When Dirt 1 came out many fans became annoyed as the series became americanized and drifted away from its rallying route’s.
Those people will be horrified to know that Dirt 2 has become even more americanized and even less of a pure rally game.
Instead the series has evolved into a off-road racer which combines its rallying heritage with tight circuit racing and X-game event’s and a many celebrity names that will most likely not be recognised over in the UK.
Names like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana,who are extreme sport legends in the US are less widely know over here in the UK which make’s the choice to include them an odd one.
There’s some unusual additions to Dirt 2,like your on track competition talking to you via the radio that can actually ruin the overall feeling of the game slightly.
When you slam into someone on track you do no expect that person to pipe up over the radio with “don’t worry,it’s a tight track”.
However if you ignore the americanized feeling of the game then what you find is a fantastic off-road racer that makes any one who plays it feel like some sort of driving god.
Thanks to the game’s beautiful graphics engine,off-road racing has never looked so good.
Dirt flies off of the wheels and water splashes glisten in the morning sun and it’s a truly wonderous spectacle to behold.
The games damage model is superb and cars crumple with such realism you find yourself wincing as it plows into a wall.
However,it’s the handling model in a racing game that make’s or breaks the experience and Dirt 2’s handling model is beautifully crafted and a dream to play.
Car’s slide round corners with amazing grace and ease,giving novice players the feeling of being a demigod of driving while giving the more experienced players the perfect handling to get those all important record times.
The new career system in Dirt 2 is well crafted,though disappointingly short.
As you may expect you complete race’s over a variety of events,such as Trailblazer which is a point to point race in some very fast cars or your more traditional Rally races.
As you progress you can gain rival racers friendship to unlock more events,but to be honest gaining their friendship is far too easy and you can barge into them countless times and still become friends,making the entire idea seem pointless.
You then unlock the X-game events,of which there are 4.
These spectacular events are multi race tournaments that progress you further along the Dirt tour.
All of this is done through a new menu system that has you walking around your mobile home in a first person perspective.
However the Tour is over far to quickly,taking around 6-8 hours to get through it.
Dirt 2 does not have a huge selection of Cars,instead going with the simple idea of quality over quantity.
The car’s are all fantastic,ranging from Rally cars,Trailblazing beasts and massive Hummers to race in.
But what if you love the first car you buy and don’t want to have to swap cars for every different event?
Well Dirt 2 allows you to buy car “packages”.
These package’s change your car so it can compete in almost every event throughout the career.
This allows you to quickly pick your most loved car and take it through the entire Dirt Tour.
It’s something that should be in more racer’s.
The entire game is also a fitting tribute to the Legend himself,Colin McRae.
You start the game in Colin’s old car and take part in a tribute race to the great man in which other racing legends like David Coulthard take part as well.
disappointingly for a series that has its root’s in Rally racing,Dirt 2’s career mode is only made up of around one quarter of rally race’s and the rest are different variety’s of off-road racing such as Buggy’s.
And while Dirt 2 is the pinnacle of off-road racers it’s still a shame to see it’s rallying route’s slowly disappearing into the background.
Dirt 2 has a great multiplayer mode to bolster its lifespan however,with a variety of racing to keep you happy.
And if you dont want to barge around with others you can choose rally racing or trailblazing,in which case you race each other’s ghosts on track so contact cannot ruin your race.
Multiplayer feels fun to play and will keep you entertained for a while.
At points Dirt 2 feels gimmicky due to its americanised nature and less focus on traditional rallying,but once you get past that you find a stunning off-road racer that thrills players in every corner and keeps you coming back for more.
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Beautiful cars and stunning environments make for a truly breathtaking game.
Off-road racing at its peak.
A short Tour mode,but the multiplayer might keep you going for a while.
It may have lost its pure rally background,but Dirt 2 is off-roading brilliance.