How realistic is Dirt Rally? This rally driver finds out

Put a rally driver in a virtual environment, and the results can be surprisingly realistic

‘Dirt Rally is difficult, immersive, beautiful, challenging, entertaining, frustrating, shocking and a whole lot of fun if you’re prepared to put the time into mastering it.’

That’s how we summarised Codemasters’ latest rally game after playing it back in December. But how realistic is it really?

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Naturally, you don’t get the physical punishment of driving a real vehicle. But if you’ve ever doubted how authentic videogames have become, just watch this footage uploaded by YouTube user DVMSteve of former Australian Junior National Rally Champion, Will Orders, tackling a Welsh stage in the game.

With a three-screen setup to improve peripheral vision, and the steering wheel and pedals embellished with a physical handbrake handle, watching Orders’ inputs is like watching real in-car footage.

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Orders dances the car between corners with the same deft fluidity he would a real car. He’s precise too – important in a game that punishes the slightest mistakes with catastrophic barrel rolls.

evo has covered the world of racing videogames since the very first issue of the magazine – where we interviewed Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the Gran Turismo franchise.

Racers have come on immeasurably since then – to the point the next GT game will include global, FIA-ratified competition – and Dirt Rally is among the best on sale today. It won’t ever replace the sensation of driving a real vehicle, but our living rooms have certainly never been so exciting.

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