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WRC vs Dirt Rally – A Comparison For Beginners

WRC vs Dirt Rally – A Comparison For Beginners

, by Mark Verwoert, 5 min reading time

In the world of online rallying, two names are legendary: WRC and Dirt Rally. I will compare WRC vs Dirt Rally for you.

WRC vs Dirt Rally in numbers

Before we talk specifics, let's add some perspective by running the numbers for WRC and Dirt Rally. This will give us a starting point from where we can discuss the difference further.

WRC is the official video game of the World Rally Championship, and it is known for its realistic physics and challenging gameplay. Dirt Rally is a more arcade-style rally game, but it is still considered to be a simulation game. Both games feature a large number of cars and tracks, as well as a variety of game modes.

Game EA Sports WRC (2023) Dirt Rally 2.0 (2019)
Developer Codemasters Codemasters
Publisher EA Codemasters
Number of cars 78 82
Number of tracks 17 countries 200 stages 10 countries 169 stages
Physics More realistic More arcade
Difficulty Hard Medium

Here is a more detailed comparison of the two games

  • Physics: WRC is known for its realistic physics, which can be very challenging to master. Dirt Rally is not as realistic, but its physics are still considered to be very good.
  • Graphics: Both WRC and Dirt Rally have high-quality graphics. WRC is slightly more realistic, but Dirt Rally is still very impressive.
  • Difficulty: WRC is a very difficult game, even for experienced racers. Dirt Rally is more accessible, but it still manages to challenge you.
  • Gameplay: WRC used to be a traditional rally game, with a focus on completing stages in the fastest time possible. And Dirt Rally features a wider variety of gameplay modes, including rallycross, time trials, and hill climbs. However, with the release of WRC 2023, all of that changed. WRC introduced an arsenal of game modes like the ones mentioned before.

Additional statistics about WRC and Dirt Rally

  • WRC has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
  • Dirt Rally has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
  • WRC has a Metacritic score of 80.
  • Dirt Rally has a Metacritic score of 84.

Overall, WRC is a more realistic and challenging rally game, while Dirt Rally is a more accessible and arcade-style game. Both games are excellent choices for fans of rally racing.

WRC heading the right direction

For WRC, their big fanbase adds more responsibility to create better and better games. The audience tends to be more critical as they are more hardcore about rallying. Additionally, the steep pricing creates even more pressure for the game to be significantly better than the previous versions. Overall, Codemasters made the right step with WRC 2023 being more diversified in game modes, but still breath that hardcore rallying feeling. The physics made a huge improvement on the tarmac, as it previously felt just not right when you moved from dirt roads to tarmac roads. WRC 2023 has received a lot of positive feedback from large streamers and enthusiasts like Jimmy Broadbent.

Dirt Rally - with the face in the dirt?

For Dirt Rally, the acquisition of the WRC license by EA introduced a challenge. The Dirt Rally development has been dropped since EA got the WRC license. However, there is no confirmation that Dirt Rally is permanently shut down. To me, it does indicate that EA rather puts its focus on the WRC game. And that at least makes one worry.

Dirt Rally is known for its game modes and diversity in comparison to WRC. However, as mentioned before, the latest WRC has changed all of that by introducing a range of game modes.It will be a challenge for Codemasters to combine the worlds of Dirt Rally and WRC because of the difference in accessibility.

Time will tell if this was the right move for rally fans. From a commercial perspective, it makes sense what EA did to bring WRC and Dirt together and create a monopoly. The question is if the lack of competition will create a problem similar to EA's FIFA. 

Conclusion

Overall, both games are amazing to play and a lot of fun for sim racers and rally enthusiasts alike. It's a matter of preference if you want to choose between these two titans. WRC is more realistic and challenging than Dirt Rally. Dirt Rally has a slightly more arcade vibe that makes it more accessible to beginners, but still manages to challenge you plenty.

In the end, it isn't a crazy idea to just buy them both and enjoy their different strengths. However, if you want to buy only one of them, identify what kind of sim rally driver you are (die-hard or slightly more casual) and choose on that basis. Both games are excellent and there isn't a bad choice to be made. Have fun drifting through the stages!

P.S. As WRC 2023 is quite new, I also wrote a beginner introduction on the new WRC game.

P.P.S. If you're looking for shifters and handbrakes for your rally setup, you can check out our shifter and handbrake guide that compares every reputable product on the market in a simple comparison table. We also sell both shifters and handbrakes from various manufacturers - check that out if you are looking into buying one.


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We aim to create a comprehensive repository to help you make your sim racing gear decisions. Check out some of our other detailed articles:

> A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.

> Best Sim Racing Cockpits: This article recommends the top ten cockpits for all budgets and compares ~70% of all the cockpits on the market in a simple table.

> The Wheel Base Guide: A comparison of every single wheel base on the market. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables. We also have an article that analyses the value of entry-level direct drives, and one that recommends Xbox wheel bases.

> The Steering Wheel Guide: See types of wheels and the other considerations when buying one. We also have one that ranks the 12 Best F1 Steering Wheels.

> The Wheel Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.

> The Shifter and Handbrake Guide: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market.

> The Pedal Guide: A comparison of all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market.

> How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.

We've started a series of posts where we spotlight different brands. To start off with, check out our spotlight on Moza Racing, and our spotlight on Simons Gaming Solutions, an up-and-coming manufacturer.

We also publish sim related news, like analysing the value of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, reviewing the Fanatec QR2 or looking at the latest WRC updates. You can also find articles about us, like this article about our visit to the recent ADAC Sim Racing Expo.

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