DiRT 2 Video Game Review

Written by Andrew Groen, Chief Editor of TheRacingGamer.com.

DiRT 2 is one of the most superbly presented racing games ever made. Every aspect is gorgeous; every pixel is lavished with attention and care. It’s new age in its philosophy on presentation, but underneath this is good old-fashioned racing fun. Closer inspection reveals that this game could have benefited from a few original ideas, though.

While DiRT 2 is a fun and well-executed racer, there’s very little to set it apart from other games in the genre. Most of this iteration’s big additions are ripped from other games. Most notably, DiRT 2 takes a number of ideas introduced in GRID. That’s not always a bad thing, but when it doesn’t bring anything of its own to the table, it feels like they’re piggy-backing on their past accomplishments. No matter how inspired or intriguing these features were last year, they’re old-hat now.

In days of yore, the Colin McRae rally racing series was one of the most unique and hardcore on the market. DiRT took that formula and added some great visuals and effects that upped the intensity, making it more palatable for the average racing fan. With DiRT 2, I fear they’ve gone too far. This game feels more like Motorstorm than a Colin McRae game. DiRT 2 feels like a marketing department’s interpretation of where the series should go. Populist needs like having other racers on the track at the same time (uncommon in earlier CM games) have been satiated, but it’s to the detriment of the racing experience.

Written by Andrew Groen, Chief Editor of TheRacingGamer.com.

DiRT 2 features an array of different race types, but it ultimately few exceed. Races with up to eight opponents on the track are frustrating and just plain hard. The developers took things too far in asking players to race a track at break neck speeds, find the right line through turns, and navigate a track so bumpy that one wrong angle can send them careening off the track. All of this while having to deal with seven other racers who won’t think twice about getting in the way.

This game is at its best when drivers are alone on the track, able to concentrate on the awesome racing without accidentally bumping into someone and careening into a gorge. Thankfully, those races are still common. In these rally modes, players often have a co-driver announcing upcoming turns and obstacles on the course. What’s more, the teammate is aware of the things happening on the course. If a crash has happened a quarter-mile down the course, she’ll announce it so the driver can be prepared. When the driver crashes, she’ll comment on the severity of the damage. It’s cool in practice, and is one of the few new things that DiRT 2 brings to the table.

As was previously stated, this game is a graphical masterwork. Everything from the cars to the intensely beautiful backdrops and even the menu system is gorgeous. It’s one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360, and with an HD setup it’s positively breathtaking.

Written by Andrew Groen, Chief Editor of TheRacingGamer.com.

Multiplayer isn’t bad, but ends up feeling familiar. With many other racers innovating in online competition, DiRT 2 is lacking. It works great in terms of getting a few extra hours out of an investment, but in the end players will wade through familiar waters, and won’t play for very long.

The biggest new inclusion is the flashback feature found in last year’s GRID. This feature allows players to rewind time. Pressing the right shoulder bumper will replay the last fifteen seconds. Pressing X at any point in the replay will jump the game back to that point. It’s a great feature, but it’s exactly the same as in GRID, so those who have already played GRID will find no surprises. The game’s style becomes annoying after the 10,000th Monster Energy Drink advertisement. These ads aren’t necessarily out of place, but there’s so many of them that sooner or later it will wear on the player.

DiRT 2 is a frequently brilliant game that lacks the ingenuity and originality to push it to the next level of racing greatness. The underlying rally racing game is still intact and fantastic, but I’m going to have to rule this foray into populist territory a failed experiment. The added parts feel GRID-esque and drag down the experience, but there’s enough of the older games left to keep things fun and exciting.

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