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A Racer to Rally Around- DiRT 2 Review

DiRT 2 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3. Developer: Codemasters, Publisher: Codemasters ESRB: T

During the late 90’s, when most gamers immersed themselves in the depths of the Gran Turismo series, I found a worthy alternative in the Colin McRae games. Forgoing the arduous license tests and devotion to tarmac surfaces, Colin McRae Rally served as an admirable introduction to the sport. Over the years aficionados have watching the series steadily evolve and even offer a splinter diversion (GRiD), which would compete with Digital Polyphony’s well-regarded series.

In 2007, the game lost not only the Colin McRae moniker (in the U.S.), but also the carefully honed mechanics that vigilantly straddled the line between punishing simulation and arcade-like cakewalk. Players could wrap speeding gargantuan tracks around corners with relative ease, making the diversion little more than Daytona in dusty environments. It’s painfully evident that the recently released DiRT 2 remedies it’s predecessor’s physics model; most likely players will careen their Subura Impreza’s into the game’s first hairpin. Now, gamers must diligently throttle, and apply the brake pads judiciously if they desire success.

With over a hundred events, DiRT 2’s single player campaign has enough substance and variety to give prospective racers a sense of contentment. Gamers start their careers with a series of singular races, and soon head into heated, multi-tiered competitions. Modes range from the more traditionalist point-to-point rallies to the novel Gatecrasher variation, which requires players to collide into collapsible barriers that are scattered along the course.

Many contemporary racing titles require a near-perfect run; a single crash typically means that players will be eliminated from the winner’s podium. DiRT 2’s incorporates GRiD’s Flashback feature, allowing players to jump back in time. With this inclusion, players no longer have to quit and restart races due to a single errant miscalculation.

One of Codemasters greatest achievements in DiRT 2 may not be noticed at all. The title does a spectacular job at disguising the requisite load times between races. As statistics are splashed on screen, or maps are panned across the screen, the game streams in data, creating a seamless experience. More noticeable is DiRT 2’s elimination of a clunky menu system; gamers navigate around a stylish and immersive interface that recreates a racing team’s RV-based headquarters. One aspect that will be painfully obvious to players is the title’s integration of the extreme sports culture. Everything in DiRT 2 screams ‘extreme’, from the abundance of in-game adverting down to the garish green cover art.

The third iteration of Codemasters EGO engine rivals the visuals found on top tier racers, competing favorable against visual powerhouses like Motorstorm: Pacific Rift and Gran Turismo: Prologue. From the arid Moroccan deserts, where racers leave convincing trails of dust, to Croatia’s mingling of flora  and rubble, each of the game’s nine central environments is both lovingly rendered and distinctive. While the game’s single player campaign presents a habitually solid framerate, slowdown can occur when several racers cluster in DiRT 2’s online modes. The game’s sonic delivery is impeccable, from the bass-crammed growl of Hummer engines, to the in-race chatter that incorporates surnames.

DiRT 2 is the consummate sequel that improves upon its predecessor in a multitude of ways.  The title’s comprehensive range of difficulty levels gives everyone from racing newbies to finicky veterans a considerable challenge, and more importantly-allows player’s to enjoy themselves. With an extensive amount of racing diversity, as well as a proficient local and online multiplayer component, DiRT 2 gives off-road racing fans enough content to easily warrant the game’s entrance fee.

                                                                 DiRT 2 was reviewed on retail Playstation 3 code.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. First.

    Those screen shots look so lifelike, they are hard to believe.

  2. Never played a single Codemasters racing game, although I hear they are some of the best. One of these days I will break down.

  3. I cant stand racing games on the ps3. No hardware bias, I just don’t like the controller.

  4. Those pics look real. I cant really tell they are a game. Very nice.

  5. You’re missing out. They make the best racing titles. All there other games are sketchy at best, though.

  6. Great review. I even liked the last Dirt game. I didn’t even notice the physics.

  7. dont really like racing game, but I got to say the graphics are so sweet.

  8. On my list to get before Christmas.

  9. Any differences between the PS3 and 360 version. I thought the PS3 version of Dirt was the better version.

  10. I heard cars can get flat tires. Is that true?

  11. Good review, even though Burnout is the only racing game I’ll ever need.

  12. What does the DRT stand for?

  13. Yeah, they also spent three extra months on it. I think both bad advantages/disadvantages.

  14. Intelligent Zombie

    Man, DE you are a reviewing machine! When you do sleep? Great review.

  15. I gotta say, I don’t think the physics were bad at all in the first Dirt, and really this games feels exactly the same.

  16. Trying reading this:

    A lot of people, though fans of the first DiRT, had reservations about how the cars handled – specifically how gripped to the road they felt. Has this been changed or altered in DiRT 2?

    We’ve really gone totally back to basics with that and rebuilt our physics system so it’s much more, dare I say it, a simulation, although that’s generally a bad word around our studio, but it’s much more realistic. In particular, what we’ve done is work on the weight of the cars; the way weight transfers around them, that’s simulated much more realistically. The tire physics; the tire modeling, that’s all been completely rewritten. So tires actually have tire pressure and that affects the way that they move and the car handles. A tire can completely deflate, and all of that means that the cars have a weightier feel and are much more predictable as a result. So, symptoms you’re reporting about DiRT are things we’ve heard a lot about from people, and I think they’re fairly accurate, and we knew that was one thing we had to go back to basics on and fix for DiRT 2, and we’ve done that, and you can be the judge.

  17. If you buy this at BB this week, you can buy a steering wheel for $20. Anyone know how good it is?

  18. Thanks for the link.

  19. A real steering wheel? wow…

  20. No, one for the PS3.

    Here’s a link to it. Seems like there’s some problems getting the PS3 to recognize it. At least it’s wireless and has force feedback.

  21. Really nice looking

  22. I’m sure they are pretty much the same.

  23. $20 for a wheel doesn’t seem too bad, if if it takes some time to get it working.

  24. Why would they take McRae’s name off the game in the US?

  25. Seems the series is slowly becoming more Americanized as it goes on.

  26. I rented this today and I have to say I like the first game better. This ones way too slippery.

  27. I remeber playing the PS1 games of Colin McRae. Fun times.

  28. I guess it’s between NFS: Shift and this for the racing crown.

  29. I’m about to go get one. I’ll report back in a few hours (days?)

  30. I might have to get it just for the name.

  31. The interview was interesting, and made me want to try this one out even more.

  32. I never though GT:P looked all that great. MS:PR really does, though.

  33. I guess the auto smilies kicked it. Meant to say Gran Turismo Prologue and Motorstorm Pacific Rift.

  34. Sorry, but Forza 2 blows them both away with depth. I’ll be waiting for the third game.

  35. Although I don’t like racing games, I enjoyed reading the review.

  36. I heard the game has a nice tribute to McRae.

  37. FYI- Fry’s has it for $49. My Best Buy let me price match it, plus get the wheel for $20.

  38. $70 for a wheel and game combo isn’t TOO bad. I need to know how good the wheel is before buying, though.

  39. Does Codemasters still have a 900 telephone number to unlock items? I remember they did that with last gen games.

  40. I wonder if these kinds of games will help my real world driving.

  41. Burnout….are you serious that is a shitty game compared to this, Dirt 2 is a great game, the handling is a little “slippery” but even with that little flaw it blows the burnout crap out the window with ease

  42. Finally, someone who doesn’t worship Burnout like a god! YES!