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Colin McRae: DiRT (Xbox 360)
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- Wide variety of off-road and rallying disciplines including Rally, Hill Climb, Rally RAID, Rally Cross & the CORR desert series
- Photorealistic tracks painstakingly recreated from real-world location photography and satellite data
- Incredibly detailed models of 46 licensed vehicles bring the action to life
- Online play that allows 100 players to compete against one another
- Stay in control or watch as your car dramatically crashes into a barrier and barrel-rolls, crushing every panel and spewing debris across the track
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- Platform: Xbox 360
- BBFC Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over. Not for sale to persons under age 15. By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 15 years of age or over.
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
Platform: Xbox 360 | Edition: Normal
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It may be tempting to think of this simply as Colin McRae Rally 6.0, but for once a game has been rebranded not to divert attention from an aging and discredited formula, but because it really is a whole evolutionary step forward for the series. Theres now a far greater range of cars and race types than just point-to-point rallying, with everything from hill climbing to rally cross events included. The games also far less parochial than before, with plenty of officially licensed international rally tracks and competitions.
As exciting as all this may be though the games trump card is clearly its graphics. After what seems to have been an endless series of next gen disappointments this is one game that clearly could never have been done on the older consoles. The level of detail is incredible, both on the cars and the environment, but what really impresses is how interactive everything is. Pranging your car not only damages it realistically, but whatever youve hit as well, from roadside barriers to other racers.
The games other great triumph is ironically also its only serious flaw. The car handling is superbly realistic, but so much so that it actually makes getting anywhere in the game extremely difficult without an awful lot of practise (and ideally a good steering wheel controller). At least you can go online for a match against others at the same skill level as you though, which does help to avoid too much frustration and helps you appreciate what is probably the best next gen racer so far.
Colin McRae: DIRT is the most diverse and exhilarating off-road racing experience ever with sensational gravel, mud and dirt events the world over. Events include the series' intense point-to-point races and takes players further off-road than ever before.
Race in challenging heavyweight 850bhp cars, drifting on the loose gravel and high-speed blind corners of Hill Climb events along perilous cliff edges. All 12.4 miles of the world famous Pikes Peak International is included, with over 150 precarious turns to negotiate through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
How about engaging in multiple car races with Dakar-style trucks and super-powered 4x4s on the toughest desert terrain in Rally Raid competitions? Then there are Rally Cross events, switching between dirt and road racing, where the competition is always tight, fast and collisions with your opponents are inevitable. Colin McRae: DIRT also offers a dedicated mode for European, International and Global rally championships featuring official 2WD, 4WD, Classic and RWD rally cars.
Colin McRae: DIRT delivers the wheel-screaming exhilaration of off-road racing with the next generation of the series' sublime car handling and physics system and a devastating new damage engine that ensures players experience every bump in the track, every loose rock, every inch of shifting dirt through the reactive environments.
With an incredible range of off-road vehicles, thrill-packed tracks, modes that make the most of online multiplayer, and more varied events than any other single-championship rally game, Colin McRae is a bigger, faster, wilder racing experience.
Top customer reviews
One important note that I will deal with initially is the fact that the game has become more arcade orientated, and away from the sim feel of the previous games. Oddly though, this seems to have happened in only a couple of areas, braking and how the car appears to handle from the rear view. One thing I'm still trying to get used to is the arcade style brakes - i.e. 60MPH to 0 in about 10 yards on gravel. This is a massive change from previous games, and will take you a while to get used to. Once you have though, you'll adapt your driving style and realise you can be more aggressive than previously; leave it too late, and you will lock up and fly off into the nearest tree.
Although some have mentioned the "floating" feel of the cars, this does seem to be a problem with the "chase" view behind the car. It's hard to describe, but it almost feels as though the car is pivoting from the incorrect point, and it reminds me more of the V-Rally style of play. When using the quite fantastic in car views of helmet cam or the traditional steering cam, it is as intense and realistic as it has always been, barring the brakes. The cars do seem to bite less on the surface, but even though you would expect this to take away from the enjoyment of the game, it seems to me that after a few more hours of playing, the developers have actually nailed the characteristics of the cars pretty well. Understeer is now more marked in FWD for example than it had been previously.
Away from the slightly more negative aspects, the game really excells in many areas. I've found that the difficulty settings are top notch - each race on Career (and there are many of them) can be raced at 5 different levels, from Rookie to Pro, with prize money available according to the difficulty level. With this, you can purchase new cars and liveries, the ranges of which have been expanded exponentially from previous games. This is a hugely welcome addition and with 46 cars to choose from, all handling, looking and sounding different, you do have an incentive to gain those credits.
In Pro mode, as an experienced racing game fanatic, I am pleased to say that this really does represent a stiff challenge. I find on most point to point rally events, you have to put a near perfect run together to win by a matter of 2-3 seconds. The tweaks you can make to the set up do have a marked effect on how the car handles, and will help beat some of the Pro times more easily, but you will often find that the margin of victory is very tight, and almost impossible to come by without tweaks on many of the group racing events, or direct competition, such as crossover (a la rally special stages).
