STAFF REVIEW of DiRT (Xbox 360)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007.
by Chris Groves

DiRT Box art Well up until this day I thought I would never play another off-road rally game in my life. Well that all changed after playing the demo for DiRT after downloading if off the marketplace. What killed me the most was the overall looks of this game and well its amazing. You will love the effect this game has on your ability to drive a car or truck in any other game out there. Nothing compares to DiRT as you think it should. Especially with the mix of tracks and roads you will be driving on as you make your way to the top and its a long ways up there. The more you progress through, the more points you get unlocking tracks above your racing tier.

I was especially pleased at the opening video as it just screams get as close to the edge without falling off. Mind you in game that is more like dont go near that edge or you will fall off. This title will definitely change your views on off-road racing as the look and style of game play is up to par if not more for current Off-Road Racers to date.

After you play the first 10 tracks you start to really get in tune with the controls and how the cars, trucks, and buggies feel on the different types of terrain. That all comes to an end though when they put you on 2-3 paved tracks at once and then toss you on a light dirt track. You thought you were in control but think again as each time the track terrain changes you have to change your driving skills.

I personally like the bumpercam view but in all honesty its a little low for this game. They do offer more than just that the view from the cockpits 2 camera angle is just amazing. As you go from race too race you start to make some big amounts of cash from $120,000 too $400,000+ which isnt bad for beating the crap out of your car since you will need to fix it. Some of the races are just nasty with hairpin corners and jumps with a sharp bend 40 feet after. I had one jump I hit at full bore and well I missed the road and ended up flying off the cliff. Yes I did that one over a few times for the fun of it. Your navigator gives you specifics of what is coming up When he is in your car. Sometimes you race alone and that is kinda nerving since you are used to directions being shouted at you.

Multiplayer was great besides the fact you race alone. It does offer an advantage over others as all the races and cars are different each time you race. Mind you sometimes its nice to pick and choose once in a while besides vote. Talking to people while they scream about falling off a cliff or slamming into the trees is the best relief during a really tight race.

But the detail they put into this whole package is probably the best part in my opinion. First off when you start the game you expect some cheezy arse standard rally type menu but when it kicks on your like "WoooooW". The windows are poping up and flying by and your selecting away like a kid in a candy store. I love it how when you start a game you get to see your stats all the time. My favorite is the longest time on 2 wheels. Yeah that one you want as high as possible. The cars visually are really well done up too especially the damage aspect. There are seven zones on each car that you can damage or make fall off. I mean I had one race where both doors were missing and well I think after I was hung up on that tree I knew they did kinda fall off. On thing that really peaked my interest was the start of the Ockfen Germany Race.

The camera swoops down in front of the car as im revving the engine and I see the mud protector for the intake opening and closing. The best is seeing your nice uber clean car at the start of the race get all nasty and dirty as you do lap after lap or fly through checkpoints. When watching the replay on some of the races you can even get a nice view of all the suspension and in slo-mo watch the spring compress and all the tie rods and sway bars compress. I purchased a car on one of the races and during the replay I noticed that with each rev of the rear mounted engine it would torque the exhaust system and the sparks would fly. In all honesty Codemasters really did a nice job visually for this title and I hope their next one is built off this game and they take it even further.

Now when you slam into a wall the crunch of the panels and the smashing of glass is music to my ears. Tearing down a gravel road and the rocks and dirt flying through the wheelwells and banging up on the rocker panels is quite nice and seeing as I have driven like that its quite realistic for sound. I really enjoyed how they added in the menus and loading areas some well done up music and with Travis Pastrana as your narrator you will quite enjoy the way the game is playing out and the end of each race. As you fly down some of the roads and hit jumps at a nice brisk pace you land and the sound of your suspension bottoming out and the frame just tearing along the road is bone jarring because you wonder if something broke. When you start driving off the road is when more of the sounds you thought you wouldnt hear come into effect.

I passed over some rocks and you can hear them nailing some of the panels underneath and the grass whipping against the front bumper. I did notice that some of the engine noises are a bit repetitive and the exhaust sounds as well. Now each vehicle tearing down a gravel road or pavement is usually the same and you cant complain about that since the hills and rocks are inches from wrecking your race.

In all honesty there is not much to complain about this title other than they could of done a bit better on the feel of the vehicle as its a more arcade/sim style racer. The cars did feel a bit light on the track but overall they ran great. Multiplayer yes could of been better as you race by yourself with 100 others and its hard to get the voice going to talk to others.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.4 / 10
Visuals: 9.6 / 10
Sound: 8.8 / 10



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