Dakar Desert Rally: Everything you need to know

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Dakar Desert Rally

Dakar Desert Rally was announced back in December. Since then, more details have emerged about the new officially licensed Dakar Rally game.

The Dakar Rally is one of the most challenging and gruelling off-road races in the world. Every year, brave drivers (known as pilots in the world of Dakar) race across thousands of miles of treacherous terrain in a variety of vehicles from bikes to trucks.

The endurance event used to take place between Paris and Dakar back when it was known as the Paris–Dakar Rally before the event moved to South America in 2009. Since 2020, the Dakar Rally is held in the sandy dunes of Saudi Arabia.

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But aside from a couple of Paris Dakar Rally PS2 games and the disappointing Dakar 18, the world-famous Dakar Rally is rarely represented in racing games. This will finally change when Dakar Desert Rally launches later this year.

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Dakar Desert Rally coming to PC and consoles this October

Dakar Desert Rally
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Developed by Portuguese studio Saber Interactive Porto, Dakar Desert Rally is the sequel to Dakar 18. With a massive open world, over 30 stages, and officially licensed pilots, teams, and vehicles, it’s shaping up to be the most authentic Dakar Rally game ever.

Billed as the “biggest open world racing game ever,” Dakar Desert Rally is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox this October. Here’s everything you need to know about Dakar Desert Rally.

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Massive open world

Dakar Desert Rally
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Dakar Desert Rally is set in a sprawling open-world version of Saudi Arabia with thousands of square kilometres to explore. You'll conquer varied terrain from sand and snow to rocks and mud. Like the real-life Dakar Rally, it’s a test of survival: your car can break down and finding the fastest route depends on your navigation skills.

Adding to the challenge is a full day-night cycle and dynamic weather system. One minute you could be battling a blinding sandstorm, the next you could be racing in heavy rain and lightning storms.

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Over 150 vehicles

Dakar Desert Rally
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Dakar Desert Rally boasts a huge roster of cars, bikes, trucks, quads, and SSVs from renowned manufacturers such as Ford, Nissan, and Honda. In total, there are five classes and over 150 officially licensed Dakar vehicles.

You can race for one of the official Dakar Rally Teams or create your own custom team. A comprehensive editor that lets you edit your vehicle's body colour, add decals, and customise your pilot’s racing overalls and helmet. 

Gameplay trailer

Dakar 18 was criticised for its punishing difficulty level. In response, Dakar Desert Rally can be customised to suit your play style, whether you want it to be a pick-up-and play arcade-style racer or an authentic simulation.

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A recent gameplay overview trailer outlined the game modes available in Dakar Desert Rally. Switching to Sport mode adds yellow waypoint beacons and a racing line highlighting the route. Sport mode also lowers repair costs, reduces the AI speed, and adds autosaves at each waypoint. This setting will make Dakar Desert Rally more approachable and suitable for casual players.

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If you want the full Dakar experience, the Professional and Simulation modes remove the beacons, forcing you to rely on your navigator and refer to a roadbook like the real-life Dakar pilots.

Professional mode enables respawns, waypoint autosaves, and medium repair costs if you get into trouble.

In the highest Simulation difficulty level, repositioning is removed, repair costs are high, and saving is disabled during races for the ultimate challenge.

Roadbook editor

Dakar Desert Rally track editor
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One of the most surprising new features in Dakar Desert Rally is a track editor. The game’s custom roadbook editor allows you to create your own custom rally stages, change the climate, and add waypoints.

Created tracks can then be uploaded online and shared with other players to tackle.

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Release date and platforms

Dakar Desert Rally launches on 4 October for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

It will be going head-to-head with WRC Generations, another rally racer launching a week later on 13 October.

Pre-order bonus

Dakar Desert Rally pre-order bonus
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Dakar Desert Rally can be pre-ordered on the game’s official website as well as digital stores and retailers.

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As an exclusive bonus, pre-ordering Dakar Desert Rally on any platform unlocks the Audi RS Q e-tron, which became the first electric vehicle to win a desert rally at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Outside the single-player campaign, online multiplayer is supported for up to four players.

Deluxe Edition

Dakar Desert Rally Deluxe Edition
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A Deluxe Edition is also available, which includes the full game and a Season Pass that unlocks the DAF Truck Turbo-Twin and Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 on day one.

Five upcoming DLC packs are also included in the Season Pass, adding a new map, new vehicles, and two new rally events.