OP-Ed – DiRT 2 Review

Screen shotIt has been a week now since DiRT 2 came tearing through the back roads of the world and onto your game console of choice. We here at Open Paddock spoke very highly of the game and gave it as much free advertising as we could. However, it is now time to break the game down and give it our final review. We will do this by looking at car selection, controls, race types, and soundtrack as well as single and multi player modes.

Car Selection:
To understand the current selection you must know what the game is going for. While the first edition offered you more of a WRC perspective with the Citroen C4 and Subaru Impreza amongst others, DiRT 2 tries to capture the second part of Colin’s career and that was his effort in America. You start the game with the Subaru Impreza STI Group N car that Colin drove himself. The Mitsubishi Evolution and 2008 Impreza STI are also available upgrades. We also see a number of nontraditional cars like Pontiac, BMW Z4, and the Nissan 350Z. The VW and Mitsubishi Dakar series raid trucks are also available. The list of cars is impressive and geared for the North American player. Again, this highlights Colin’s efforts in the Rally America series and the X-Games. If you are looking for a WRC style game, you will have to wait for the WRC option in GranTurismo 5.

The controls on the game are straight forward and easy to learn. Whether you use a racing wheel or standard control, it is an easy game to pick up and play. The handling physics are really different than that of the first game as well. In this version, you can feel the body roll in the car and the lack of traction you get on the loose gravel surfaces. If you give the car too much power, it does not hesitate to let you know. Along with the traction, the car acts very different under braking and never reacts the same way twice. This requires the player to be very aware of the feeling the car is giving him/her. One mistake can send the car either spinning off course or shoot it across the road and into a rock or tree. Feathering of the throttle is crucial in events that involve the trophy trucks and buggies. Too much throttle will see these vehicles gain no traction and you will lose positions.

Race Types:
DiRT 2 offers a number of different race modes that will make any player happy. Whether it be proper rally, Rallycross, or Baja style Raid, there are many options available. There is even one particular mode called gate crashing where you smash through foam gates in order to continue your stage. The object is to finish the rally with the most time left over. I for one hate this mode, but perhaps that is because I am no good at it. There are also Domination and Last Man Standing events that utilize various circuits and vehicle classes to keep things interesting. These are neat modes because it takes away from the usual 3 to 5 lap race and makes the player really go for the victory and attack the tack.

Soundtrack: For this game that highlights the party environment involved in the North American style of rally, the soundtrack is perfect. There is a great mix of punk rock and alternative rock tracks that are perfect for capturing the environment. Soundtrack=Awesome

Single Player:
The single player mode offers 100 events including three X-games events and various races using the multiple off road disciplines made available. Race against Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, and Tanner Foust to name a few across the world. You can change the difficulty for the new player or take it all the way to the hardest level. The game gives you a number of flashbacks to use so that if you crash and take terminal damage, instead of restarting the whole race, you can rewind time to the point before you lose control and smash a tree. The career mode is very in-depth and offers a significant challenge, even to those who think they belong on the course.

The multiplayer mode is just as much fun as the single player and adds the aspect of other human players. Multiplayer breaks down into two types, joint session and pro tour. The joint session allows you to set the rules for your competition and does not count towards your online rank. Pro tour is the opposite, your races have established rules and your performance does count toward your online fame rank. The only problem that comes from multiplayer is the same problem faced with all online racing games. The other player’s inability to drive. All too often the best driver is taken out by some idiot who has no idea what the hell is going on. I have been there…trust me it sucks. There are also tournaments that take place at all times which you can enter just by playing the game. There are a number of prizes available ranging from online fame points to clothing and other DiRT 2 apparel.

Overall: 4.7 out of 5 stars
The reason the game fails to get a perfect rating is the addition of the gate crasher and the crash physics for some vehicles. Gate crasher is worthless and some of the vehicles are inconsistent with crash features especially the trophy trucks and the raid T1 trucks. Outside of those complaints, the game could be one of the best racing games of the year. Easy for one person to go and pick it up and play. Unlike its competition in Forza and Gran Turismo, DiRT 2 offers a fun perspective in which one does not have to worry about confusing setups and pavement. Enjoy!

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5 Thoughts to “OP-Ed – DiRT 2 Review

  1. I would add in one caveat after playing the demo. The physics are very good for an arcade racer, but we warned that DiRT is NOT a simulation. Its fun, its colourful, enjoyable to play, but if you’re after a rally driving simulation, this is not it. It will still likely make it into my collection of games, though.

  2. I for one will be returning to DIRT after I get finished with DIRT2. They went for a different crowd with this new game and made rally racing just another discipline among many. DIRT was all about rally racing, with a few other events thrown in the periphery to mix it up. I liked that balance in DIRT better.

    What I miss:
    SSS crossover stages
    multiple rally stages
    service park

    What I dont miss:
    The trial trucks (bus races)

    All said, DIRT2 is a fun game and I am enjoying it immensely, but I liked DIRT better. If you are a rally fan, DIRT2 will appeal to you. But if you haven’t played DIRT, then pick it up from the bargain bin, you will not be dissapointed.

    My ratings:
    DIRT2 – 4 of 5
    DIRT – 5 of 5

  3. Eric Brewer

    Totally digging Dirt 2 after the first week with the game. This game looks amazing and the sound is top-notch. No, it is not a true sim, but take it from someone who has played EVERY sim or sim-light racing game produced in the last 30 years, (anybody remember the ORIGINAL INDY 500 game for PC?), this game is very cool! At the HARDCORE diff level, it requires a very aggressive, full attack driving style. That doesn’t mean bash and smash, but you need to look for every hole that the excellent AI cars might leave you. I agree that the Gate Smasher events are kinda lame, but they do force you (and teach beginners how) to stay on a proper racing line to hit the gates. All in all, with great course designs, (a few more tracks would be cool), and fun,fast cars to drive without having to fiddle with myriad adjustments to be competitive, I highly recommend DIRT 2 to all but the most sim-snobish of race game fans. Buy and enjoy!!!

  4. Welcome Eric! Have been looking forward to your comments! I am glad that you are liking the game. I agree with your review and especially with the HARDCORE level of play. You really have to attack and on some of those cars, that is very challenging. The STI Group N has a tendancy to slide in excess on the tailblazer stage. The BMW is actually a brilliant trailblazer car and so is the older generation Evo. I was winning trailblazer races by 7 and 8 seconds last night when i used it.

    I actually got to talking with Mike about the gate crasher and we both came to the conclusion you did, while annoying, it does teach you to stay on the racing line and works as a great training tool. Thanks for the comment and hope to hear from you in the future!

  5. got the toyota stadium truck last night for landrush events. it actually makes the landrush stuff palatable.

    still loving my z

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