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The Perfect Disclaimer

So, how do we determine the perfect game when perfect doesn’t exist? As a retro gamer (read old), I grew up reading magazines when they were affordable and provided the latest news in the gaming world.

A review score back then really did tip the scales as these were written by qualified journalists who we assumed were experts at games and instilled a sense of trust in their judgement. 

Despite their knowledge and expertise, even the top games were just shy of getting a perfect score for some trivial reason, or more likely; their editors requested that they don’t hand out too many top scores as it encourages the developers to try harder. 

Into the sunset… Source: PR

An entirely made up opinion with no evidence, may I add.

Famitsu magazine is notorious for handing out a few top scores each year, and even then, you might disagree with their opinion. Well, this lengthy disclaimer is to justify a perfect score being awarded to Art of Rally.

Art of Rally has one of the best UI’s I’ve seen in a game and with the added features of a photo mode where you can capture some awe-inspiring ‘poses’ is something else. If you’re a car fan, pulling up in your Lancia next to some sakura and taking a low angled shot with just the right amount of filters produces some fantastic results, and it’s not just the overused vignette you’ll see on Instagram.

Sure, photo modes don’t make the game, and I seldom use these features, but this game is an experience. It’s easily on par with one of my favourite games, Lonely Mountains Downhill with the same nuanced low-poly visuals, and, snobby terminology – mise-en-scène.

Art Of Rally Review Summary

Let’s cut to the chase: Art of Rally is stunning on every level. From the insights of famous championship vehicles to the superb soundtrack, everything about the presentation is a work of art. Most importantly, once you get the hang of it, the gameplay is fantastic and hands down one of the best racing titles I’ve played.

The Review

Art of Rally


Let’s cut to the chase: Art of Rally is stunning on every level. From the insights of famous championship vehicles to the superb soundtrack, everything about the presentation is a work of art. Most importantly, once you get the hang of it, the gameplay is fantastic and hands down one of the best racing titles I’ve played.

DiRT Rally 2.0

  • Разработчик: Codemasters
  • Дата выхода: 26 февраля 2019

Прокатиться на Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X или Chevrolet Camaro GTR4, любуясь красотами Аргентины, Испании, Австралии или Новой Зеландии можно в спорной, но качественной DiRT Rally 2.0.

Знатоки жанра отмечают сложность трасс: какие-то из них узкие, полные препятствий в виде обрывов или деревьев. А другие — полны приключений, вроде зарослей в Новой Зеландии или ухабистой проселочной дороги в Польше. К тому же, если вам приходится потеть 10-12 минут, пытаясь пройти все испытания, приготовленные за поворотами, хороший результат получится не с первой попытки.

Как и в первой части, игрок может настроить автомобиль «под себя», учитывая характеристики окружающей среды на предстоящей гонке. Есть возможность собрать и развить собственную команду, а также прокатиться по официальным трассам ралли FIA — Барселона, Монталегре, Метте, Труа-Ривьер, Сильверстоун и другие.

Control Woes

Controls are pretty standard in Art of Rally, with your brakes and handbrake playing a vital role in properly executing a drift. Although the game allows for playing on a keyboard (and is simple enough to do so compared to other racing titles), I generally prefer to use a DualShock 4 controller with racing games. Honestly, though, both options took quite a bit of getting used to. Becoming an expert driver in Art of Rally is no joke, requiring a ton of time and patience to get a handle on the mechanics necessary for drifting around each tracks’ many curves. While I generally expect rally racers to have a looser control scheme than a non-rally racer, Art of Rally felt extra loose, requiring me to put my drift strategy into action far earlier than what felt natural given what my vehicle was doing (speed, angle, etc.).

Even if I did manage to successfully navigate a curve, if I hit that same curve again using the same sort of strategy, there was a decent chance that I would still end up drifting right off of the track. This was primarily an issue when I was trying to get faster times in the game’s time trial mode, which features its own online leaderboard. Some of the issue can be alleviated by adjusting the vehicle control settings, but the overall inconsistency was pretty exhausting. However, after you get over the game’s initial (albeit large) learning curve, Art of Rally becomes pretty enjoyable.

View From The Top

The thing that sets Art of Rally apart from the other racing titles that recently released is its top-down perspective. Unlike typical racers, instead of driving from a perspective from behind or inside of the car, you’ll be hovering above your vehicle like a drone, navigating the winding curves of each course. In addition, whereas Inertial Drift showcased cel shaded animation and WRC 9 featured realistic graphics, Art of Rally is very minimalistic in its art design.

