Read a Game?: DiRT

August 13, 2009

Gamerscore after one playthrough: 790/1000

In the world of professional racing, there are tiers. Wiener Dog Races and NASCAR on the bottom. Circuit races in the middle. And, on top of the heap, rally racing. Rally races are a series of point-to-point off-road races, filled with tight, technical turns and trees to smash into if you make a mistake. DiRT is a re-vamp off the Colin McRea rally racing series.

Apples and Oranges data for this sim racer:

  • Quantity of Cars: 46 rides, ranging from rally cars, big rigs, dune buggies, trucks, and these strange RV-looking things.
  • Quality of Cars: The actual rally cars drive very well, but the rest range from okay (Big Rigs and Buggies) to fist-shakingly terrible (trucks and “RVs”). Frustratingly, most races give you only 2 cars to choose from.
  • Car Modification (Visual): Barely existent. You can pay to get new liveries. That’s it.
  • Car Modification (Performance): No mod parts. You can tweak various performance aspects. It appears to be as deep as Forza 2’s tweak system.
  • D’s of Doom: None.
  • Unique Race Types: All of the race types in DiRT are unique because they are based on the rally scene. Some are minor: Rallycross is just like any other circuit race you have done in other games, but you have to deal with the occasional surface change. The CORR and Raid race types are just off-road circuits, too. Crossover is interesting; you compete against an opponent on a looping, dual circuit, never meeting. It’s kind of difficult to describe. There is also the Hill Climb variant to the typical Rally point-to-point, where you have elevation changes to deal with (You literally race up Pikes Peak).
  • Currency: Cash for placing in races (how much depends on the difficulty level). Race points for completing races. Cash gets you new cars and liveries. Race points progress the career.
  • Achievements: 940 are available offline. All of them are attainable by completing the career and championship modes, though you will have to grind career races for the 1000 mile achievement (only 350 miles to go for me!).

It is a very tight racing game and it has to be to met the rigors of rally racing. There are a couple of minor AI quirks when opponents are racing on the same track as you (id est, rallycross, raid, and CORR races); the main problem is their almost stupid level of aggression. Also, the career, while interestingly arraigned, is a little short; I finished it in about 6 hours of racing, not counting the grinding I still have to do to hit 1000 career miles. The big rally races only have 3 legs to them, too.

The presentation is sharp, with tons of info being displayed during a race. The mini-map is smack-dab in the middle of the top edge, which is the perfect location, considering how you need to watch the map and the road simultaneously. The career mode system is arraigned in a cool pyramid, which you climb up. The co-driver’s direction drops out at spots, but is usually extremely helpful. I broke out into rally calls while driving around town; you may start doing it too.

The grinding to 1000 miles and the chamionship mode stretch out the playtime, but grinding is not extactly the most entertaining of pasttimes and (I imagine) championship mode is not going to be all that different from the career.

Morally, it is slightly more offensive than Forza. The co-driver is a bit of a champagne-obsessed lush and I think I heard him say something about getting a trophy up his rectum after winning a race (but I might have misheard that). It still earns the same bonus as Forza for showing the consequences for driving like a fool.

Total time:

Gameplay: 4.5/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 5/5

Replay: 4/5

Morality: 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

Hey, another “A” game. Huzzah!


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