Dirt Showdown Review
The Single Player Is Worth Writing This Game Off, As It Feels More Like An Expansion To DiRT Rather Than A Standalone Game
Platform : Xbox360 / Playstation3
Publisher : Codemasters
Developer : Codemasters
So have you ever wanted to take part in a Destruction Derby? Maybe even a Gymkhana event? Or maybe just drive Ken Block’s car? I have! Well don’t get too excited by that promise, because the game isn’t all that. It looks just like the last DiRT game, you know, sunset backdrops, fireworks, lots of tyre smoke and a world where it never seems to rain! Am I the only one that wants changeable weather effects in a racing game? Okay maybe I shouldn't be so harsh, because it is a beautiful game and the sunsets are truly stunning, but given most events occur when the sun sets you can’t help but feel they didn’t realise this not the only time of day people go racing.
The Soundtrack is a decent mix of some great tunes coming from the likes of Rise Against, Nero, Freestylers, Kids In Glass Houses and many more. It stands out as a game that actually has music worth listening to for a change, I like that! Games of this genre really should give more effort to the soundtrack, it adds to the atmosphere and nobody wants elevator music while browsing menus or at least I don’t.
But that’s where the plus points end, because I found the in-game sounds are very subdued. You will T-Bone a car at 70mph causing a “CRITICAL HIT” and the noise that occurs is no worse than the minor bump you just inflicted with a pillow! There is no sense of impact and everything just seems dulled down. Tyre noise is and does give some nice sounds when doing donuts, but there’s no real screeching of tyres when struggling for grip round corners. The engine noise makes all the cars sound very similar, instead of cars having their bubble or squeal they all sound like different tones of the same engine.
Single player career progression is almost pointless, you can win championships without the need to buy a new car or upgrade it for that matter. "Up the AI difficulty" I hear you scream! It doesn’t make much difference, because then you just start upgrading the car. So the AI lets this game down to start as there isn’t much of a challenge.
On the topic of challenge, I’ll talk about a certain game type 'Destruction Derby' or at least that’s what it should be called, because it reminds me of that brilliant game so much, but it crumbles in comparison, because there’s no challenge! Why? Because once you wreck your car you re-spawn! What the??? Are they serious that’s not right is it? When I experienced the re-spawn for the first time it completely destroyed the feel of survival for me because I knew I didn’t have to worry about smashing my car up in order to get a few critical hits.
The Single player career is very short, you will finish it in about eight hours at a push, multi-player may have a bit more life but I doubt it if I’m honest. At first the multi-player element is fun smashing and hitting people off ramps and into walls is great, but it becomes boring pretty quick. Again the multi-player element for me was ruined by that re-spawn element again! It would have been a lot more thrilling if there was some risk to smashing your car up, it would have stolen hours of my life if this was the case. The one thing I liked with the multiplayer was how the car used during the career was yours to use online, upgrades included and vice versa. This is a nice touch and provided me with some incentive to play the rather dull single player just to gain money to upgrade my car for online play.
I know I’m not exactly being kind to this game, but well that’s because it doesn’t really deserve it! I’m kind of embarrassed for Codemasters for allowing this to creep out of their doors as a full retail item. As a DLC expansion to DiRT 3 there would be very little to complain about but given they are charging £39.99. I’m left feeling empty and unexcited about what it’s offering, but it’s not all doom and gloom maybe, just maybe this will mean the next DiRT game will start focusing more on the rally effort and forget its attempt to cover the arcade style at the same time.
In short if you are happy to sit and play online for hours and hours, this game has some life to it because the care free action of ramming someone off a ramp and hearing them squeal is great, but the single player is worth writing this game off, as it feels more like an expansion to DiRT rather than a standalone game.
Gavin Thomas Is A Rare Breed Of Man From the Welsh Valleys.
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