The original Dirt was a great blend of arcade and simulation. The overall presentation was right there with the best. The career mode was lengthy, well-paced and fun. Driving skills were demanding, but not too frustrating to master. Dirt 2 follows the steps of the original, picks up from where it left and brings an overall quality experience superior to its predecessor in every aspect.
In Dirt 2, rally star Ken Block will be your guide. You’ll start as a rookie driver, having a personal trailer and controlling everything from there. First things that wows you is the interface, it has been cleverly blended into the experience of being a driver. This is an amazing achievement in its own right. Interface consists of real-world objects that make up your surroundings and you view everything from a first-person perspective. Now the main part of Dirt 2 experience is the Career Mode. Races earn you experience points which increases your driver’s level. During these 30 driver levels you gain new liveries, open new races and earn some gifts for your car. There are 35 cars to choose from, which may not sound like a lot but the thing is every one of them is amazing. Each vehicle in the game looks, sounds and drives just as it should. There are total of 100 events in all with 41 tracks spread in different countries. The sense of speed is great, whether you’re racing through a jungle in Malaysia, across the Utah desert, on the streets of London, or inside a Los Angeles stadium.
Dirt 2 offers variety of game modes e.g. hitting gates to extend your time in Gatecrasher and elimination-style Last Man Standing. Moving through career you will eventually unlock World Tours which help you earn greater XP and monetary rewards, and also 3 X-Games events in Asia, Europe and America, which include a variety of races. Difficulty levels are chosen before every event, and vehicle damage can be switched to cosmetic-only or can be turned off. Drawback to lowering the difficulty is that you’ll earn less cash. The opponent AI is very impressive and your rivals will present a good level of challenge on any difficulty. Instead of racing with flawless AI drivers, they are not invincibly perfect and it feels like you’ve always got a fair shot for a win.
Controls here are extremely responsive and do a great job of keeping your wheels where you need them to be. Every vehicle handles differently, but not so much so that transition between them is difficult to handle. All of the vehicles look great and different options are available to customize them, they look even more beautiful when wrapped under dirt on the track. Another addition to the gameplay is the flashback mechanism found originally in Grid so when you screw up you can hit Flashback button. This replays the last several seconds of the race and you can see exactly what you did wrong and get a chance to redo it in a better way. Given how superb both the cars and the various environments look, it’s impressive that the frame rate rarely falters. The attention to detail is great and worth mentioning. It makes watching the action replays all the more satisfying. Game also has a fantastic soundtrack or at least is quite appropriate. And the sound of engines never gets boring either.
One of the original Dirt’s drawback was its multiplayer but its no more a issue in second coming. Dirt 2 includes everything from the Raid events to the arcade-style Gatecrasher. Multiplayer even has its own XP system too. Multiplayer has its own set of achievements and missions, and works either via system link or online over Xbox Live. Online is divided into Pro Tour for ranked competition or Jam Session for casual races. Both are simple to set up and mostly lag free. All the cars are available to use, even if you don’t own them in the single-player campaign. Every event type, track, and vehicle that appears in the Dirt Tour is available online. Point-to-point and circuit-based races, as well as rally stages, are joined by a couple of more inventive modes.
Dirt 2 is prettier than original, has more varied tracks and a great multiplayer component. It has everything you need in a rally title, its a solid racing game with some really fun events and jaw dropping presentation. All in all Dirt 2 offers a great deal of value for its money and it easily ranks among all the top notch racing title arriving this year. A must buy for all racing fanatics.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Jaw Dropping presentation. Competitive AI. Great career mode. Multiplayer that will last long.
Slightly less focus on hardcore rallying.