The Dirt Rally Learning Curve It's steep like a hairpin-right over crest into right-1 be brave.
It's steep like a hairpin-right over crest into right-1 be brave.
I've put in 100+ hours into Dirt Rally and I am still in the Clubman series getting mid-field results at best. That means that I am no authority on how to play the game. If that means you don't want to read this, then I would probably agree it's not worth your time.
What I do want to talk about, however, is how on earth do you overcome the insane learning curve of this game and start to achieve some success.
Use the cockpit view
One thing I've noticed about Codemaster's games in particular is that the driving experience is much better sitting inside the car. The chase camera seems to swing around too much, which, at least for me, causing me to loose accuracy even though I can technically see more of the course. Turn-in is more sharp and predictable in the cockpit view.
Always listen to your co-driver
If this isn't the most obvious statement in this article, the co-driver is your greatest asset for going faster. The courses are so complex it would be nearly impossible to memorize them as you would a racing circuit. The trouble I've needed to overcome though, is not just listening to my co-driver's instructions, but maintaining focus on them for the entire duration of the course. The more I pay attention to the signals, the better I can get in the zone and the faster I find myself going.
It's so counter-intuitive, but in racing (especially in rally racing) you need to slow down to go faster. It's about taking the shortest route through the course as quickly as you can, and not about going as fast as you can. This means that you need to plan your corners, prepare, and take them at the optimal speed, not the fastest speed.
In rally racing in particular, you need to finish the stage. That means that if you slow down, you gain the ability to actually finish without crashing. Finishing mid-field is better than crashing and finishing last. Also, when you go off track in Dirt Rally, you get a time penalty of anywhere from 10-15 seconds to 'get your car back on track'. If you go slower and avoid going off track, you effectively gain time by not having to be reset.
Learn to drive manual
This one cannot be over-stated. Learning to embrace driving manually (even with a controller) can gain you so much experience. You start having to listen to the sound of the engine in order to know when to shift, this puts you more in tune with the car and lets you better get in the zone. Also, by manually downshifting, you can control the car's de-acceleration and not have to rely solely on the brakes to slow you down before a corner. There's many times where you don't even need to brake, and you can just let the engine slow you down.