So Dirt's gone all gnarly and trashy eh? Well according to an interview I read Codemasters has decided to split the series in half and leave the hoonigan style car wiggling and general motor based tomfoolery to the "Showdown" camp thus letting the core Dirt series deal with the proper meat and veg of rally driving. So how has it worked out? Well I'll try to keep in mind the aforementioned parting of the series notion in my mind while I pick away at this the more angsty face of Dirt.
THE GOOD STUFF:
- The graphics are stunning with the ego engine bringing a tear to the eye once again. Great details on the tracks and substantial vehicular models make this the cream of the visual crop.
- The crunches and crashes that accompany every battered motion of your motor are epic. It's like someone is chewing scrap metal right in your ear.
- The framerate is slicker than a baby seal covered in Vaseline and only adds to the overall ocular intercourse.
- Some of the vehicles are really cool looking and with all the various destruction derby style add-ons they really stand out.
- Some of the liveries and paint jobs are as equally impressive as the motors sporting them with the dalik fodda art being some of the panicles of the design foray.
- The online is chaotic fun, massive amounts of it and will have you swearing with sweaty glee in no time. This really feels like what the game was made for.
- This point really should have been lumped in with the whole graphics thing above but I feel special attention needs to be paid to the various special effects that accent the game such as sun glare, fireworks, smoky tire friction and all the other innumerable pyrotechnical that lace the visuals like crack for the peepers. Sweet.
- The menus are much like Dirt 3's menus; clean, smooth and functional, if not really deviating from the whole Codemasters aesthetic, but they work well and are effortlessly navigatable.
-****The controls are proper tight, tighter than my bosses wallet even, for a more arcadey take on the Dirt world they couldn't be more perfect.*****
-****The joyride mode is a good blast in this one, it's good to really razz around and push the car and the controls. tons to do.****
THE BAD STUFF:
****The joyride mode, though fun and a generally all round top bloke, features missions that essentially are the same thing over and over - dohnut round this, drift under that, if you've done it once youll be able to do replicate it anywhere so the challenge is near non existant. However I do dig finding the tokens and the stuff they unlock ain't much but totally worth it.*****
- The commentator needs to shut his yapper - I mean he sounds like a frickin' Ninja Turtle and this ain't the early nineties, Sheila. With quipy gems like "Totally T-Bone-tastical", "Perpendicular awesomeness" and even the use of the word rad this guy should be dunked in hot jam and tossed, full pelt, into a mass of seething hornets.
- You will play the same tracks from the extremely sparse number of available tracks over and over and over and over again until you just want to throw up. Weak.
- I mentioned that some of the liveries are really cool, inventive and generally very good well there are some that look like they were designed by a junky who's head is absolutely chock full of multicoloured, heaving, custard.
- The soundtrack is sketchy at best, these tracks are not going to be featured on anyone's best of albums and you will learn to loath them as the repeat your ears into the ground.
- *This next point is my own personal peeve and it may not fit everyone's frame of mind so just discount it if you don't agree: Hooniganisation is annoying as hell, i'm glad they're tearing it from the womb of the core Dirt experience and dumping it in its own mediocre outing. I buy Dirt for the feeling of blasting around beautiful locations, tearing up the gravel and trying to blitz some tight times, this game is more about jagging off with your car and swinging it around poles like some bizarre motor-worshipping stripper. There is nothing worse and people should stop humping their vehicles and get back on the track. So there.
- This game pushes its online presence on you like a nasty drug pusher - do you want to put your replays on Youtube? Do you want to sign up to our latest copy and paste gaming community? Do you grant your soul and first born child to Codemasters and their team of marketing goblins and wizards. I remember when Codemasters used to make games like Dizzy and Super Stunt Man and didn't try to inject their very essence into your eyeballs. This kind of thing is a little unsavoury.
- The whole thing is a rather short lived, overly simplified, experience that just doesn't do the games name justice.
THE FINAL WORD:
****right so my previous final word was a little unkind perhaps and the innitial shock of a near arcadey Dirt title shook me a little, but i am here to put things straight. However I still feel a lot of my inntial conscerns are valid, but I've put in a 15 hours now and the single player is a very tight place to be indeed with too few tracks to spread across the breadth of thr campaign leaving it feel like a bit of a slog. The joyride mode is where the majority of the freedom lies but is far too easy and shortlived for its own good. So you are left with the multiplayer mode which is a good blast but has the same problems as the single play and ultimately the overall package is a very sparse feeling affair. There's some big chunks of fun to be had during your time with Dirt Showdown but i'm still left looking forwards to less of this tomfoolery and more of the core rally experience that im sure will be represented in Dirt 4, and even at this price this is a little hard to recommend Dirt Showdown for anything but a rental.****