DiRT Rally

A couple of weeks ago you could get Codemaster's Dirt Rally for free by subscribing to the Humble Store's newsletter. Now you can the 2015 racing game for free simply by downloading it from Steam before September 16. 

Once you do, it's yours to keep forever.

That's hell of a deal for just clicking your mouse a few times. In our review we called it "the best rally game in years." Steam reviews—over 20,000 of them—are 87% positive, so we're not the only ones who enjoyed it. Heck, it even has full Oculus VR support. Not bad for a game that's discounted 100%.

Thanks, VG247.

DiRT Rally

For the next two days, Dirt Rally is available for free from the Humble Store.

All you need to do is sign up to the Humble newsletter and a copy of the racer will be added to your account for absolutely nothing. Easy-peasy. Then, you can start hurtling your way along the tight and treacherous roads of over 70 rally stages or rallycross events.

As far as freebies go it's a pretty good one. Back in 2016, the console version was on the receiving end of a Eurogamer recommendation, with Simon calling it "one of the most engaging and dramatic representations of the motorsport yet".

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DiRT Rally

"The stages look incredible", we wrote in our Dirt Rally review back in 2015. "Dust plumes out from under your car as drones buzz through clear skies. Ice patches shimmer as you hammer past snow-laden trees, picking out the road through fog. Hot air balloons rest as you slide a 1970s escort around a hay bale. Mud flings into the air as you tumble a Lancia Delta down a cliff towards a pond. Watching replays are a joy and irresistible if you've had a decent run, made all the better by respectable engine noise and chattering pace notes." Players agree, and it's sitting on a Mostly Positive rating on Steam.

Until September 1 at 10am Pacific Time, or until supplies last, you can get a free Steam key for Dirt Rally by subscribing to the Humble Bundle newsletter. 

DiRT Rally - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

You love cars? You love mud? Your twin desires combine in Dirt Rally, the 2015 Codemasters race ’em up which is currently free for keepsies on the Humble Store. They launched their ‘End Of Summer Sale’ today and are slinging keys around (Steam, not car) to tempt you into taking a look. Codies did launch Dirt Rally 2 earlier this year but that one’s 45, while this is free. Go on, get in. I won’t tell your grandma you love muddy cars more than her.

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DiRT Rally

Most people don’t know how it feels to flick the back end of a rally car out on the approach to a blind turn, rain pelting down on the mud before them while someone shouts coded directions at them. It’s just not the sort of thing you find yourself doing, is it? In a game like Dirt Rally 2.0, then, a greater level of abstract thought is required to assess its ‘simulation’ cred than in, say, Project Cars 2

You might not have sent a McLaren P1 up Eau Rouge in your motoring life, but you know how a road car feels on a road. What do the snarling Group B rally cars feel like on a loose surface? Very few people know, and they’re probably much too busy to tell you about it in any great detail. That’s why Dirt Rally 2.0 exists.

Since its earliest outings under the Colin McRae banner, Codemasters’ rally series has traded on ‘feeling’ just right. The way its cars squirm and shift through corners; the way you can keep them just about under control while they power through turns at strange, unnatural angles—it’s always felt instinctively right. Never has that been more true than in the Midlands studio’s latest offroad proposition—Dirt Rally 2.0 tells you how it feels to be a professional rally driver with such fearsome assertiveness that you simply believe it. No questions asked. 

How does it feel, exactly? A bit like the Normandy beach landings, but with pace notes. A rally stage is an assault on every sense (alright, perhaps not taste or smell if we’re being pedantic), rattling the cockpit camera violently while an audio onslaught of complicated but crucially important pacenotes hits you, whether you’re ready for them or not. Force feedback surges through your wheel, fizzing your brain as though you’ve licked a battery, and whether using a wheel (preferable) or pad, vehicles behave just as you want them to—barely tameable, occasionally balletic in their powerslides, always convincing. This was broadly true of its predecessor—but in truth, Dirt Rally never felt anything like as scary or as taxing.

The sequel ramps up the visual fidelity where it counts, using weather effects and time of day to create real drama. Standing water in between muddy tyre tracks glints under your headlights, dust kicks up around your scrabbling wheels, and each of the six rally locations—New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia and the USA—asserts its visual identity instantly, such is the level of environmental detail. It’s an incredibly handsome game, and one that doesn’t tax a humble GTX 1070 at max settings. 

Back from the venerated spec sheets of Codemasters’ GRID series is a team management aspect which sees you hiring staff, purchasing vehicles and setting liveries as you decide which event to enter next—a rally or a rallycross stage. Beyond providing a sense of structure to the content that was lacking slightly in the last entry, this serves as a timely reminder of what a brilliant aspect this is in any driving game. Seriously—why didn’t more games rip off Race Driver: GRID?

