DiRT 2

DiRT 2 CRUNCHHH
DiRT 2 CRUNCHHH

DiRT 2 review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“More dirt slingling, car crunching rally madness from Codemasters!”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10

Overview:

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.

Fun Factor:

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.

Difficulty Versatility:

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.

Value:

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.

Replayability:

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.

Sound:

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.

Music:

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.

Graphics:

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.

Stability/Reliability:

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.

Controls:

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.

Performance:

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.

DiRT

Dirt cover
Dirt cover

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.