22 Sep

If you love racing games, you are hereby ordered to check out Dirt 2, one of the most beautiful racers out there. The lighting stands out on night tracks where headlights, logo projections, fireworks, and other environmental lights glimmer and reflect off the body of the car and the track. The sunlight shining over the horizon will cause other lights to dim in its presence. Water splashes to life with realistic ripples while cars dash through puddles. Dirt and mud fly everywhere as you slide around the track. And car / damage models still look great. Being dirty never looked so good. Codemasters delivers yet another badass interface to boot as they masterfully stylize their menus. Dirt 2’s menus are different sections inside and outside of the trailer that you’re using to tour around the world, conquering different tracks.

The game plays just as amazingly as it looks.

Driving in this game is pure fun, but it takes some getting used to. My first trip around the track was more like bumper cars than actual racing. Vehicles will slide all over the track if you don’t manage the gas and steering well. I for one have the bad habit of over steering while holding down the gas, which only serves to send me in an uncontrollable spin. Once you get a handle on how to drive the different vehicle types you’ll have a ton of fun sliding around corners and speeding through the track. Some are more fun than others, but it’s all a matter of preference. Personally, I found the buggies to be very hard to control.

The single player Dirt Tour consists of a variety of race types and tracks. Dirt 1 was primarily about long time-trial rally races, but thankfully Dirt 2 is much more about getting out on the track with other drivers. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who like the long rally races, but I am not one of them. I find it more fun to mix it up others on the track in race types like Rally-Cross. There is Rally and rally-style races like Trailblazer (driving through a course without a codriver) and Gate Crasher (race through a track as fast as possible while smashing through small stacks of boxes) so it’s definitely not gone from the game. Tracks can be both dirt and tarmac (mostly dirt though) and handling changes depending on the terrain as you expect they should. If you’ve played GRID, you’ll be familiar with the instant replay feature now in Dirt 2 which allows you to rewind the clock a few seconds a limited amount of times so that you can correct mistakes.

Overall the Tour is incredibly fun, but there are a rather limited amount of tracks so I felt like I was racing the same tracks too often. There is planned downloadable content so that might not be an issue for long. The voice overs repeat way too much and the annoyance will have you searching through the menus to turn it off. It’s cool that they put so many different audible names into the game, but they could have found a better way to integrate them into the speech, rather than constantly repeating “Hey {Username}!”

This game comes with a full set of multiplayer options so you can actually race against other real people on the same track at the same time. You can race all the modes from the Tour so even if you play the single player to exhaustion, you will always have a new challenge.

Dirt 2 is shelf-worthy racing game you’ll be able to keep playing long into future. If you like to race, you want to buy this game. If you’re still not convinced, it’s definitely worth a rent, so take it for a spin.