Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DiRT


Developer:
Codemasters
Publisher:
Codemasters
Release Date:
June 19, 2007
Systems:
Xbox 360 (reviewed), Windows, PS3
ESRB Rating: E (for Everyone)
Official Web site

In a nutshell:
Mud without the water. And with cars.

0:01 Classical music is not a good fit for the intro. Good thing it quickly transitions into ... generic hard rock? If you can't use "My Favorite Game," why bother?
0:02 “This demo is not representative of final game quality.” That gets me excited for the hour to come.
0:03 This is the most elaborate menu screen I've ever seen. Flat panels float against a stark off-white background. Everything flies around with a smooth whoosh. It's like something out of Minority Report.
0:04 “Pick your car, go race, it's that simple.” Did we really need to get a celebrity voice actor to say that? Also: What's with the moaning lady sound effect and the techno background music?
0:05 A variety of gameplay stats fly by during the loading screen. Funny to see them all at zero before my first race.
0:06 So my very first race in a game called DiRT is full of ... you guessed it ... grass and asphalt. Seriously. Also, my opponent isn't even on the same track as me? Now that's excitement!
0:07 I lose by seven seconds in Rookie difficulty. I am shamed. This can not stand.
0:10 I win this time by a good four seconds. The key seems to be not crashing into walls. Who knew?
0:12 I jumped 64.59 feet? When?
0:13 My second race is a hill climb. Again I'm all alone on the track. It's like racing without the race. At least there's dirt this time.
0:13 I fall off a cliff and into some bushes. Within a second I'm good as new. For a game that strives for realism in cars and tracks, this is just lame.
0:15 I fall off again, but this time I try to struggle back up. I get caught on the rocks for five seconds. Only after I let myself fall do I get reset. Here's a great life lesson for you: if you make a mistake, don't try to correct it... just exacerbate it until some magical force bails you out.
0:18 Longest distance without crashing: 0.35 miles. That's true in real life too.
0:20 Things are going pretty well, then I take a turn too tightly and destroy the entire front half of my car. It is literally totaled. Two seconds later, I'm driving off again in a fully functional car. Wow.
0:22 I love the way my ultra-damaged car looks, but the engine sounds like it's falling apart every time I shift gears. Very annoying.
0:26 Wow. I go up on two wheels, do a 360 flip, and careen over a cliff, landing nose first 20 feet down. 'Tis but a flesh wound! I go on racing a second later and win by a second or so. “Yes, you won! Enjoy that champagne. Ah... all that champagne.” Is my ear-man a lush?
0:28 The game quits me out of the demo without me even asking. What if I want to play more, huh? Are they afraid I'll have too much fun if I keep playing?
0:31 Now this is more like it. The CORR dune buggy race has other cars. On the first turn I get knocked onto the grass, only to come careening back to sideswipe the very same car in an orgy of destruction. YEEHAW!
0:34 Try the CORR race again on Amateur difficulty. This time terminal damage and mechanical damage are on, whatever that means.
0:35 I love these stats. Apparently I traveled 21 feet on two wheels in the last race. Who knew?
0:36 I love how the camera doesn't stay still behind you. It kind of leans into turns and jerks around on the bumps. Very engaging.
0:38 I just figured out how to switch camera views. The in-car views are a lot harder, but a lot cooler to look at. The sense of speed from the front bumper view is amazing.
0:42 This game seems to be treading a fine line between arcade racer and simulation. It pulls it off pretty well, actually.
0:46 The engine whine is so nice... when it stops. Luckily I can turn it off in the options.
0:56 I finally win in Amateur difficulty. “I'm excited, sponsors are ecstatic, you must be feeling pretty good." At least I'm included in there somewhere.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Maybe.
Why? It's a decent enough racing game, but Motorstorm is more exciting, generally.

This review based on a demo version found on the Official Xbox Magazine's August '07 demo disc.

13 comments:

Ian Barker said...

Nothing like the first run through a racing game...

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P.R said...

I'm a huge racing fan, but Rally, games or otherwise, just doesn't do it for me. It's all very dramatic with cars sliding around and whatnot, but without any actual racing, it all just feels a tad sterile.

FUNNYMAN said...

How did you play this game since the the release date is June 19, 2007.

Kyle said...

Uh, June 19 was about a month ago. Sometimes for upcoming games I play early release demos or pre-release review copies. I nthis case, I just played a demo. I try to note how I got the game in each review, but I forgot this time. I will update now.

Anonymous said...

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Ray said...

This is such a cool blog. I'm a dork, I'm into gaming, and I will definitely keep track of this.

Torque Addict said...

Nice. Maybe I should start including racing GAME videos on my racing video blog now, haha

Tim said...

Just a note: the reason you were able to "total" your car and then have no mechanical problems is because you were on the lowest difficulty level, which turns off terminal damage and seriously reduces the effect of other damage.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the XBox demo. It's limited to 3 races before it kicks you out to the dashboard (as you noticed), and it also doesn't include a single true rally stage. The PC demo includes a stage from Rallye Italia, along with co-driver pace notes.

Mostly Water said...

I'm not a big fan of codemasters racing games; they always feel like 2nd rate games in the racing genre, especially in comparison to EA...

Having said that, I played this game and it was quite addictive, in its own way.

-and I really hated the fake motor engine (:

Nabeel said...

hmm, I've played the game, have almost all achievements for it. It's a pretty decent game with a magnificent interface (so much usability was put in to it, I am sure) .. But the motor sport u mention is for PS3 right?