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DiRT

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DiRT review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“One of the best rally racing games out there.”

 

 

Overall Score:

8 out of 10

 

Overview:

This is the 6th game in the Colin McRae Rally series. Colin McRae was a world champion in rally racing and he passed away in a helicopter accident. Both DiRT 1 and 2 are made in his honor.

Back to the game, DiRT is a refinement of the previous Colin McRae Rally games. There are many different styles of racing available, all off-road. You have traditional Rally, where you race alone with your copilot/navigator that is giving you instructions as to how much distance you have until the next turn and the severity of the turn. You have Hill Climb, which is the same thing, only that you are alone without a navigator, so it’s harder if you don’t know the course. There is a mode where you race on a racetrack with about 7 other racers at the same time, whether in super rally cars or buggies or pickups or SUVs. A neat mode is one called Cross over where you race a track composed of two tracks and you alternate with your rival through a cross over section. The races either consist of who can get the best total lowest time or who can get first place at any cost.

The game has a damage engine, which is relatively realistic (compared to most other racing games). If you damage your transmission, your car will have problems shifting. Damage the cooling system and you risk blowing the engine from overheating. Turbo cars that damage the turbo will suffer a performance hit, and so on. Damage really comes into effect when you play a 3 stage or higher Rally mode race where you will have a chance to repair your car at the end of the 2nd race. You have a finite time to do repairs so it’s better to take care of the most critical damages first. If you don’t know about car mechanics the game has a help system in which two of your team mates will give you a description of real life effects of having damage on real systems. I wish they would have implemented a more severe damage system that makes you rely on having a good team of mechanics and implemented a mini game of managing your employees, but that’s not the case.

DiRT has most legendary Rally cars of recent years and classic cars as well. You will find the Lancia Stratos and the Fiat 131 Abarth as well, as well as the special Colin McRae Ford Escort and the Subaru 1995 Impresa, which he also used to become a legend in. Apart from countless Fiat, Peugeot, Suzuki cars, you will also find the classic Subaru Impreza and the old (and better) Mitsubishi Evo rally cars. The game has some fun cars such as the racing semi-trucks and the 1000-1500 horsepower Toyota racing pickup as well as some old prototype rally cars which are simply amazing. In this sense DiRT 1 is better than DiRT 2.

As far as that comparison goes, DiRT 1 has a LOT more real life tracks compared to DiRT 2, which was a disappointment to me when I got part 2. You will find yourself racing famous tracks in Spain, England, France, and classic Rally trails in Japan and Germany. Of course, DiRT also includes Pikes Peak, one of the best Rally/Hill Climb courses in the world of off-roading.

DiRT has most of the rally world racing personalities racing against you but for the most part they are just names, other than specific people having the tendency to win over others. DiRT 2 added voices and little popup portraits that interact with you as you race with them.

I would say get DiRT 1 if you want more of a classic rally experience.

The game has a multiplayer mode, whether to play via LAN or online. I played it online when the game first came out, but when I replayed it in 2009-2010, it doesn’t work for me anymore, making me think that it has been discontinued in favor of allotting gaming servers for players of DiRT 2 instead.

The game doesn’t let you mod cars, as these are race cars, not street racers. You mainly buy other cars and liveries (think of them as skins) for them. It’s nice to eventually get all cars added to your garage and it’s also interesting that they included the history of the cars, which get narrated to you by your team mates.

DiRT is available on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

Fun Factor:

I always enjoy most racing games as I enjoy racing fast cars in real life, whether on a desolate road, off-roading, or around a real race track (go-karts and similar stuff too!). DiRT will test your reflexes and you will be thoroughly entertained if you enjoy taking a car to its limits and keeping it together in one piece. Some game modes are more enjoyable than others and depending on what kind of challenge you want, you can just focus on those (although sometimes you are forced to do specific races to complete the career mode ladder). Overall, DiRT is a fun experience. Fun Factor gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The game allows you to adjust the difficulty through 5 different settings per race, and you will get audio ques if you are doing too well since it is too easy or it will advice you to lower it if you keep losing. If you are a pro at racing games, you will want to play it at the top or 2nd from the top difficulty, always. Since you can keep adjusting it, you can just variate it from race to race depending on how bad you want to win or how bad you want to make the challenge for you.

What I like about the physics of this game is that it actually takes very well into account the traction and suspension system of the car you are using. Knowing your car will make a huge difference in determining which one to use for the courses you are competing on. You can always make it harder for yourself if you want to artificially manipulate the difficulty for you by selecting a car with crappy suspension AND high horsepower to weight ration for a bumpy track and you will be fighting for your life to control that monster.

Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

 

 

Value:

You can get DiRT through Steam for $20. Considering how short the game is, I wouldn’t recommend getting it for that price, although you can sometimes pick it up on there for half off. When Dirt 2 came out they were giving you Dirt 1 for $2.

You can pick up DiRT for $15 through gogamer.com which is a much better buy. You can get the PS3 version from then for $19 as of the time of this writing. You can check out all the versions of DiRT from gogamer at the following link: http://www.gogamer.com/searchresults.htm?keywords=dirt&categoryId=&x=0&y=0

ebgames.com has the Xbox 360 version for $20 as well.

I would say pick up the game for sure if it’s around $10. Maybe like around $15. Otherwise, unless you LOVE rally racing, it might not be worth the money, and if you were to spend more money most people would just opt out to buy DiRT 2 instead. Value gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve played the campaign for this game three times through and the game is still fun to me. I love most of the cars in the game and I don’t really mind that this is now becoming an old racing game, since it was great from the start.

I’ve memorized most of the tracks in the game which make the game much easier for me (this is a tactic to be employed in all racing games, if you want to dominate). The tracks are classic though and some of you will find them in other racing games as well. The tracks feel realistic as to their layout, so I enjoy racing them over and over.

Although I have DiRT 2, I find myself playing DiRT 1 more. It’s a nice game to load up once in a while if you feel like getting your car dirty! Replayability gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Sound:

The sound in this game is simply brilliant. The cars do sound like real off-road race cars and you will hear the crackle of the engine as you floor the living hell out of your car. The ground and dirt pebbles sound wonderful and real if you have ever gone off-roading in real life. Even hitting a tree or rock at a high speed sounds “wonderful” (although your car will perish… sometimes). Sound surely gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

Like other Codemasters racing games, music is basically absent during racing, which I assume is done on purpose so that you can focus on racing and not grooving. I wish they would incorporate a an option to have it be interactive music (like Need For Speed 2 had) or have it be persistent as well. You mainly only get the hear constant music in the menu, which has a great song, and after each race with like victory music, which is nice itself. Music gets a score of 6 out of 10. The songs are GREAT but they are sparse.

Graphics:

This game might be “old” now but it sure is eye candy. Although I’ve also played part 2 and GRID, and this game came out first, sometimes I find myself staring at the background and it seems like as if you are almost racing in the real location (in some instances). Codemasters are real code masters when it comes to making the best looking, fastest running game possible. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game used to hang up for me while loading rarely when the game originally came out. The latest patch/build makes this hardly ever happen though, which helps in this category.

The problem I have is that there is a lag problem, which I still believe is linked to the cheat prevention system the Codemasters games have which will make the game lag sometimes randomly, usually the faster you are going. This happens sometimes and this is sort of like a killer to have in a racing game. For DiRT often when this happens, the game will lag and then speed up to catch up with the action which can be dangerous, especially when racing. Since that bug is annoying, it hurts the game in this sense. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls for the PC version are fairly standard, using the arrow keys to drive. You can remap the controls to your liking so that you get a better interface if you are so inclined. I usually map my brakes to the letter Z. I like to drive with both feet in real life, even in an automatic car to have direct control over the brakes, for me the most important part of real racing. Because you set your own controls, if you don’t like the defaults, and they are responsive, Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs great for the most part but it does have the annoying lag bug I have discussed above. I’ve played this game on 3 computers, each one faster than the previous one. It ran pretty well on all of them, even when it first came out. Performance gets a score of 7 out of 10, mainly because of the lag bug.

My history with this game:

I thought I’d give this game a try since so many games had come out that were great of the Colin McRae Rally series. I played the first one and I thought it was great for its time. This game follows that tradition.

I’m a fan of Codemasters racing games. I always buy their stuff, no matter what (when it comes to racing games, YES). I’m looking forward to them making DiRT 3 and Grid 2.

I enjoy how they release their racing games for PC and also for consoles. I see that they are basically developing for console, but that’s where the money is for racing games, the ones that sell. Sure you have a lot of enthusiasts solely using PCs for simulator racing games but the number of people who do that is very small compared to the number of people who will have a PS3 or Xbox 360 and will play games like DiRT, Grid, Grand Turismo, Need For Speed, Burnout, and some others. The only part that bothers me sometimes is that the PC version comes out 4-6 months later, which is annoying. I hope they come out with both console versions and PC versions pretty close to each other in the coming future.

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