We reviewed the base game of DiRT Rally 2.0 way back in March 2019, yet ever since launch the busy beavers over at Codemasters have been producing lots, and lots, and lots, of DLC, split into four seasons. Now, a little over a year on from the initial launch, Codies have dropped the base game and all that DLC into a Game of the Year Edition, coinciding nicely with the base game being released onto Xbox Game Pass. Seems like now is as good a time as any to join a world of gravel, grip, grunt and gears!
It has to be said that the base DiRT Rally 2.0 game was well received, with this very website giving it a storming 4.5/5, but one of the criticisms that was levelled at the game early on was that there didn’t seem to be as many tracks as many people would have liked. Well, this has more than been addressed in the DLC route map that Codemasters set out, along with a number of new cars and liveries being added. The new DLC that is present here initially arrived in seasons, and what I’ll try to do here is give an overview of each and what they added.
So, Season One then and this was a modest start to the journey, adding six cars and three new rallies. The cars were iconic for rally fans, adding the Citroen C4 Rally Car, which gave Loeb such a great run of results, the Skoda Fabia Rally that was used by Colin McRae, the BMW M1 Procar Rally, the Opel Manta 400 rally car (the road going version was the first car I ever crashed in real life, fact fans!), the Ford Focus RS Rally 2007 and the Subaru Impreza. Obviously the latter is in there, as every rally game needs an Impreza in it somewhere.
In addition to the cars, the three rallies added a multitude of extra stages to the game. Starting in Monte Carlo, this track is a lot of fun, especially in something low-powered like the Mini Cooper, as with its icy bends it’s almost possible to drift the entire track, and you have a serious amount of fun doing tearing around. However, get it wrong, drift off a corner, and you’re in a world of hurt, with terminal car damage being only one misjudged hairpin away. The Sweden Rally is again a slip-sliding riot of a course, as deep snow surrounding the stages actually makes it quite hard to crash out, as you instead bounce the car off the snow banks. Lastly in this season comes the Germany Rally – a twisty series of tarmac ribbons, with some very nasty chicanes thrown in for good measure. Chicanes make me sad, as when you’re on the raggedy edge of a corner, holding onto grip by the skin of your teeth, and being told by the co-driver “Chicane, Right Entry” usually means that I will regain control of the car on the left hand side of the road, just in time to crash into a stack of hay bales. In addition to all this though, this first season introduced a few extra liveries to use, but to be honest, with my preferred viewpoint of being nailed to the front bumper it isn’t something I felt the need to use.
Season Two again added six cars and three courses, but this time around there were some new Rallycross (Rx) courses added to spice things up a bit. The cars this time around came in the form of the Peugeot 205 T16 Rallycross, the Ford RS200 Evolution, and the Porsche 911 SC RS – famous for having the engine in the wrong place and with trickier than usual handling because of it. Also included was the last two-wheel drive car to win a World Rally Championship, in the form of the Lancia 037 Evo 2, along with the Lancia Delta S4 Rallycross and the MG Metro 6R4 Rallycross. The latter two cars were famous for being part of the infamous Group B rally events, where stupidly powerful cars took to the stages until it all got a bit silly and far too dangerous, banning the class in the process.
The tracks included in Season 2 are that of Latvia Rx, with a circuit at Bikernieki, featuring the usual array of high speed, drifty corners and tight technical sections. The Wales Rally is also there with a plethora of stages included, most of which are wet and rain covered. The last track to be included is the Rallycross track at Estering, Germany, which is as difficult as the rest. It is at this point where I’d like to raise a niggle and, as stated above, I always play my racing games from the front bumper camera view. There is a slight issue with doing that on the Rx tracks in DiRT Rally 2.0 Game of the Year Edition, as it’s almost impossible to see where you are going, and with no co-driver it takes an inordinately long amount of time before the tracks begin to click and you can get round them with any success. I could probably cure this by changing view, but after years spent honing the skills in a variety of racers, I don’t feel that I should have to. There’s no issue with the actual rally events, it just seems that the Rx tracks suffer from this.
Moving on to Season Three and we again find ourselves in the realms of new cars and tracks. The cars this time are more Rally-focused – the Subaru Impreza (2001), the Ford Focus RS Rally, the Peugeot 306 Maxi, the Seat Ibiza Kit Car, the Peugeot 206 Rally and the Volkswagen Golf Kit Car. Apart from the Scooby, there isn’t much to get excited about in this selection, in my humble opinion. The 306 Maxi is a decent front-wheel drive car, with clearly more power than the other cars in its class, so may be worth a run out. The rest are just “some cars”, I’m afraid, at risk of damning with faint praise.
