DiRT 2 review by Honorabili
One Sentence Review:
“More dirt slingling, car crunching rally madness from Codemasters!”
8 out of 10
Codemasters surprises us again with another great Colin McRae Rally racing classic.
For the campaign game, you take the role of an up and coming rally race car driver that’s finally making it to the big time. You start entering races in the lower tiers and eventually you “level up” enough to take one the mid grade tiers and up, eventually getting invites for special global events and championships, such as the X-Games, special historical races, etc.
As you do more races you keep getting paid, letting you buy different cars but there are mainly 2-3 cars that will dominate each race mode. If you figure out which those are, the rest of the cars (and money is sort of irrelevant). Some of the cars are much funner to drive than others and you might want to get them simply for the challenge of trying to take on cars with better handling (pretty much the most important characteristic for cars in this game).
The game mainly has modern day rally cars that are favorites today and less of the classic rally cars of legend from the 70s-90s (as opposed to DiRT 1).
Like DiRT 1, DiRT 2 has many big names and personalities from the world of rally racing. Ken Block, Mohammed bin Sulayem, and Travis Pastrana are some, to name a few. The racers interact with you as you race (crash) them with a little pop-up and some smart ass comment to keep you in good spirits. Once in a while, in between races, if you really owned it up or sucked big time, the game will offer you a special challenge against one of these personalities. The challenge will depend on the kind of event you just did and what kind of racing that racer favors the most.
The game offers an online racing mode, which I will discuss in detail below.
DiRT 2 is available on PC, Nintendo Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and PSP.
I’m a big fan of racing games, particularly ones where you abuse the hell out of your car and you have to make it last as much as possible. This is such a game!
Some of the tracks will feel repetitive after a while but they do require mastering if you want to take this game on at the max difficulty or make a legend of yourself racing online. Learning every pebble can be fun in itself.
Fun factor gets a score of 7 out of 10 from me. It’s not the funnest racing game I play but it is entertaining, especially when I’m in the mood for off-road racing.
DiRT 2 is a lot harder than the first game. The customization for the diffuculty is more detailed and it’s a lot like Grid’s system. You have a finite number of “flashbacks” which let you rewind part of the race in single player offline mode. The harder you set it the more damage you car can take faster, and the easier it will be for damage to disable it. The driving skill of the computer opponents will also get upgraded.
If you want a better challenge than the computer, you will often find better players online. Some players will just specialize in the game so unless you want to get owned, you might have to put in some time to take them on.
Since this game is harder than DiRT 1 and in some parts less annoying (difficulty speaking-wise), Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.
I bought DiRT 2 via Steam for about 33 dollars a few months ago. Through Steam at the moment of this writing, DiRT 2 is sold for $40, which is a bit steep considering you can beat the game in a few hours.
Overall, gogamer.com has the best prices for most system’s versions of Dirt 2. The link to find it at gogamer is the following: http://www.gogamer.com/searchresults.htm?keywords=dirt+2&categoryId=&x=0&y=0
Considering how little time I beat DiRT 2 in, I would say pick the game up for about 20 dollars if possible, around that price, it’s worth getting hands down. For the current price, mainly get it if you are a hardcore rally racing fan. At the current prices, Value gets a score of 4 out of 10.
I’ve played the campaign mode twice and it’s kind of like an experience of diminishing returns. I find the online mode now more interesting. The problem with the online mode is that most people on there are a bunch of cheating assholes (crashing you if you are doing well) so to me there’s only the rally mode where you can’t crash your competitors, so it’s more of a pure test of skill/luck.
All the tracks from DiRT 1 are missing in the sequel, which was a disappointment for me because they seem much more real as tracks/courses. I don’t know why they didn’t even bother to include the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course.
Overall, the Replayability gets a score of 6 out of 10. If they can manage to incorporate the non-cheating, non-crashing into the online mode for the modes other than Rally, I’d say it would be worth a 7 out of 10, solely for that.
Wonderful sounds ring to my ears. Whether car crunching sounds of smashing your fellow racers or the roar of your rally car flying up a hill. I found it kind of cool in some tracks how they have a running fireworks display as you are about to finish the race and they do sound pretty real to me. Turn the volume ALL the way UP! Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.
I found the music in DiRT 1 to be more fitting towards rally racing. The music in DiRT 2 feels as though you’re stuck in a Mountain Dew commercial hopped up either on MD or Red Bull or Monster, the two latter for which you will see ads for throughout the game in almost every race.
DiRT 2 certainly feels more commercial in this sense. I guess the music fits the current direction of where they are trying to get Rally racing to go (especially the infiltration into the US), so it’s more fitting towards the attitude this game has.
Music gets a score of 7 out of 10 in my book. I don’t like it myself but it gets the job done for what they want DiRT 2 to be.
Like DiRT 1 and Grid, DiRT 2 continues the tradition of being amazing eye candy. The game has about 8 or so different global locations and it is does feel as though you really are in the country where you are racing. The car models are simply beautiful and it’s always fun to see them all covered in dirt!
I do enjoy that this is a great game AND it also happens to look great as well.
Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.
I’ve only gotten the game to crash once and that was after playing it non-stop for 5 hours, probably because my video card was overheating. Other than that the game is pretty rock solid. I believe Codemasters took steps to address the lag bug from DiRT 1 and it happens much less in DiRT 2. I will address that below under the performance explanation. Stability/Reliability get a score of 9 out of 10.
Like DiRT 1, controls are fully customizable. The standard arrow keys for the PC version are all you need unless you want to remap them to your heart’s content.
For the PC version and consoles I’ve been told that wheel and pedal support has been improved dramatically over the first game.
Controls get a score of 10 out of 10 from me.
Overall, this game runs pretty great for how pretty it is. I’ve had moments where it lags due to what I think is a bug inherent in the game engine, even if offline, playing against the computer. It’s a bit less drastic than DiRT 2 and I think Codemasters is trying to work this problem out for their future racing games.
The game will run fine on most gaming machines. Racing games are some of the most intense kinds of games because of how many different objects that are moving at high speeds have to be all computed in relation to each other.
Performance gets a score of 8 out of 10.
My history with this game:
This is one of the many games I played around the holidays of 2009. They kept delaying the PC version over and over, which I found annoying. I was a little disappointed as to how little time it took me to beat the game. I basically beat it on the first day.
The online mode is okay but I only like doing the Rally mode which gets repetitive once you master all the tracks.
DiRT 1 was a nice surprise for when it was released. DiRT 2 has been heavily marketed in comparison, and some of that hype got it sales, but the game itself is still a great game. Fans of the first game should probably give it a chance.