While rallying will always be best behind the wheel of a real car, videogames have come a long way in the last two decades and have emulated the thrill of our favourite Motorsport pretty damn well. Looking back over the last few generations of gaming, we’ve cherry picked our favourite console Rally games. These are picked for their gameplay and how faithful they represented the sport at the time of release – not the graphics!
- Colin McRae Rally – PlayStation (1st January 2000)
Released way back in 98’, the first fully licensed rally simulation game to bear Colin McRae’s name was a pretty faithful recreation (or at least as faithful you could get on the PSone’s limited hardware) of rally driving. The diverse tracks, car choices, damage system and general presentation made the game a huge hit in the UK. It was obviously bested by its sequels including the superb Colin Mc Rae Rally 04 but we’ll save the true height of the series for later. A great indication of what was to come.
- Rallisport Challenge 2 – Xbox (4th May 2004)
After the success of Rallisport Challenge, the series seriously upped the ante with this awesome original Xbox exclusive back in 04’. With Xbox Live integration and more than 40 rally cars, it was an absolute blast to tread dirt online and tear up the game’s five different rally sports. Graphically it’s held up really well, especially if you have a TV that doesn’t hate old standard definition inputs. Rallisport Challenge 2 marked the perfect synthesis of arcade gameplay and rally simulation.
- DiRT 3 – PS3, Xbox 360 (24th May 2011)
Following the tragic death of Colin McRae, the DiRT franchise which had begun under his name in 2007 received a reinvention. This is by far the strongest racing simulator Codemasters have ever developed and an absolute treat for the eyes. The game features eye popping dynamic menus, superb car aesthetics and the best car handling of the series to date. The online social system which had been pretty well implemented in previous games was a bit messy here but it was still a lot of fun tearing up your friend’s best track times. It’s available for pocket change these days so grab a copy and see what the fuss is about.