|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Codemasters Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (8 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Additionally, the game's physics, crash animations, and car damage are of the highest quality. Also, the cockpit view, while a lot more challenging than the standard withdrawn perspective, is a visual marvel. Bucking the trend somewhat are the lackluster track deformation and puddle effects (outside of the cockpit view) - they're unpolished and fuzzy. However, this is a very minor gripe. The game looks great!
Cars also look pretty. And that's a good thing, because there are a lot of them. From buggies and mudders to hummers, pick-ups, and rally-cars, this game is loaded with cool rides that drive and look great. Unlocking and collecting cars with your winnings along with applying liveries to chassis and goodies to dashboards are all rewarding pursuits. What's also worthwhile are the experience points you'll acquire while racing. During the career mode you'll be able to rise in level by placing in events and completing side challenges (metagame mini-objectives). As you increase in level, you'll increase your reputation among other racers and open up new locations around the world. While the Relationship mechanic was created to make you feel like you're actually one of the pros, it feels farfetched and underwhelming. On the other hand, the car/item collection, character progression, and event invitations are smart game design inclusions that keep players engaged.
Even though the Relationship side of the career fell flat, including pro racers in the game was very smart. The inclusion of these professionals seems to lend credence to the title. Though post-event commentary and in-race chatter is often cheesy, using voice work from the likes of Dave Mirra, Katie Justice, Travis Pastrana, and Ken Block keeps the game feeling like the ultimate, licensed rally racer. The music selection is also sound. The contemporary rock anthems and upbeat party tunes suit the game well, and the muffled way they are presented during menu screens keeps the player squarely focused on the fun, carnival atmosphere rather than being disconcerted by a strident, out of balance soundtrack.
DiRT 2 is a worthy successor to the original, getting practically everything right. While I would have liked to have seen a greater emphasis on more technical rally racing, I had a blast with every aspect of the title. From the solid visuals to the sweet tracks, DiRT 2's got a lot to love.
CCC Editor / News Director