After it was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews on the PC, developer and publisher Codemasters decided to bring DiRT Rally to the PS4, and they have once again done an incredible job with bringing rally racing to the virtual world. If you haven't yet heard of DiRT Rally, fasten your seatbelt and get ready to learn why this spectacular title is hands-down the best racing game on the PS4.
Take the high speeds and precision handling necessary to win a traditional auto race and then remove the asphalt and add some extremely harsh terrain, and baby you've got a rally race going. Forget about the repetitive left turns of NASCAR and the boring scenery commonly found surrounding an F1 track and instead picture a wicked point-to-point course winding and twisting through the Australian outback or a snowy mountain range. Imagine relying on a navigator in your passenger seat to tell you when the next fallen tree or massive boulder is going to be as you tear your WRX sideways around a 180 degree bend in the track, concentrating on nothing more than the feel of the pedals pressed to the floor under your feet and the wheel gripped tightly in your hands.
This is what DiRT Rally is all about, and it's probably as close to the real thing as you're ever going to get.
One of the biggest areas where this title shines is in the visual department. Each car you drive and environment you drive it through is detailed impeccably, and thanks to the wide variety of environments featured, the color palette is extensive and beautiful. Weather looks amazing, and even though it makes the tracks harder to handle, rain and snow are always welcome simply because of how great they are to look at. The audio does a great job of pulling you into the world as well, from the purrs, whines and roars of your engine to the helpful chatter of your navigator, who I found myself physically wanting to high-five after pulling off a few close wins.
While I'm sure that real-world rally drivers are in perfect control at all times, the beauty of DiRT Rally to me is the feeling of "controllable chaos" that was present in just about every single race. I almost always felt within an inch of losing complete control of my vehicle, but that wasn't because of the game's controls- it was due to the fact that there is danger at every turn, and that a novice who doesn't understand the nuances of his vehicle will easily plow through a snowbank or overshoot a sharp corner. Essentially, the controls are tight, responsive, and basically perfect- it's the driver behind them that counts.
So yes, DiRT Rally is a difficult game to learn, but when you do start to get it down, there's nothing like it. If you're like me, you'll find it hard to drive in just about any other game on the market today just because of how damn good it feels to nail a particularly nasty section of track and come out the other side at full speed in Rally. It's extremely rewarding.
Because of that rewarding feeling, you may find yourself restarting races over and over just to get things perfect. You can spend a ton of time doing that, and then you've only done it with one race on one track under one weather system in one car. There are so many different race types, tracks, weather conditions and cars in the game that you'll be playing this one for a very long time... and that's not even taking the customization into account.
If you even remotely like cars or racing and you don't back down from a challenge, get. this. game.