The king of rally racers is back!
Codemasters has brought us a sequel to the fantastic rally racer Colin McRae: Dirt, Two years on and Codemasters have released Colin McRae: Dirt 2.
Remembering back to the first Dirt game, it was a pure rally racer game. Dirt was packed with amazing rally tracks for the player to blaze across with a number of cars to race with. This is where I am slightly confused though, Dirt 2 contains rally tracks as well as circuit tracks to race on. Codemasters have slipped away from the thought of a pure rally game and added more to the game such as challenge races, circuit races etc. Some Colin McRae fans may not like what has happened to Dirt 2, but some may love it.
With a change of focus in Dirt 2 you end up with all of the races and challenges being treated like a series extreme sports events. This is especially noticable when you see all of the menu interface themes. Another indicator of this change in style is that the races will not place you on your own on a single track, you will instead be racing with multiple players. This fits in with other contemporary racing games, but somehow seems disrespectful to the rest of the Colin McRae rally series.
Moving on, I have to say that the graphics in Dirt 2 are some of the best I have ever seen on the Xbox 360. There is quite a noticable improvement from the first Dirt game. The shadowing and reflections look more realistic that ever, and the wind and water effects look fantastic. I was amazed when I drove into an overflowed riverside ditch to see amazingly realistic water effects splash onto my windscreen. It just added to the sense of immersion and showed just how much detail has actually been put into the game.
Nothing has grabbed my attention as much as Colin McRae: Dirt 2 has
The actual driving in Dirt 2 could be a steep learning curve for some players, as different cars will have different capabilities and specifications. Some can accelerate faster, some handle better and some may feel like they weigh more. After an hour or so you should be able to play the game pretty well without making too many mistakes. After you have mastered your driving skills you will realise that the vehicles all handle really well and realistically.
Seeing as this game is named “Dirt” there will be plenty of dirt tracks in the game, these tracks definitely take some getting used to, as any of the vehicles are liable to slide around and spin out of control if you are not careful. This forces the player to teach themself how to brake properly in order to grab the win in races.
In terms of how the game progresses, it is possible to unlock cars and unlockable extras for your cars. Most of the unlockables are small novelties for your car’s dashboard or interior mirror such as bobble head statues, hanging dice, hanging avatars etc. It is actually pretty humorous to see your avatar swinging from left to right on the windscreen mirror.
You will also become friends with multiple rally drivers like Dave Mirra and Travis Pastrana. This adds a nice touch to the game as most of the drivers’ voices are recorded by the actual drivers. This is a nice touch for rally fans.
As you play through the game more events become available, along with the constant boosting in your experience points meter. This xp meter determines your respect from other drivers, & the more races you win, the more respect you gain. This will unlock novelties, new cars, new events and new friendships with other drivers.
A nice addition to the series is the inclusion of online multiplayer. Now if you ask me, online is where this game really shines. It was a lot of fun blasting through races with other players online, with everyone laughing and taunting each other. That’s what I expect from any multiplayer game, A damn good time!
The game modes all vary, with different race types and tournaments along with a separate experience meter for people to level up online. The multiplayer isn’t anything groundbreaking – it’s pretty basic when it comes to races, as well as choosing cars, but Dirt 2’s online multiplayer feature will give any player a fun experience – get on those tracks and kick some dirt in your opponents face! (editor cringes)
The visuals in this game are amazing, shadowing and reflections are spot on along with some fantastic water effects within races. The music in this game is really good, I heard some Rise Against in there which I loved but the real plus on the audio is that the game features the real voices of most of the featured drivers. I feel that people who play this game will enjoy how the game’s career mode progresses, and how it is set out – it never leaves you doing the same thing over and over again.
I’ve played my fair share of racing games over the years but nothing has grabbed my attention as much as Colin McRae: Dirt 2 has. The game doesn’t really feature anything new, but the new direction in the Dirt series really has made the game a lot more fun in my opinion, though I do have some doubts that true Colin McRae rally fans will not like the new approach to the series. Clearly Codemasters have tried to make this game more appealing to all gamers and not just rally fans.
One thing I will complain about though, is that I had a glitch in the loading screen where it wouldn’t load. I had to restart my console and try the race again, this happened 3-4 times. I managed to get over it by doing a different race and going back to that race later. Very strange.
Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is absolute must to any rally or driving fans. The new focus in the game is brilliant and different from the rest of the Colin McRae games you have seen or played.
Get those cars dirty! (editor cringes again)
The Bad: Doesn’t really bring gamers anything new, One annoying loading screen glitch.