Over the past few years, the Dirt franchise has seen a few changes, this seems to be its biggest departure yet. But has it gone a step too far?…
When I first set my eyes upon Dirt Showdown I will admit that I was worried. It looked like such another change for this series of games that I felt that Codemasters may have lost their way. But can say that my first thoughts were 100% wrong. Dirt Showdown is a masterclass in how to make a racer that based on pure manic fun.
From the first time you boot up the game you know that you’re in for a treat. Since Dirt 2, Codemasters have really nailed their menu system. Slick transitions, an awesome rock soundtrack and slick transitions got me excited from the start. Since Dirt 2, I have been praising just how good these series of games look even before you start racing.
RaceNet is something you will also notice before you start racing. Becoming a part of RaceNet will allow you to view quite a deep and interesting stat-tracking system, this system is horribly addictive when trying to set fastest track times on the dizzying amount of events this game has to offer. You are even given a great incentive of $20,000 to sign up for this, which helps give you a good start to the game.
The reason why you would want to buy this game is of course the racing. The single player races are split up into 4 championships, each increase in difficulty and they all have a generous amount of events placed in each. Events is a key word in this game, as this game doesn’t offer only conventional races. Demolition Derbys have been introduced to this game and boy are they manic. Even from early events the A.I is ruthless and car parts are littered all over the arena, I was skeptical about adding these type of events to the series but it’s safe to say that the demolition derby is the most fun event in the game.
“Hoonigan Events” are also a new feature added to the series. These events are all about performing stunts, doing tricks and attempting to get gold via some pretty cool yet tough challenges. Ofcourse all of these new events would be pointless without a great handling system. Driving in this game is pure fun, it feels quite like an arcade racer, yet somehow the cars still handle realistically. Car damage is amazing, with you being able to absolutely destroy some licensed cars as well. All this car damage is made even sweeter due to the game looking just stunning. Fireworks, dust, broken off car parts and again an amazing looking menu system make this one of best looking racers of this generation in my opinion.
Multiplayer is also a big part of this game. The on-line suite is great as you would expect, but it also has a suprisng amount of party modes. Split-screen gaming is becoming a rarity nowadays and its great to see a game that still embraces and entices the aspect of social gaming.
One issue with this title I personally had was they way it explains new events to you. Once you start a type of event you have not played before, you aren’t told what its all about until you’re actually in the event. You are given the option to press a button, which then explains the event to you. But for a few seconds you’re dropped into an event that you have no idea what to do in. This is a minor gripe I had with the game and could be me just being slow 😛
Another minor grip is the sometimes annoying commentary. Of course this helps add to the games manic atmosphere, however after a few hours of gameplay, the lines you hear start to repeat and it can start to jar.
Overall this game is an even bigger departure than Dirt 2 and 3 and I can say that its to the games credit. This is a stunning pick up and play racer which you can make as deep and competitive as you like. It looks great, plays great, sounds great and has an amazing multi-player suit What more do you need?