Dirt Rally 2.0 is focused on rallying and rallycross. Players compete in timed stage events on tarmac and off-road terrain in varying weather conditions. The game features stages in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, and the United States. Codemasters also announced plans to expand the game through the release of downloadable content and released stages in Finland, Germany, Greece, Monte Carlo, Sweden, and Wales. These stages are remastered versions of the stages included in the original Dirt Rally. There is also a rallycross mode with World RallyCross Supercars and eight circuits from the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Dirt Rally 2.0 lets players choose between a total of fifty cars, including the aforementioned World Rallycross Supercars, historic rally cars from the 1960s through the 1980s, Groups A, B, and R rally cars, and modern rally cars from the 1990s to the late 2010s. This was later expanded to thirteen locations through downloadable content. Every car can have its setup adjusted before a race.
The game also features a new weather modeling system where changes in the weather affect the relative level of grip and require players to take a more nuanced approach to drive. The weather also affects visibility in stages. The surface of the stages is also subject to degradation; as more cars pass over a stage, more than 100 layers ensure that the road surface will start to shift and break up, affecting grip levels. The gameplay, therefore, demands maximum concentration, especially as some stages can take more than ten minutes to complete. There is no rewind function and damages not only have a visual but also mechanical effect, with it being possible to sustain “terminal damage”, which automatically ends whatever race the car is in as a DNF.
The “My Team” mode introduced in Dirt 4 is expanded upon, requiring players to hire specialist engineers to maintain the car. However, other elements such as customizing liveries, signing sponsors, and expanding team facilities were removed. Damage sustained during a rally carries over from event to event. Players are also able to make a wider range of strategic choices, such as tire compounds; softer tires offer more grip but wear out faster, while harder tires are more durable but produce slower stage times. Codemasters is planning to introduce a more comprehensive tutorial for setting up the car to make the process more accessible for newcomers, amateurs, and players who have been deterred from exploring setup options in the past.
The release of downloadable content follows a fortnightly schedule and includes the return of rally locations from the first game, as well as cars such as the Škoda Fabia and BMW M1. The final DLC package was announced in January 2020 and is titled “Colin McRae: Flat Out”. It features a new location in Perth and Kinross in Scotland, cars driven by Colin McRae, and a scenario mode where players re-enact moments from McRae’s career.