|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: June 19, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: Multiplayer||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
June 27, 2007 - First thing I want to make clear is that for the longest time, I have felt that Gran Turismo was the best racing simulator ever created. For a lot of people that may ask, I still do on many levels. I know what you are thinking: there have been many other games that could easily challenge that title. You would be right. However, if anyone suggested this and did not name DiRT as the game to replace the adoration of the Gran Turismo series, I would say you are in for one of the best races you have experienced from the comfort of your couch.
To prep those who have not seen even a glimmer of the beauty that awaits them in DiRT, I feel like I must provide a public service announcement. So here goes; for everyone out there that could potentially suffer from their eyes exploding in their sockets from the sheer beauty of a game, you may wish to only allow your eyes a few seconds at a time before full exposure. Now that that is out of the way, I feel better. DiRT from the opening screens of the game grips your hands and drags you through the mud feeling every anxious turn, every scrap against the paint, and grips you even harder as the bone-crushing roll of a wrecked vehicle until the word DiRT splatters along your screen. Of course, an opening movie can be misleading about the quality of graphics in a game, but DiRT continues to deliver time and time again with each new racing venue you will grind your tires into. So, if you are looking for a realistic racer then you need look no further than DiRT. One check for extraordinary graphics.
Varieties of vehicles, 46 licensed vehicles in all, are offered for your rallying pleasure as you progress throughout the game. The interesting thing about the career mode is that it is not set up the way I have seen in a lot of racers. You will have a tier system that you will have to work your way through in order to say you are top dog amongst the other mud eaters. It works like a pyramid system with the final tier being eleven. At the beginning of each event, you will be able to choose between vehicles you have bought throughout your career or the freebies given to you. Each vehicle sounds different and handles differently. This attention to little details may be nothing new to the plethora of racers out there, but with DiRT you can honestly get used to a certain vehicle that handles the way you wish it to around the treacherous corners you will take. After all, this is a rally racer, so if you are not comfortable behind the wheel of a vehicle, you will be eating more than dirt. In addition to the variety of vehicles you will choose from, Codemasters takes the personalization of the vehicles in a gear head approach. If you understand the inner-workings of a vehicle, then this is a game designed with you in mind, with in depth tuning options that in some cases only gear heads can wrap their heads around. For those of us that are not adept to mechanical issues of a vehicle, there are plenty of help narrations for us. Another check for believability and options for vehicle tuning based on the terrain you are about to race.
DiRT receives its last check of approval from an unlikely place: the sounds of the game. There are few racing games that can boast about the pains taken to authenticate the sounds of their vehicles. DiRT is one of those games. Instead of taking the norm of having a soundtrack blasting in the background while you race, they only allow the sound of your vehicle's engine and the crunching of rubble under your tires. Not to worry though, there is an infectious soundtrack that will play through replays and at the menus screens.
There are a few problems with DiRT you may feel might hinder the game from meeting the standards set by a few next gen racers. One of these is the multiplayer option for the game. When the game boasts the possibility of racing up to 100 other anxious dirt lovers, you can't help but feel a little excited yourself. Seeing all of those vehicles kicking up the dirt for the ultimate prize of first place or plowing into your competitors just to take their spot as you advance on, the possibilities of what the multiplayer will be like is limitless. Unfortunately, your hopes and dreams of that much explosive action is quicker decimated as you realize you are all alone on the track as you race against your online competition. You won't even see them on the replay. Another fault of the game actually comes from the graphics. My complaint here is that the damage at times looks too cookie cutter to be believable. It would not normally be a big deal except that everywhere else the game generally excels graphically.
Even though DiRT has a few faults, there is no denying that the game is the most fun you will have with a racer because, despite those faults, DiRT delivers on a level that is something to marvel from rally racers. If you are an asphalt loving racing fan, then this one you might want to stay away from, mainly due to the different mechanics put into rally games versus conventional racing games. However, if you love getting dirt stuck in places the sun don't shine or if you are looking for something fresh to suck you in, then DiRT is the racing game you have been wishing for.
CCC Project Coordinator