DiRT Rally is PC only, Early Access and out now?! See it in action here

That’s right. As you read this, DiRT Rally is now available to buy via Steam’s Early Access program. But don’t think that means it’s not finished. What you get at ‘launch’ is a decent-sized chunk of finished game. But what happens next (after a few planned updates) is open to suggestions. Best of all? You only pay once. There are no micro-transactions and everything that comes later is free.

That is quite the departure for the series but, fundamentally, it’s also a return to its roots. I’d argue the name is 50% accurate, because this is a proper rally simulation. None of that Ken Block, dude-bro, polystyrene-smashing ‘Gymkhana’ stuff. Not even live PvP or multiple-cars-on-the-same-track Rallycross. This is just one car against one road at any one time, although there are plenty of cars and roads to choose from. The cars span everything from the 1960s to modern-day WRC and there are tracks from three regions available at launch, namely Greece, Wales and a true-to-life recreation of the Monte Carlo’s Col de Turini.

There is asynchronous multiplayer, as well as plenty of official events to play, all set up via dirtgame.com (opens in new tab). You can also make your own challenges and put them up on the site for rally fans to join. So it isn’t really like any DiRT game I’ve played, although it’s much more like the original Colin McRae DiRT than the others. There’s even a return for Pike’s Peak, which is currently planned for the first update. I had a go on it and, while I’ve never driven a car up the Pikes Peak mountain, I now feel like I have. It’s that realistic. The more you add to the experience like multiple monitors, a steering wheel and pedals, racing seat and body feedback, the closer it gets to reality. Codemasters wants to please the fans who have such set-ups and I think they’ll do that just fine judging by my play time.

The prospect of a console version hasn’t been ruled out, but for now it’s going to grow according to what the community on PC wants. So if you’re a part of that, you can get involved right now. If not… well, DiRT 2 and 3 are still great. No, I know that isn’t the same.

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