Dirt 2 Demo Impressions

Posted on 27th Aug 2009 at 08:23 by Alex Watson with 8 comments

Alex Watson
After the disappointment of Fuel – which was about as dull and exciting as the coarse fabric pants you could expect to win if you triumphed driving one of its leaden, fart-coloured racers through a fart-coloured post-apocalyptic landscape – I had to admit I approached the demo of Codemasters’ next racer, Dirt 2, with some trepidation.

Fortunately, the recently released demo reveals that we’re mostly back on safe ground, and despite the name it’s not even that brown. That’s because while Fuel was developed by an external studio, Dirt 2 is an inhouse game, and you can tell: Dirt 2 is basically Grid for off-road racing.

That’s no bad thing, as Grid was brilliant – fast, flash and full of varied racing. Dirt 2 features Grid’s rewind-and-replay feature that means you get a limited number of opportunities to zip back in time when you crash and resume play right before the moment you got your Lewis Hamilton mistaken for Lewis out of Inspector Morse.

Dirt 2 Demo Impressions
The Dirt 2 demo features two races, one in oversize 4x4s such as this one

As with Grid, Dirt 2’s action is spread across multiple continents, and on each the racing varies – in the demo you get to try two races. The first is in Baja California, thrashing oversized 4x4s around a bumpy track, and the second is a rally stage in Morocco. As with Grid, there’s an attempt to create a world outside of the races – instead of the fairly dull procession of menus you usually get in games such as Forza and Gran Turismo, the menu options are part of fully 3D scenes. To start the race, you need to highlight your car, which sits outside in the paddock, surrounded by people. It’s a neat idea, but I can see it being frustrating in a full game when you just want to get into the next race.

Graphically, it’s absolutely gorgeous – splashing through water in the Baja California track looks appropriately wet, but the Morocco rally stage is the highlight of the demo, the orangey sunlight thrumming with real, tangible warmth. The sound is effective too, with stones ricocheting off the car is your race through the stage. The racing itself is good, if not amazing. It doesn’t feel as dead as Fuel, but the big SUVs are still a bit slow, and the rally stage lacks a co-driver giving directions which is odd.

Overall though, it’s a very well produced demo that even includes online racing – well worth checking out, ahead of the game’s release – 11th September for consoles, still TBC for the PC.


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Joeymac 27th August 2009, 09:22 Quote
The menu's are fairly pointless. What was wrong with menu's on the first Dirt? They were sleek and intuitive. I want a list of options dam it! I don't need to move a camera around and woosh around some 3D rooms with a nonsensical layout. Plus it takes AGES to get from one menu to the next because you get interrupted by Ken Block or one of his buddies who want to talk every couple of seconds.
And who the hell is Ken Block any way! He might be big on youtube but I haven't seen him win any Rallies. That's the thing about dear Colin (rip), he won stuff!. That's why he was worthy of a game. Same with Richard Burns (rip also :( )
I'll probably rent this game but this "catering to the US market" has clouded up the game. The Baja race in the demo was crappy, those lumbering big cars aren't any fun to drive at all. If they are a required driving class I'll be pissed.
will. 27th August 2009, 10:00 Quote
I'll just paste in my existing thoughts from the Gaming section:

It has moved far too much towards the American market for my liking. The handling was always fun compared to games like WRC or Richard Burns rally, but now it's just ridiculous. Cars just don't act like that.

The inclusion of events like Baja and truck racing is all fair and good, but they have almost forgotten the sport made the franchise what it is today. If they want to take it in this direction, remove the McRae branding from Dirt and carry on with that, but make a new McRae game that takes it back to the Rally roots.

The fact that "Colin McRae" is even on the box is a sign that they know damn well the DiRT wouldn't have sold so well in the UK and Europe without it. They wanted to break into America, so they called it DiRT, it worked, and they've found a much bigger market, it's their prerogative as a business. I just think that they are forgetting the fans that bought the original games.

I stand by my statement, Codemasters are sell-outs. I dread to think what they are doing to the F1 licence.
wuyanxu 27th August 2009, 11:03 Quote
Grid's flashback feature is brilliant. nothing more frustrating when spin out in the last conner. even big titles such as GT5 is implementing this feature.

Dirt 2 looking to be great, no mention of Dx11? is it going to be the first game to support it?
Red 5 28th August 2009, 00:16 Quote
Originally Posted by Alex Watson
...right before the moment you got your Lewis Hamilton mistaken for Lewis out of Inspector Morse.
Sifter3000 28th August 2009, 09:51 Quote
Originally Posted by Red 5
Originally Posted by Alex Watson
...right before the moment you got your Lewis Hamilton mistaken for Lewis out of Inspector Morse.

LOlz :)
tron 28th August 2009, 16:25 Quote
Graphics are good and the 3D menu system is the boss. Codemasters are usually very innovative when it comes to designing 3D menus.

However, the shift now is far too much in the direction of some kind of American X-Games type of thing. Car High Jumps ??? Wow !! What the ... !! The Olympics ???!

I know that Colin McRae had some interest in other types of off-road driving, but if you are going to have a dead man legend's name on a video game title, then the game should (at least out of respect) be a game mostly about what he was known for. If not, then have some respect and don't use the dead man's name to sell the game or mislead European fans into thinking that the game has anything to do with WRC Rally.

The game should have been called 'Ken Block: Dirt 2'

Tbh, I am open minded, but the game doesn't really appeal to me. The very heavy x-game push makes me feel to suddenly cringe and then just drop and roll under the sinister shadow of a great big stone and then politely vomit into the direction of a receiving corner - although some others may like this style of game.
Gunsmith 29th August 2009, 00:26 Quote
tbh i found it amusing but im with those who think its become to american.

its still early days, DiRT had a lot of rally and i still keep jumping back on it for a quick blast through Australia

i'll wait for the final thing on the PC before i cast judgement
GravitySmacked 29th August 2009, 00:51 Quote
Graphically very good but overall so, so. Will have to wait for the final reviews / copy right protection (arghh @ starforce) before committing.
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