Not that my opinion matters too terribly much, but now that Dirt Rally 2.0 is nearing the end of its support/content cycle, and with the GOTY edition coming out, here are my thoughts about the game having played since the beginning (pre-ordered for release). For reference, I am playing on Xbox One S with gamepad.
Content - With a good roster of cars and a nice mix of rallies, this game truly has a little bit of everything for rally fans. There are nice winding stages, there are quick, short blasts through the forest. I never really feel like I'm missing much if I want to just jump on and do a quick stage. I do miss the hill climb events from previous games, but I understand the licensing issues with say, Pikes Peak. Even though I'm not the biggest rallycross player, the rallycross action is fun and a nice change from constant rallying. The amount of DLC for this game has kept it fresh and it does make me want to come back and play more if I've stepped away from the game for a bit.
Physics - The cars do feel very much alive, the best of any DiRT title in my opinion. You do have to think about how the car will react when placing it on the road, can't really just point and shoot. There is a good weight to the cars that makes you feel the movement. It might be even better if I had a sim rig, but for how I play, this game works well for me.
Sounds - The game has some of the best car sounds and, in most cases, environment sounds from any racing game I've played. I love hearing the turbos whine and the exhaust pops, the sound of the tires fighting through the gravel. I recently purchased some decent gaming headphones, and that has really made me feel like I'm in the car with Phil Mills barking directions at me.
Scenery - Some of the scenery on this game is absolutely stunning. There was a dusk race I did in Germany, with the sun setting behind the hot air balloon, that would've made any racing fan and photographer weep. Blasting through the trees of Poland, bouncing off the rev limiter, is a joy. The recent addition of Scotland makes me think of some of the roads I've driven in real life (here in Ohio) that are my favourite places to drive, nice and winding through fields and trees. Argentina, if I'm pushing right on the edge, makes me sit on the edge of my seat because I feel like I could fall down a mountain at any time.
P.S. Good stuff: When the game is on point and really good, it is REALLY GOOD. I enjoy rallying on the game, and like I've said, the rallycross is fun to just fling cars around as well.
Not so good:
RAIN - The single, biggest gripe I have with this game is the rain/heavy rain. As someone who has played from initial release, there have been improvements made in the rain visuals which were much needed. That being said, just because the rain looks good, doesn't mean it needs to rain 95% of the time. For example, I do enjoy doing the rallycross events, but in my experience, apparently only rallycross events are held in the rain because the online events are ALMOST ALWAYS in the rain, and it's usually heavy rain. The new Scotland DLC, one of the first weekly events was 9 stages, of which 8 were some sort of rain. I'm sure it rains a lot in Scotland, but I live in Ohio and see enough rain, so PLEASE let the sunshine more in this game. Not every event has to be sunshine, it could be overcast or something, but PLEASE, in future titles, make the rain happen in say 5% of instances. Poland isn't much fun, in my opinion, when I'm going 100+ mph through a torrential downpour. If I'm racing in the hills of Spain, the rain shouldn't be falling all too frequently. I believe improvements have been made, but next title, make like every 5th event a rain event, not 95% of stages. Also, in free play, it'd be nice if we could get more weather options as it was in Dirt 4 or Dirt Rally. Just being in either dry or rain really doesn't give that much variety.
DLC - I know this has been stated previously, but when paid DLC is mostly content that was in a previous iteration of the game, that really doesn't leave a good taste in your consumer's mouth. I love the 2000cc class. So why did I have to pay to have the cars that were in previous titles? Finland was a much welcome addition to the game, but having to pay for it just so I can say "Well, the physics have improved" doesn't really do much. I will say that the cost of the DLC is good, they did not break the bank by any means, but paying twice for something that is, for most intents and purposes, very similar to what it was before doesn't sit well with me. Monte Carlo is fun in DR2.0, definitely feels more realistic, but it also felt good in Dirt Rally.... Another thing with the DLC, is that if it is content carried over from a previous title, some of it just lost character from the previous game. I don't know if they've really done this in the Panzerplatte, but not having the downed plane and some of the other more "military" aspects of the location really kind of made it not as exciting. The DirtFish school is missing the container/parking lot obstacles from Dirt 4, and that really made it not as exciting. As much as I love driving across an empty parking lot, while that may be more accurate, it really lost the spirit from the previous iteration of the location.
Inconsistent Pacenotes - Another fairly major gripe for me with this game is the quality of the pacenotes. I'm not a real rally driver, I've never done it in real life, but if Dirt Rally 2.0 Phil Mills was my real life co-driver, he would've got a gloved hand across his helmet. I'm sure my rally fans here would know when I refer to the rally drivers who yell at their co-driver when notes are wrong and/or the timing is off. That's how I feel with this game. I only have 90% confidence in the notes, and in rally, you need 110% confidence in the notes. I have the timing of the notes to almost the earliest, and it's not consistent. Sometimes it's three corners ahead. Sometimes I'm going through the hairpin when being told it's a 1-right. In Spain, it seems to me that there are "Don't cut" notes missing, through some of the quick winding parts, when there is a guardrail on the inside of the corner that I flip over from trying to cut. In my experience (and in Jon Armstrong's video about pace notes), the number of the corner USUALLY corresponds to the gear you can take it in. I don't feel confident in these pacenotes enough to really do that. There is a corner in Germany that used to be a "5-left, be brave" that, if I'm thinking of it correct, is a "2-left" in DR2.0, just because it is a slightly acute angle. Time is of the essence in rally, of course, and I did have to re-evaluate how I drive and adjusted my racing lines in some stages, but these notes just always seem a little off. I also miss the "acute hairpin," other "hairpin" calls, or even "square left/right" from previous titles, as the turns now seem to be more "1-left or 2-right". The hairpin calls seemed more accurate to me.
Summary: This game is good. I spend a good chunk of my time playing Dirt Rally 2.0 The majority of what I do is rally racing, and there is a good amount of content to keep me preoccupied. But, for every good thing in this game, there is something that just holds it back from truly being a "game of the year" for me. Part of it is just a "been there, done that" from the previous title that might have been slightly changed, but not enough to make me want to pay for it again (although I did buy most of the DLC). Another part of it is the frustration brought on by constantly driving in less-than-ideal conditions (again, not that everything has to be sunshine and rainbows), but it is nice when you can just see out of the windscreen a blue sky. I know co-drivers are going to have different styles, but how things are in Dirt Rally 2.0 doesn't make me always feel confident in approaching the rally stage. Although I've learned how to drive a bit better, I should also be able to drive well because I have confidence in the calls in my ear. There's a lot of good stuff in this game, but now that the title is nearing completion, it's been a rough (I'll say it, DiRT-y) road to get here, and it's not quite the shining example of a great rally sim that it could be. Part of it is me, part of it is the limitations of my gaming system, part of it is just the game... Catch y'all in the leaderboards. :)