|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Codemasters||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. 11, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: Multiplayer (1-100)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
April 5, 2007 - You have to love the feel of driving your car through dirt whether in real life or in a realistic game. Over the years, the traditional racing has grown to include this chaotic adrenaline rush as much and as often as they can. Unfortunately, none have built up the reputation that Codemasters has with its Colin McRae series. Constantly improving on their series, Codemasters has delivered time after time on the expectations of the series. Now, with the next-gen consoles ripping up the market, it is only fitting that we get the chance to unwind on a dirt road with the latest installment into the already impressive series.
Probably one of the more interesting things about Colin McRae: Dirt is that it has been built from the ground up. When Codemasters says they rebuilt the franchise for the next-gen consoles, they mean it; even the menus have been redone. As to be expected, the visuals will, of course, be breathtaking in every sense of the word. The proof of this is that the videos look as good, if not better, than several of the screenshots do. That alone is something to look forward to. Puffs of dust clouds erupt from behind the speeding vehicles as the tires dig deep into the curves of every turn. Beams of blaring light blindingly splatter against the highly detailed vehicles as they zoom along the tracks. Even the individual blades of grass add to the sense of both realism and attention to detail. If the backgrounds will not be enough to mention the amount of detail put into Dirt, then the physics of the game will make you a believer. Codemasters, who has never had a problem with impressing us with their detailed modeling capabilities, takes it a step further. Using a soft body mechanic in order to display the bends and scrapes of the vehicles in real time adds that special spark to the damage modeling we all love and appreciate. It's Detailed so well that you will actually be able to see nearly ever piece of damage you have caused to your vehicle all in real time.
Then, there is the audio of the game. The audio will be created on the fly and will be fully dynamic with the rest of the game. Instead of prerecorded versions of the Doppler and reverb effects, Codemasters has recorded individual samples of every section of the engine; instead of using the tried and true speeding up or slowing down of RPMs revving, Dirt will capture the realistic sounds of your vehicle's every little sound effect of the engine, giving us the dead on accuracy of the real thing we should expect from the next-gen consoles.
The camera angles displayed in the trailers also show some nice new touches to the series. Of course, traditional views are present - the first person perspective, roof top view, bumper view, and the under the helmet view, which gives you a view of the wheel from inside the vehicle, but one of the highlights in the trailers displays an overhead view. Racing with this view causes the camera to bob up and down when going over jumps and to shake as you take a turn. This approach to the camera gives the experience more of a television presentation approach. There also appears to be no loss of control or accuracy while racing in this view. Subtle advancements like this are the ones that will further capture the realistic appeal of the game.
The gameplay itself will most likely be in the same vein as previous installments, except this time around it will be more U.S. friendly; there will be ample amounts of themed locations and vehicles based on the U.S. We can expect to compete in Rally raid, 4x4 events, hill climbs, and much more, including the entire run of Pike's Peak. Codemasters has stated that if it can be done off road, then it will be in this game. One example of what they are talking about is the multi-car races. Not the traditional rally racing ghosts, but actual cars that you can charge into, lock wheels, or cause sparks to fly as you rub against them. Though the full detail on the levels of multiplayer has yet to be revealed, you can be sure that this new game mode will play heavily in multiplayer.
With over 45 vehicles, 100 liveries (unique designs), and nine styles of Off-road competitions, Colin McRae: Dirt is shaping up to be the next big racer on the next-gen systems. More importantly, it is shaping up to be the racing game that others might build off. If nothing else, it will show us what to expect from future installments from Codemasters into the Colin McRae series. Colin McRae: Dirt is set for a June release on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Be sure to check CCC for the full review of the title in June.
CCC Freelance Writer