This month’s Humble Monthly Bundle includes Dirt: Rally and Inside, both great games worth much more than the 12$ they ask for the cancel-anytime subscription. I saw it and, given my history with racing games and driving games in general, it was a proposition I couldn’t pass up.
The Career mode is perhaps the best way to experience the game for somebody new to simulation driving, as it gates away the more powerful (and thus harder to handle while going fast) cars behind a simple money check, while also allowing the driver to familiarize themselves with the tracks.
You get to enter a Rally, Rallycross or Hillclimb championship and are taken across all the events in it. At the end, according to your placement in the board you can get promoted or demoted to a different league. Obviously, the higher the league, the better the competition. I’ve found it to function as a great way to measure my own progress as I learn while also feeling like I’m suceeding.
Furthermore, in the career mode there is one minor management component which involves hiring engineers who will be in charge of repairing your car throughout each event. Your team leader serves as a multiplier to the other, hireable engineers’ skill, which increases the more distance you drive. This component is mostly relevant when there is damage to repair to the car, as the team’s skill will dictate how long it takes to repair a given ammount of damage to the different components.
That said, there is a small online component to the game. There are daily and weekly stages in which you can compete against the online community, ranking your results against theirs. There are also leagues one can create and join if you wish to compete against your friends or comunity. It is all asynchronous given the nature of the sport. There is also multiplayer for the Rallycross modality, which does involve everybody being present at the same time, but personally I don’t enjoy it.
In terms of the driving, it behaves pretty much like I expect it to. It has aids for those who might want them or need them, along with some costumization of the experience. I’ve been enjoying it, slipping into that headspace where the only things in my mind are the road, the car and the co-pilot saying the pacenotes. I do wish that I could select another co-pilot, even if only for the sake of variety in the voice. I wonder what it will be like listening to his voice thrity, fourty hours in.