Publisher: Codemasters/SCEE (for PS3 and PSP only)
Also on: Xbox 360
Console Played on: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Friday September 11th 2009
Age Rating: PEGI 12
In 2007, Codemasters released a brand new edition of their Colin McRae series DiRT. It was a fine game to own, one of the first racing games I experienced on the Xbox 360. It impressed me ,and thought a sequel was a must.
Sadly, in the same year (and the day after the original DiRT was released on the PS3), McRae was killed in a helicopter crash he was piloting with his son Johnny and another two passengers on board. However, it is a nice touch to see that, with Codemasters back with a sequel to the game, that they have kept on his name to the game as a sign of a tribute to what was one of the greatest rally drivers of my generation alongside the likes of Richard Burns, Marcus Gronholm and more.
DiRT 2 still keeps the same formula mostly from the first game. It does tend to feel a lot like last year’s GRiD, which also comes from Codemasters. Why does it feel like GRiD? Because in reality, it is an off road GRiD, yet it somewhat manages to keep its own identity somewhat. The influence is particular when you notice things like the Flashback system is in the game, as well as how the replays are played out in the game.
The front menu feels very interactive somewhat. Outside in the drivers area, you get the option of fine-tuning your cars, while in the RV you’re staying in, you pick where you want to go, the online portion of the game, extras and more.
You have seven gameplay modes to play around with in several countries, some of which include the UK, the US, Japan, Malaysia, China and more. In events – which include the EU, Asian and US X-Games, you’re able to rank up with XP points – which does feel a bit easy as you’re going up, but it is still an effective way of leveling up in the game as you wont be able to reach certain countries and events until you hit a specific level in the game. Plus, you unlock liveries and dashboard toys for your car, as well as horns for your car.
The game does have a diverse mix of events in the game it has to be said. One minute, you could be racing in a Trailblazer in Malaysia, and the next, you’ll be crashing gates in Gatecrasher in Baja. It shows a great mix of events to do with each country in the game.
The game’s online mode has four modes, the main mode being Pro Tour, with up to eight players playing a single game. Unfortunately, I haven’t played the multiplayer yet as of wrtitng this review due to a lack of fellow gaming journalists being on to play the game.
As well as a mix of events, the game also has a serious mix of cars and classes to pick from like proper rally cars, Baja trucks, buggy and more. It contains more companies like Subaru, Nissan and more in the game. Just like events, there is a nice diverse mix of cars to pick from. The only down side is you have to upgrade your cars each time to meet a specific event.
The game handles perfectly with the controls, but some of the cars feel kind of light when controlling them, making it possibly easy to make a mistake in a race or rally. That said other then that, I cant really fault the games controls just for that, they feel nice and responsive.
DiRT 2 looks brilliant. Using the EGO engine from GRiD, the game looks fantastic, from dusky and dusty tracks in Morocco to lush jungle settings in Malaysia, it really does look like a off road GRiD with it’s own identity. There are a couple of problems I can quelm with the presentation of the game is that every now and then, there would be some slowdown in the game. But then again, you’ll very rarely see that, and it’ll only last roughly a second and a half – nothing game breaking.
The game also misses out on deformation on tracks in the game, but does have damage for the environments enabled. You could crash into a part of the enviroment like a brick wall and you can see it falling apart right in front of you, which is a nice sublte touch for the game.
The game also features guest voice appearances like Travis Perstana, Tanner Faulst, Ken Block and Dave Mirra, who are your mentors in the game. They will talk to you during a race, telling you things like keep up with me, you’ll never win and warn you when you give them a big smash. You know the usual. They’ll also talk amongst themselves sometimes as well as other AI drivers, who can talk back to you while racing.
The soundtrack of the game features a couple of popular stuff, like The Prodigy, Bloc Party, Santogold, Queens of the Stone Age as well as many, many more. A soundtrack suited for a festival really, but is still a fantastic addition to the game all round.
Overall: While it does have its flaws, Colin McRae DiRT 2 is a fantastic racing game to play.While its presentation can be it’s downfall somewhat, its the gameplay and the nice diverse mix of cars and tracks to play that really makes the game shine.
Gameplay – 9: A great mix of cars and events as well as great controls, although some cars do feel a little light to control and could possibly cause an accident.
Graphics 9: The graphical presentation is top notch. If only it was a bit more realistic like deformable tracks. Plus, the odd bit of slowdown, which I admit does happen very rarely, does eat away at you somewhat.
Sound – 9: A great soundtrack from The Prodigy, Queens of the Stone Age and more, plus advie and help from mentors like Ken Block, Travis Perstrana and more really helps the game out somewhat.
Overall – 9: Despite its flaws, DiRT 2 does feel like a tribute to Colin McRae himself. It seems only fitting, and somewhat ironic, that we post this review one week before the two year anniversary of his death.
Racing game of the year? For now, yes. But it is one of the best this year anyways.