What we have behind the streamlined presentation is an equally honed racing package that provides players with a range of cars spread out across numerous racing disciplines from hill climb to rally cross, vehicles from as far back as the 1960’s to the present day. Each can be taken out and raced in one of several game modes, from online leagues with friends, to standard PVP and the real meat of this delicious meal, single player. Codies seem to be intent on providing regular content in the form of both daily and monthly challenges, the latter set to reward substantial cash pay-outs to those who perform well enough. The standard mode of play though, Championship, sees players embark upon a European tour, taking on six events which are each comprised of four stages. Initially, I thought that was all that it had to offer, especially given how poorly I performed on my first attempt, but I quickly realised that this was in fact just the bottom rung of the championship ladder, seeing the difficulty rise across a further four available championships, each offering trickier courses and an increased number of stages.
What will undoubtedly seem to be disappointing is what the content looks like on paper, with just seven rallies and somewhere over forty cars, Dirt Rally doesn’t seem to have an abundance of content to keep players engaged with it. Yet the real strength of the game that ultimately shines through is the fact that each car is its own beast, each presents unique challenges to the player, and each takes a fairly substantial amount of time to master. Sure, you might very well be traversing the same limited set of environments time and time again, but this doesn’t really become too much of an issue because what is ultimately the greatest strength of the game is its tight focus of pure rallying. Yes, it can obviously be frustrating when something goes wrong, but ultimately, it simply becomes a learning experience, there are no more flashbacks to get players out of jail, they simply have to dust themselves down and either carry on, and try again. When everything goes well, when the car is swinging round acute u-turns and handling every terrain change with aplomb, there are few more satisfying experiences to be found, not simply within the realm of driving games, but of the entire industry’s offerings in general. This is as pure as a rally game can get, and Codemasters quite rightly deserve all of the acclaim that they have thus far received for it.