A handful of colors accompany the minimalistic courses and MicroMachines-like vehicles. Trees and sparse structures line the tracks, while random groups of stick-figure fans watch you zoom past them (seriously, they are literally just single, long sticks). The soundtrack — made up of mostly chill-vibe synthwave — fits the aesthetic perfectly. I often found myself zoning out as I familiarized myself with each new track in the game’s free roam mode. That is, until I found myself wrapping my car around a tree or flying into a ditch — an occurrence that happened more than I would like to admit.

Art of Rally Review – PC via Steam

While I was excited to play the game, as with most titles, there weren’t too many expectations. Besides, the hype hasn’t been huge and when you’re potentially competing with the likes of WRC 9 or Hotshot Racing, being able to stand out is challenging.

Art of Rally is a coffee table book of rallying. It’s one of those mediums that knows its subject, passionate, and a master of using white space. On the contrary, it doesn’t have that pomposity you might associate with the art world – this is very much a title for gamers, it just so happens that it’s quite the modern masterpiece.


If you can think of a car from the illustrious days of rally driving, it’s most likely there, captured in its immortal glory with the same engine sounds as its real-life counterpart. This game isn’t about realism, so if you’re looking for a style that will blow you away, check out WRC 9.

Sakura. Source: PR

With the presentation here, it reminded me of an arty Super Skidmarks when comparing the car models. They’re pretty basic, but elegant at the same time, and taking out the various vehicles with unofficial names almost immediately replicates what they’re based on.

Fuel Of Potential

Successfully drifting around a big curve is incredibly satisfying. Stringing together serpentining combos of weaving drifts is even more satisfying, and were instances that reminded me of playing these types of games in the arcade with an actual wheel. Weather and track obstacles add to the challenge, with plenty of replayability coming with Art of Rally’s 50+ rally cars that range from the 60s, 70s, 80s, Group B, S, A, along with the 60 rally stages inspired by real-life tracks from Finland, Sardinia, Norway, Japan, and Germany. Daily and weekly challenges are also available if you’re looking to compete against other players online.

For me, though, the charm of Art of Rally is in its free roam mode, especially after unlocking all of the vehicles and tracks. Zooming around the game’s colorful, beautifully designed environments with the easy tunes of the soundtrack is a surprisingly great way for me to zone out after a stressful day. If the controls, especially for a hand-held controller, can be tightened up even just a little bit, Art of Rally could become a title that I play every day — whether it be during a warm-up session before a night of gaming, or as a way to close out a long day.

A PC copy of Art of Rally was provided to TheGamer for this review. Art of Rally is available now for PC.

NEXT: Spider-Man And Venom Absolute Carnage Heroclix Available Now

Can’t Handle It

That said, expecting to get in a Mini and tear up the tracks isn’t as easy as it sounds. Art of Rally is between arcade and semi-simulator. Many are likely to disagree with that, but it has the simplicity of the arcade, but to really master it and be able to set enviable times, you need to be able to apply the acceleration at the right time, take corners effortlessly and know how your car handles inside out.

There are plenty of options such as four difficulty levels and a damage indicator, meaning you can punch above your weight while you learn the ropes, but it’s recommended to keep to the default. That said, lowering the damage and driving while entirely on fire was brilliant!

The tracks are varied, and you can drive on practice courses, Finland, Japan – everywhere imaginable in the sport, and while they don’t have the realistic aesthetics as others in the genre, it’s almost like a sight-seeing tour – more so when you park up to take a photo.

Art of Rally features one of the best photo modes where you can capture the action on the fly. While the timer stops and you’re not in motion, getting sidetracked soon takes you out of the game and you’ll find that this is quite the distraction. The depths of field option is very much indulgent.

Game Modes and Viewpoints

But we’re here to set the best times, and there’s plenty on offer in the game to hone your skills. The modes include:

  • Career
  • Time attack
  • Custom rally
  • Online events
  • Free roam

If it weren’t for the fact that there’s a pile of games sitting on my SD cards and hard drives, I’d be playing Art of Rally more.

The almighty Beemer. Source: PR

My biggest criticism would be the handling. But that’s down to the game mechanics and the onus on the player. It can be quite deceiving as Art of Rally looks so simple in its design, you’d think that you could glide around the corners without consequences and perhaps use a nitro boost.

Fortunately, there aren’t any nitros in the game, but you can glide around the corners effortlessly with practice, and it’s not a big ask. My reservations were with the handling as mentioned earlier – expecting the Mini to be a good entry-level car.

Now, as I delve a bit deeper, I do recall something I didn’t like, and that’s the camera angles. They’re all very good and complement the presentation very well, but when it comes to gameplay, I’ve always been a first-person driver, and this isn’t an option.

If the game were to get updates, that would be my immediate request. Like mentioned in other reviews, switching to a first-person view improves my driving, and I’m sure there must be others who feel the same way. Nevertheless, it’s a preference thing, and when you get the hang of the angles, you can get accustomed to the viewpoint.

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