DiRT Rally was released way back in December 2015, so you may be surprised to hear that Codemasters are still supporting the title with DLC. Not any old DLC though, a VR update/patch that allows all the races in every mode, to be played from the viewpoint of the driver in glorious Virtual Reality. With DriveClub the only real contender in the VR racing genre, does it race ahead, or get left in the dust?
To call Dirt Rally challenging would be an understatement. There are no race lines, no rewind feature and no assistive braking. Dirt Rally throws you in at the deep end and is incredibly unforgiving. But here lies the enjoyment for the racing enthusiast, and if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing.
You will likely be selecting the Career mode which gives you several options. Two point to point rally races across multiple locations and a Rally Cross, a lap based event against AI controlled drivers. This was by far the most entertaining for me. It was short and quick, but it was very difficult. Luckily the restart button was an option and you can try again, and when you win it feels glorious.
I played all of this in the new VR mode, and I have to say, it is the best VR implementation for racing on PlayStation VR to date. The visuals look great, and anticipating the turns is no longer an issue as you can see them coming up and the co-driver also helps a little. You feel as though you are in the action, and throughout my play through I rarely felt sick, even after rolling my car a few times! Codemasters ingeniously vignette the edges of the screen to keep you from feeling sick and have just the right amount of camera shake to immerse you into the vehicle without causing motion sickness.
The environments are stunning, even with the lower-res visuals of PSVR, the game still looks great. Not as good as when you play it in 2D, but are convincing enough to get your adrenaline pumping during a race. You can’t change the viewpoint. You are stuck in the driver’s seat. But this is to be expected.
I mentioned the co-driver before, but I didn’t express how key they are in this game. There is no map and you have to take their guidance to heart and by the end of the race you will want to high five them for their brilliant instructions. They even announce car damage in the middle of the directions. It really makes them feel like they are there with you.
I used the Dualshock 4 controller to drive, but I found them to be very squirrelly and it took a lot of getting used to. A steering wheel with pedals would be the key step to immerse you fully. Learning how to steering into a turn just right and not pressing the accelerator all the way down is the key to getting good at the game.
DiRT Rally is a simulator and not for the faint-hearted. For those who bought the game at release will have to pay just £9.99 for the DLC and if you are buying the game new the VR bundle costs only £34.99. A must buy for any rally fans and VR owners thirsty for a new racing game,