Apples ‘n’ Oranges: Another TwoFer

May 18, 2010

Man, I am so behind on my blogging. Since I have last posted a video game review, I completed 3 games, two of which are in the second round of Apples ‘n’ Oranges. I’ll briefly review them now.

DiRT 2

Gamerscore after 1 playthrough: 855/1000

Game it is most like from Round 1: GRiD

My feelings toward the sequel to DiRT are closer to my feeling on GRiD than DiRT 1. Codemasters took the original DiRT rally/off-road formula, mixed it with equal parts Monster and X-Treme!!!!1!!1!, and served it with a side of GRiD’s flashback features. The original formula was great, but the X-Games veneer dumbed down the gameplay quite a bit. Rally is emphasized much less in favor of rallycross (aka standard circuit race) and rally (aka standard off-road point-to-point). Of the 41 tracks, only 15 were rally tracks. These 15 tracks consist of 5 long rallies legs and then each half of that leg. Granted, some of the short legs start the opposite end from where you enter in the long track, but it is rather sad compared to the 4-6 different legs per location in DiRT. This kills the replay value of the game.

They did make some substantial improvements, though. They kinda added 2 levels of performance mods for every purchasable car to the mix. Liveries are unlocks, as are new visual doodads like bobbleheads, hula girl dashboard toys, and fuzzy dice. By far, my favorite part of the X-Treme additions were the custom car horns! That’s right; you can obnoxiously emit fire truck noises from your car. The other drivers talk to you mid-race; you bump into them and they snap at you. They congratulate you when you win. It adds a sense of online-esque camaraderie to the single-player campaign. The one-on-one throwdowns are a change of pace. And finally, no stupid champagne references.

Totals Time:

Gameplay: 4.5/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 4/5

Replay: 3/5

Morality: 5.5/5

Total: 4.2/5

Need for Speed: Shift

Gamerscore after 1 playthrough: 910/1000

Game it is most like from Round 1: Need for Speed: Carbon

If I had to sum up Shift in one sentence, it would be: They crammed the Carbon driving engine into a Forza level technical racer. Even after some hefty control adjustments and tuning, the racing still did not feel right. I played the game with the same settings I played Forza 3, but I seriously considered turning on the turn-assist function.

The game is structured better than Carbon. They offered enough off-line badges (the new reward cards) to actually earn the full 1 K if you can get past the driving engine. Money is easy to get. The aggression/precision leveling system is a really cool idea. I just wish it was in a better game. And the whole illegality thing is done for.

Totals Time:

Gameplay: 2/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 3/5

Replay: 3/5

Morality: 5/5

Average: 3.4/5

So, a slight dip in DiRT and a slight bump in Need for Speed. Let’s see how Split/Second goes…


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