DiRT Showdown Review: Should You Buy?

DiRT Showdown Review: Should You Buy?

DiRT Showdown is an arcade-style racing video game released by Codemasters in 2012 for PlayStation, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Arcade, Linux, and OS X. Codemasters’ racing games thus far have been some of the genre’s most beloved. From the PlayStation 2’s TOCA Race Driver to GRID and the revival of the officially sanctioned F1 games, they’ve been a real treat to play. The success of the DiRT series has contributed a great deal to the success of the famed studio. Let’s dive into whether or not this game is worth buying.

DiRT Showdown Offering Broader Scope of Racing

Dirt Showdown screenshot
Custom build vehicles to win the race.

DiRT Showdown looks to broaden the scope of the franchise to include a decidedly American motorsport: the Demolition Derby. The Demolition Derby is a motorsport in which the objective is to destroy your opponents’ vehicles, with the grand prize going to the last driver on the field whose car is still running. 

Fans of the DiRT series from the days when it bore the “Colin McRae” banner might be more than a bit bothered by the seeming change in focus. However, there’s no denying the entertainment value of watching a bunch of people using their cars as weapons in a muddied field while consuming mass quantities of funnel cake.

Streamlined Experience

dirt showdown
Smash into your competition on the track.

The gymkhana-style events that were introduced in the last properly numbered entry in the series will also be making a return in the form of Hoonigan Events. It looks as though the seriousness of the previous entry will be shed in favor of a more streamlined experience. With the focus shifting instead to what Codemasters has stated will be a “world of arcade racing with pick-up-and-play controls” where players will be “speeding, tricking, and smashing their way to ‘Showdown’ finals.’”

While this may sound like it will end up being a somewhat softer experience than the last three DiRT titles, we can be sure that the graphics won’t suffer from the new focus. The Ego engine used to power other titles in Codemasters’ lineup will also be on display here. It’s a good thing, too, as their titles have been some of the prettiest racing games of the generation. They’ve also had some of the best damage modeling, which will definitely be on display in the Demolition Derby-style events.

Engaging Sociability and Features in DiRT Showdown

dirt showdown screenshot
No shortage of immersive environments and tracks in DiRT Showdown.

Codemasters is aiming to give the atmosphere at the events an almost festive, “energized” feel. The social elements from previous entries in the series will also be on display here. Players will be able to upload their favorite moments to YouTube straight from the game, and they’ll also be able to engage in asynchronous challenges, competing for the top place in “Showdown Challenges”.

Some notable features of DiRT Showdown include an exciting and eclectic mix of vehicles. With the new-and-improved vehicle selection players can race through each championship until you make your way to the ‘Showdown’ finale. Each Showdown is held in a unique festival atmosphere where a frenzied party atmosphere, including pyrotechnics and lasers combine with DiRT Showdown’s high-octane driving gameplay. Lastly, every location in DIRT Showdown becomes a thrilling racing theater, custom designed for players to perform on the perfect stage.

Parting Thoughts

DiRT Showdown has shaped up to be able to grow into a series that will be able to coexist alongside the numbered DiRT series, much like how Ubisoft’s Rabbids now have their own minigame compilations. That could also theoretically allow the core series to progress towards becoming catered towards longtime fans, offering something more closely tied to the rally racing roots that have traditionally anchored the series. In all, for racer fans and beyond this game may be worth taking a deeper look into if players have a need for speed. 

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