I digress. This is, as if you didn’t know, the official game of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship, which means eight licensed tracks spanning the globe and meticulous event recreation across several series. Rallycross featured in Dirt Rally 2.0’s predecessor too, so its inclusion here doesn’t represent a leap forwards but instead a quiet fleshing out of the 2015 game’s skeleton. 

As and when you do decide to dedicate some time to rallycross—several cars battling for the victory on the same mixed-surface track, for the uninitiated—a wholly different set of skills are called upon than you’ve been honing with your co-driver over in rally events. Rather than reactive, isolated bursts of perfection, rallycross has you honing lines and lap times. It’s iteration and confrontation—and more qualifying rounds than seems strictly necessary, in all honesty. But that’s not the game’s fault. 

What these two deceptively different disciplines have in common in Dirt Rally 2.0 is that for the first few hours, you’ll win them incredibly easily. That’s not intended as a humblebrag: the AI really is that forgiving. Stack it even twice or three times on a single stage, and you might still expect to be towards the top of the classification with 20 seconds of penalties. Take an extra Joker lap—a longer layout of the circuit—by accident, and victory is by no means ruled out. 

Speaking personally, that forgiving AI led to a sensation of ‘failing upwards’ as I took win after win without truly mastering either car or track. It’s probably intended as a means to make Dirt Rally 2.0 more accessible than its forefather, but I’m not sure it quite works. Perhaps a rally school, similar to the one prefacing the famously formidable Richard Burns Rally might have been a more effective solution. Stiffer competition awaits online of course via custom championships, and it’s here that Dirt Rally 2.0’s long-term appeal lies. A talented community of modders and racers crystallised around the previous game, and there’s every bit as much incentive for it to do so once more here.

Because although this isn’t a complete overhaul of the last Dirt Rally, it does feel like progress. Certainly progress in the visuals, which look more than just four years down the line in this game. Progress in the level of immersion, thanks to tiny touches like driving beyond the finish line to the steward after each stage. And certainly progress in a sense of overarching structure to singleplayer racing, thanks to the team management conceit.

The only area it feels lacking in beyond that tepid AI is licensing—that Rallycross deal’s great and everything, but never has a game more richly deserved the WRC license than this one. Modders will work their magic on car liveries in that regard, but with the recognisable cars and names this might have been the vehicle to bring new fans to rallying. 

DiRT Rally - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Mud! Mud! Glorious mud! Nothing quite like it for cooling the petrol. Always happy to wallow in the hollow, Dirt developers Codemasters today confirmed a return to the sim-ish side of their mucky racing series, announcing Dirt Rally 2 for launch in February 2019. Or ‘DiRT Rally 2.0’, if you’re the daft gits in charge of naming these things. Here, come watch the announcement trailer for some grubby cars.

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DiRT Rally

Racing fans, listen up: Dirt Rally is just $10 right now. That's a heck of a deal, and the lowest ever price for one of the best rally games you'll ever play. But put your foot down, because the deal only lasts until 10am Monday PT/1pm EST/6pm GMT.

You can customise the difficulty and realism of the game to your heart's content, with a whole menu of assists to dial up and down. If you're a rally newbie, the game will do some of the hard work for you, but enthusiasts can turn everything off for a much more challenging race that punishes even slight mistakes. Prepare to skid out around corners over and over again.

Its tracks and cars are authentic, too: it has more than 40 vehicles to choose from, more than 60 stages, and lots of officially licensed World Rallycross content. You'll fly through a number of game modes, and the presentation of the career-style mode really makes you feel like a proper rally driver.

You can pick up a Steam key for $10 at Chrono.gg. As I said, it's a historic low price, and the game is more than $50 on most stores at the moment. Grab it while you have a chance.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.

Project CARS - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Byrne)

Oculus Rift

If you saw our heads-up about the HTC Vive Black Friday deal earlier this week (to recap, you get a Vive, Fallout 4 VR, Doom VFR and a free deluxe audio strap and more for 599 starting from tomorrow), then you’ll be pleased to know that the Oculus Rift is also being discounted for Black Friday – starting TODAY, in fact. It’s almost as if they knew…

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The Crew™ - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

We’ve hit the mid-point of the week and the see-saw of time is about to tip forward and hurtle us towards the weekend at an alarming rate. Perhaps more ominously, we will also be hurtling towards the litany of PC gaming Black Friday deals that are headed our way in a fortnight’s time.

Before then, however, the deals aren’t slowing down one bit and there’s another big batch of digital deals to check out right here, right now. Everything from this week’s release of Nioh to Cities Skylines and even the absolute gem that is Jagged Alliance 2 is represented across a variety of sites, so consider this a convenient mid-week digital deals roundup if you like. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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DiRT Rally - Stgx
DiRT Rally Free Weekend!

Play for free until Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time Offer ends Monday at 10am Pacific Time
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