18 Jul 2012 18 Jul 2012
First of all I recently bought this game in the Steam Summer sale for 4,99 EUR and it is a steal at that price, not many people play it online and I have struggled to explore that component, so this review will be solely based on the single player experience.
Any negative votes please leave a comment below; any criticism is welcome rather than a silent ‘thumbs down’. Please take into consideration that I have had to skate over some details in the effort to be more concise in this review.
PRESENTATION = 5/5
On with the review, instantly you will notice the exemplary work in transforming the menu and UI into something more unique and accessible. The interface has a nice splash of colours and everything seems to be teeming with life, from inside the RV to outside, it definitely reimagines the way UI should be modeled in a game. I think other game developers should take a leaf out of Codemaster’s book, considering the presentation is top-notch in this game. One of the most memorable things about the first Dirt game was simply navigating the menus and how much of a joy it actually was.
GRAPHICS = 4.5/5
Coming hand in hand with the presentation, the graphics instantly jump out at you, ranging from the menus to the cars to the locations (Baja, Morocco, Utah etc) they really have done a great job in captivating the surroundings and really immersing the gamer in believable environments in which to race, rally or roll in. The cars all look amazing, with the unique liveries and the cockpit views, a lot of attention to detail has gone in here (mind you not as much as a Forza game but definitely a considerable amount) so you’ll rarely find yourself wanting more.
GAMEPLAY = 4/5
First of all there are ranges of difficulties suited for every player, whether they be a novice gamer or a rally game enthusiast. Increasing the difficulty increases the reward and I felt that somewhere between ‘casual’ and ‘serious’ would be the Gaussian curve. The cars are quite responsive and I haven’t really tweaked the car setups enough to shed light on the scale of realism in the game but there seems to be a fair share to tweak depending on the terrain and the player’s individual driving style. I personally used an Xbox 360 Controller with the game as I felt it was just more comfortable, the buttons are simply mapped out and there seems to be options in changing it to suit preference.
The game also employs a ‘rewind’ or a ‘flashback’ feature, the amount of times of which you can use it however is limited to your choice of difficulty. Various game types are available such as Raid, Rallycross and GateCrasher. These however lose their charm quickly and for me seem to rob the core Rally aspect of the game. There are no ground-breaking or unique types and I found myself tiring to see the same game types being presented to me in a different ‘wrapping’. I also felt that their disproportionate share were made to increase the overall length and size of the game rather than to provide any real variance in pace of the game. My personal favorites stay Rally and Trailblazer (a more open point to point event similar to Rally, without prompts).
SOUND = 4.5/5
The soundtrack for me is personally outstanding, the likes of Silversun Pickups, White Lies, Queens of The Stone Age, Bloc Party, Friendly Fires and many more are present throughout (albeit not during the races) and the game does a clever playing of the chorus or high tempo segments during the loading screen to really get you pumped for the race.
The cars sound, well, like cars and the sounds change when you’re in the cockpit and you can also hear the terrain being tread with your tires quite distinctively.
LONGEVITY (SP only) = 3/5
The single player doesn’t seem very long and it can get tedious. The game tries to break it up by introducing tournaments and such but they simply seem to drag the game on further. I felt an opportunity was missed here and we didn’t see much progression in terms of the main character and relationships between the other drivers. It all seems a bit bland as a whole and doesn’t make you feel like you’re part of the bigger picture or really making an impact in any sort of way. Nevertheless it is driving game and story and progressions shouldn’t be held to accountable.
ACHIEVEMENTS = 3/5
As a disclaimer I haven’t got all the achievements in the game but gauging the TA ratios and my skill I feel as if I have ground to comment on them. Also only SP achievements are considered as the online community is quite dead/absent and may require boosting.
Some are very easy to get and don’t require a lot especially when they can be done on easy, another missed opportunity there. Others seem aptly bound to the game as any game of it’s genre would have them.
One thing I loved was the pace at which you receive these achievements, in other words you’ll always be receiving a few achievements here and there every other couple of races, which can be nice rewards and feel like you’re making ample progress into the game whilst having something to show for it. But hey that’s my opinion and it’s difficult to be unbiased – others will think differently.
TOTAL = 24/30