The damage modelling is absolutely superb, and again varies with difficulty level in terms of how terminal clipping that rock will be for your car. Get it slightly wrong, and you'll still have the satisfying barrel roll and a crumpled mess to drive. Smashed glass, twisted metal are all superbly rendered along with the rest of the games' stunning visuals.
The variety of events is huge, and the tracks vary in length and difficulty, form the twisting tarmac of Corsica, to the deserts of Australia as ever in the Mcrae games. The visuals are truly a delight to behold, and unlike any other game before it, I've found myself watching several of my replays in awe of the detail. With variety of events and tracks, along with the difficulty, the game should hold lasting appeal for many. The pacing is good, and career mode is varied enough to keep it interesting and there's always the option to take on single events or championships seperately.
However, there are a couple of points which have taken away the authentic feel of the Mcrae series. The first is the most annoying addition - one mentioned before in many reviews - and this is the addition of X-Games Travis Pastrana and his American pals in the co-driver seat. Initially, you do get the inane end race/menu quotes "We were the best because we were the fastest" and "Wow dude we won, I'm soooo stoked" (which have to be laughed at because they're so ridiculous) however these can be largely ignored as they don't break the game.
What does annoy me is the Americanisation of the co-driver. This really is something that has frustrated me - I don't personally feel that the Colin Mcrae brand should be on here at all, as the only appearance he gets is by name as one of the opposition in some of the rally events. Poor old Nicky Grist must be wondering what he did to deserve being cast out - perhaps he knew more about it than we did!
I also find the truck racing/buggies etc a little gimmicky, but they are implemented better than any other attempt of its type. That's a matter of personal preference. I have heard that the online experience is also limited, with a lack of voice comm and no way to see other players, but I am not taking it inot account in the review as I have not experienced this first hand.
Despite these negatives, there's just something that makes me keep coming back - it's a really enjoyable game - hard enough to keep it interesting; fun so that you can pick it up and have a blast at any time. I know some elements are missing from your true sim experience, but the variety of events, stunning visuals and challenge keep me coming back for more.
In summary then:
+ Stunning visuals
+ Great variety of tracks, events and cars
+ Impeccable damage modelling
+ Varied difficulty
- Slightly more arcade like than previous installments
- Americanisation of the co-driver/commentary
Overall, not perfect, but a whole heap of fun!
After seeing screenshots and the new vast amount of off road vehicle types in Dirt, I downloaded the demo and I was very impressed, now after playing the full game I can say that for me, this is the best Colin Mcrae game so far and an incredible game to play on the 360
The first thing you'll have noticed is the graphics, I'd say they are the best I've ever seen, the quality does seem to vary, but drive any of the Australian rally tracks and I swear you will be in awe, they are without question the most realistic looking visuals i've ever seen in a video game, as long as you are moving and not stationary, it looks just like real life, this is the ony time I've ever thought that when playing a video or pc game.
But it's not just the graphics that look good, the games menu's are nice, and quite unique in their presentation, makes a change from the usual type.
The game offers a career mode that in truth is not a career, and is just a pyramid of 11 tiers of races or tracks for you to unlock to open tracks, win cars and win prize money to buy more cars, although you can buy bonus code unlocks from codemasters to unlock the whole games contents if you wish.
So if you don't consider that proper rallying which I don't, then there is a proper Championship mode to race in 6 countries; Uk, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan & Australia.
What I really like about Dirt is that it gives you 5 difficutly levels to choose from, and unlike previous games that I found, from the demos at least; were too hard, in this the settings are varied enough for any level of driver, so if you are a 'pick up and play just once' kind of gamer, or someone who plays for weeks and needs a stiff challenge, the 5 difficulty levels here will suit just about everyone.
The handling still isn't terribly realistic, but it does the job, after playing Forza 2 for the past week, playing this I could definitely tell the difference, Codemasters need to work on this part of the game, while I'm not saying it should be made so realistic it becomes difficult, you should at least get a little sliding and be able to feel the loss of traction and skidding through your steering the way you can with Forza 2.
What I liked about Dirt was the variety of vehicles they have now, it reminded me of Motorstorm, you have big rigs, Buggies and the like, and all with the most detailed dashboard views I've seen in a console game.
Multiplayer on Xbox live is great, it's quite unique in that you can race as many as 30 odd people at the same time, but of course you are the only vehicle on the track, so you are constantly looking at the leaderboard to see your place moving up and down against the other players, this is quite a lot of fun as you just can't see the other players like in regular racing.
Well, after Dirt, I am a convert to Colin Mcrae titles in the future providing Codemasters keep making them just like this, and if you have never considered the Mcrae titles before maybe you should give it a go and see what you think, you might just love it.