'Dirt Showdown' brings the demolition
When it was first released in 2007, the Colin McRae Dirt series captured the thrill of rally driving like no other game before it.
However, with each successive title, the series has moved further and further away from its roots, ditching the winding solitary trails for a variety of mini-game styled events.
And Dirt: Showdown continues this trend, taking the game into more arcade-like territory, as you'll find when you first get into the swing of things.
You'll start off in a traditional circuit race, nothing too serious, mind you. But as you progress through the various tiers, you'll take on plenty of fun challenges.
One mode, for instance, has you ramming other cars off a stage. Another has you driving through courses, icons prompting you to perform doughnuts and drifts at certain points.
Then there's the eliminator mode, which sees the last-placed driver being eliminated every twenty seconds. And there are a few more modes on offer too, so there's definitely something to tickle everyone's fancy.
The game presents players with a pretty stiff challenge too, especially in the racing-related modes. Trying to finish on the podium is a tough ask, but trying to win the race will take a couple of restarts if you've got my skill (or lack thereof).
We found ourselves having an easier time in the destruction-type events, with players having to wreck other vehicles or avoid being wrecked.
In fact, the first game that comes to mind when playing these modes was the Destruction Derby franchise, with players meeting in the centre of an arena to do battle.
There are also a few multiplayer-only modes, such as a variation on capture-the-flag and a mode which sees drivers having to hold an item for the longest time.
Speaking of multiplayer, it's one of the game's hidden gems, with players able to post scores and challenge each other to do better.
On the presentation front, Dirt: Showdown is one polished game too, with the cars being front and centre, it goes without saying. Dirt and mud will cake the car as you work your way through the stage, while the damage model, perhaps pared back a little compared to previous games, still results in bodywork flying.
The various tracks and courses are detailed as well, with buildings, vehicles and other bits of scenery on the sidelines. While it doesn't rival the likes of Project Gotham Racing in terms of trackside detail, it's still a great accompaniment to the on-track action.
The sound of Dirt: Showdown is well-realised too, with exhausts popping and engines whining. It's all very authentic, and petrol-heads will love it on a surround sound system.
When it comes to extra features, Dirt: Showdown also features YouTube sharing, much like the previous title. It's a great addition to the formula, letting gamers share their most impressive moments in a pretty seamless fashion.
Codemasters knows what makes a fun racing game, with more than a decade of experience in the genre. And it shows with Dirt: Showdown, making for an enjoyable romp despite the lack of proper rally racing.
Date Posted : 11 Jul 2012