits from the FIA World Rallycross championship, complete with licensed Supercars and support series. Develop your team and cars around race strategies, and progress through a varied selection of Events and Championships in both a single player Career Campaign and a competitive online environment.

• OVER 50 OF THE MOST POWERFUL OFF-ROAD CARS EVER BUILT – Tear through environments with an iconic roster of historic and modern-day rally cars, VW Polo GTI R5, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X & Citroen C3 R5. Also take on the challenging power of the Chevrolet Camaro GTR.4.

• 6 REAL LIFE RALLY LOCATIONS –Take the wheel through the stunning environments of New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia and the USA.

• THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP – Race at Barcelona, Montalegre, Mettet, Lohéac Bretagne, Trois-Rivieres, Hell, Holjes and Silverstone in a multitude of different series.

• DEVELOP YOUR OWN TEAM – Create a team, hire your staff and expand your garage of vehicles as you choose.

• TUNING – Tune your vehicle to suit your driving style and environmental characteristics. Alleviate wear and tear by configuring each car’s set-up, and upgrade your parts to ensure your vehicles are ready for whatever challenge lies ahead.

• GET COMPETITIVE – Race the entire DiRT Community in Daily, Weekly and Monthly Challenges, with worldwide leaderboards and events.

Think of this as Rally Driving game rather than Racing Driving game, as I said the racing is mainly against the clock, and you will get the best from your game. 

The way I ended up in one game (see above pic) is reminiscent of how I ended up in real life (see pic below) but in the game (unlike reality) I just clicked F2 and was immediately back on the road, facing the correct way and ready to continue on with my journey, not quite what happened in actuality.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015