Turbocharged Realism: The 7 Most Realistic Rally Games in 2024


Racing games have been mostly taken up by the tight city streets and asphalt tracks of the American race scene. Others have popped up to fill the gaps, though, with rally games focusing on off-road racing taking a solid foothold in more recent years.

From arcade rally racers to hardcore simulators, there are a few different options out there for hitting the countryside and seeing the sights instead of just going around the same curves ten times. We’ve gathered seven of the most realistic rally games available today for everyone from casual to hardcore racing enthusiasts. 

For anyone new to the sport, rally is really just a long-haul form of racing that traverses one continuous course. Rally cars will often go through offroad tracks, through the countryside, and even in smaller city streets for some of the more intense or big-name races.

There’s a lot of focus on drifting, and you’ll need to make sure your reaction time is up to the task if you’re going to get to the end. 

7. V-Rally 4

V-Rally 4

This series took a lap for a while in the 2010s but came back right before 2020 with V-Rally 4. It’s fun if you’re the type that really enjoys having different cars drive different ways because so much about the cars in this game can be customized.

Tire tread, brake sensitivity, clutch power, all kinds of things that a beginner rally fan will not know a thing about at first. That said, the tutorials are pretty intensive, and they’ll explain most of what you need to get into the game. 

The career mode is fun, and it progresses through the 22 tracks in the game with a good progression system. Unfortunately, multiplayer has declined quite a bit since the game’s release in 2019, but some races can still be found through Discord groups.

While accurate and realistic, V-Rally 4 is one of the most difficult on this list. Customization, mechanics, and fine-tuning cars are major parts of the gameplay. This is a game that if you just pick up and play, you’ll probably hate the first time because of how much prep goes into one race, just like the real thing.

Play on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch

6. WRC Generations

WRC Generations

World Rally Championship is the main professional league for Rally Racing, and Generations was the game for the 2022 season. It has tracks around the world, from every official WRC race held until last year. The mechanics are good, and the driving feels alright, but when compared to other good intros to the genre, the diversity of the game is a little lacking.

There is a career mode, and the car customization is okay, but for a WRC game, they should have been able to fit more than 37 cars into a game in 2022. Again, if you’re just starting out with the sport and want to get an intro to the real professional world of it, this is great, but won’t be the best one you could use. 

Still, it goes for the realism angle, going for a full sim experience in the career mode. It goes pretty in-depth, too, and requires both racing and managing an entire race team with it. Things can get a little hectic if you’re not careful.

Play on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch

5. DiRT Rally 2.0

DiRT Rally 2.0

The DiRT games are some of the premier rally games in the scene, and they have one hell of a legacy behind them. The series has evolved from the original Colin McRae Rally days to the hyper-stylized DiRT Rally 2.0.

Don’t take that wrong; the gameplay is incredibly realistic looking and handles great, but this game is about as loud as dirt rally racing gets in real life. 

It’s also partially why V-Rally 4 didn’t do so well on release because DiRT Rally 2.0 sideswiped it out of the way in the same year. Something about the mechanics and density, combined with the expansive tracks,, just makes the DiRT series click as the perfect pick-up-and-play rally racer.

It’s reminiscent of the old Burnout games but with a more cross-country feel. Damage to cars will affect drivability, and even the terrain reacts to wear and tear as more cars race across it. Definitely start here if it’s your first time with a rally sim–It’s a perfect gateway into the sport with fantastic graphics, tracks, and fifty cars to choose from. 

Play on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

4. EA Sports WRC

EA Sports WRC

The most recent addition to the WRC racing series, and this time actually taken over by the developers of the DiRT series. It shows, too, because they’ve brought the same great feel as DiRT with the license of everything WRC. This means they can take advantage of the real tracks throughout WRC history and some cars they didn’t have access to before. 

The one thing to keep in mind at the time of this writing is that this game is only about two weeks old. That said, it’s had a much more solid launch than other recent EA Sports titles.

Customization is good, and the graphics, while they look great and extremely realistic, are not nearly as breathtaking as you would expect for a next-gen-only game. Still, the career mode it offers, plus the immense size of the cross-country maps, gives you the feel of rally racing’s endurance side.

Seriously, the maps are incredibly massive, and the driving handles so well that you won’t mind replaying just to get a better look at everything.

Play on: PS5, Xbox Series S/X, PC

3. DiRT 5

DiRT 5

Time to spice it up a little, and this might just be the last entry in the DiRT series for the foreseeable future, so let’s give it the respect it deserves. Not only is the offroad racing element of rally the focus here, but it expands to different terrains as well. Ice racing is just one of the modes, with some being arena offroad races or rallycross variants. 

Right after DiRT Rally 2.0, this might be the most accessible game to pick up and play. An arcade-style mode means that you don’t have to worry about fine-tuning your cars. If you do enjoy that aspect of it, though, there’s the career mode that’s… surprisingly narrative-driven. It’s not something you see in a lot of racing games, but the writing is actually pretty good.

The best part of DiRT 5? It’s just fun. There’s no real learning curve, no need to know five billion different maneuvers, just plain fun to have racing on some really nice off-road tracks. Also, the engine and environment noise is very on point. Top-notch sound design.

Play on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

2. WRC 10

WRC 10

The best of the WRC games by the previous developer, WRC 10, even outlives Generations among similar fans now. Thanks to the rather low difficulty and learning curve, it’s also one of the easier to get into for fans new to rally.

The car mechanics can be incredibly in-depth for the career mode, but otherwise, the various others have a little something for everyone to try.

WRC 10 shines when it comes to the environments and track layouts, recreating real-life tracks nearly perfectly. What really puts this one in fans’ favor over the more recent Generations, though, is the addition of more classic rally car models. There’s a big emphasis on the history of the sport here, and it’s obvious the devs wanted to show where their love came from. 

The physics stands up really well, and the career mode focuses a lot on being in charge of your own mechanical changes. The logistics of the simulation take literally every small aspect that goes on in the background into account, and you’ll need to be on your toes to make it through every race.

Play on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch

1. Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

The end all be all of current rally games, as well as maybe racing games as a genre. Want cars? The base game has over 700. Tracks? The entire game is open world, with tracks spread out across an enormous fictionalized map of Mexico. You can race through ancient temples and active volcanoes! Just be careful because the graphics are so good you may go crashing into one. 

Seriously, the graphics are at the top of the selling points. Forza Horizon 5 is beautiful in every sense, from the shadows and light reflecting off the cars to the stars that light night drives through the countryside. The map is so big yet so intricately detailed you would think it’s real footage. It can’t be understated just how damn good this game looks.

It doesn’t skimp out either because the career mode is deeply intricate, while the other various arcade modes offer a ton of un-serious fun. The previously released expansion was a rally-focused add-on, adding even more cars and features.

For the discerning and sophisticated players, there’s also a Hot Wheels DLC available. Everything in the package almost makes Forza Horizon 5 the Cadillac of racing games, making it our number-one choice for the most realistic rally game in 2024.

Play on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

Final Words

Look, rally racing is one of those things that, if you never actually try it, you won’t get why people enjoy it. Driving on backroads, seeing how fast you can take the car without letting the terrain take you down, is one hell of a rush.

No matter which of these games you end up choosing, you’re going to get the realistic rally experience, but some are just a better joy ride than others.

About Richard Gamin 237 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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