The tracks that were added in this season included the Greece Rally, set around Argolis, which is a dusty, slippy collection of stages, featuring some of the largest roadside rocks and obstacles I’ve seen, whilst the Yas Marina Rx track is also a tricky little so and so. The last track is in Finland, and features fast, jumpy, bumpy tracks to really test your skills. It’s impossible to steer a couple of tonnes of metal with all four wheels in the air, and I’ll be honest here to point out one of my most memorable moments from one of these stages came from hitting a jump while not dead straight, resulting in me spearing off into the forest and hitting a tree about ten feet off the ground. Cue one trip back to the pits with “Terminal Damage”…
Season Four, the final season, mixes things up a bit. This time around, we are treated to eight new cars, but only two new tracks, and the pack is pretty much focused on the Rx race scene. The cars include a whole new class – the stars of the 2019 Rx World Rallycross Championships – with the very latest body designs and liveries, making you feel like you are part of the whole Rx circus. The cars included are the Renault Clio R.S. RX, the Renault Megane R.S. RX, Ford Fiesta Rallycross (Mk 8), Peugeot 208 WRX, Ford Fiesta Rallycross (STARD), Ford Fiesta RXS Evo 5, the Audi S1 EKS RX Quattro and finally the Seat Ibiza RX. That’s a lot of Ford Fiestas, and I have to say, these new Rallycross cars are absolutely insane. The speed they accelerate at, the way they turn, brake and drift is all top notch, and there’s no finer feeling in DiRT Rally 2.0 than putting together a perfect lap and winning on the last stretch.
The tracks this time around are a new entry to the series, with things kicking off with the Killarney International Raceway, not as you’d expect in Ireland with that name, but in South Africa. This course has a hideous chicane section that is really difficult to see in anything but bright sunshine; in rain and bumper cam view this makes the track a real pain. The final track to be added was Lydden Hill, the home of UK Rallycross, and the scene of Top Gear’s attempt at the sport.
With this Game of the Year Edition of DiRT Rally 2.0 though also comes the Colin McRae “Flat Out” Pack, which is arguably the biggest of the additions to the game; a flashback to the life and career of the Scottish rally hero, Colin McRae. A guy best remembered for his absolutely fearless driving style, summed up by his quote “If in doubt, flat out!”, this pack adds in a couple more cars, including the iconic Subaru Impreza S4 he drove to victory in the WRC, and the Subaru Legacy RS. In addition there are 12 new stages taking us through Perth and Kinross, including some very tricky sections where the local population seem to think the best place to store logs is on the apex of a fast corner on a rally stage. Best of all though and one of the great highlights of the GOTY Edition are the 40 new challenges which have been included, all based on the life of the great Mr McRae. These challenges certainly add a new dimension to the action here, and they are, quite frankly, brutal affairs.
They do start off fairly simply though, with challenges like “finish a stage without breaking a Mini Cooper”, but it isn’t long before they ramp up in difficulty, becoming much trickier tasks, all of which are based on actual events that happened in Colin McRae’s career. As an example, in 1988, in the Welsh Rally, a broken engine mount in his Peugeot 205 forced him to retire. In the game, we are tasked with having the same amount of damage, but we must drive to the end, place at least 5th, and avoid breaking the car. This one causes a few choice words to be uttered. As does for trying to drive a Sierra Cosworth through a forest – 350 BHP, rear-wheel drive and a slippy track surrounded by trees doesn’t make for a comfortable mix.
In conclusion and the Game of the Year Edition of DiRT Rally 2.0 on Xbox One does enough to earn its name. Collecting a year’s worth of DLC into one package, with all the extra cars and tracks, is a great idea, but then also including the excellent Colin McRae Flat Out Pack ensures that the game is pretty much double the size it was at first launch. The new rallies are challenging, the new Rx tracks are great fun to hoon around on, and the new cars, while not all instantly recognisable like the Impreza S4 which is added in the Flat Out Pack, all bring something new to the table. I have no hesitation in recommending this complete edition of the best rally experience available to all fans of rally games everywhere.