Dirt: Showdown Review
*Note: This is the old type of review with criteria
The Dirt series has help redefined Rally racing. Up until recently it was mostly dirt and snow respectively. Dirt 3 was the first to showcase the new game mode “Gymkhana“. This is what really broke open the series as far as a new experience in racers. However, Dirt 3 still has plenty of dirt, gravel, and snow to drive through in Rally races. Now we have been introduced to DiRT Showdown. Codemasters has been going a slightly different direction in the series since Dirt 3 and it’s success of the new gymkhana mode. Does Dirt:Showdown veer too far off or does it stay on course just enough to still be worthwhile. Read on to find out in our review.
The beginning of the game offers quite a bit of variety of gameplay through different game modes and maps. You will encounter such game modes as Elimination, Destruction Derby, Rally, and variations of such. One large issue with the gameplay is that the normal difficulty mode is beyond easy. I ended up lapping people most of the time in races. After setting the difficulty higher though it became exponentially difficult. Not to mention that even though there are “teirs” of different tours they don’t seem to get any more difficult. In this Dirt game, the gameplay just isn’t very fun, at least not for a long time.
The Dirt series has been known to showcase some pretty impressive graphics from dust flying up on windshield to water splashing in your face. Now while I did play the PS3 version there is a PC version with DX11 capabilities but if you look at the video below the water splashing looks like the graphics were toned down for whatever reason. At least in comparison to the older Dirt games within the series. The cars are as highly detailed as they have been and the tracks look pretty impressive but not a whole lot of improvement over the previous in the series.
Codemasters is known for having a unique yet intuitive menu system. Every Dirt game since the beginning has always had very flashy, interactive menus and this game is no different. The thing that is nice about it is that they are still easy to navigate and straight forward. The downside is since they are animated and flashy they also take a second or two to load. Nothing crazy but it’s the principal of the matter that there is no need to sacrifice load time for game menus just to make them fancy looking. Still though the overall design is easy on the eyes.
While most car games seem to not have good sound as far as realism, Dirt is one of the exceptions. Granted, there aren’t that many cars but even still the sound is pretty impressive. From the engine sounds to the difference in driving on dirt, snow, and even pavement. The soundtrack is also quite enticing and overall keeps the fast pace speed and tempo. The perfect music for racing but not so much for destruction derby. The largest issue is the commentating. It gets kind of annoying after awhile but the worst part is you CAN’T turn it off. You can only turn it down to 50% which is a very poor choice on the developers part. So the majority of the sound is good but the commentating really does hurt it.
The game offers four different tours through the campaign mode, but they don’t offer much of new content or reasons to complete them other then trophies/achievements. Another type of game mode is the “Challenges” mode but the difficulty factor doesn’t apply as this is a single player mode in which you can upload scores online to compete with friends. Not to mention the challenge modes were beaten in about an hour each since the handling is so easy and all the challenges are driving tricks. As far as online, you can do pretty much all the modes including some exclusive online modes. One option the game does have going for it, that seems to be found seldom nowadays, is offline splitscreen multiplayer. The main issue is that their isn’t much incentive to play through all four tours let alone do the challenges. You can replay it a couple of times before it starts to get stale and repetitive.