Colin McRae DIRT 2

It has been two years since the tragic death of rally legend Colin McRae, it has also been two years since Colin McRae DIRT hit the shops.  The first game was a joy to play and look at but sadly missing a few things, mainly a decent online multiplayer, so I was hoping that all of the issues with the last game had been dealt with.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved DIRT, it was a fantastic game and still sits on my shelf, but it wasn’t the full on rally game I was hoping for.  Sadly DIRT 2 isn’t the full on rally game I was hoping for either but it is bloody fantastic, a joy to play and superb eye candy to look at.  The ego engine that was used for DIRT and GRID is once again tuned to perfection giving us some of the best in game visuals for a driving game, the folks at Codemasters always seem to know how to make these games look amazing.

First of all I have to point out that the game has been Americanised to the max with the soundtrack, in game characters and even some of the stages.  It is not necessarily a bad thing, it does help the game appeal to a wider global audience but it can irritate at times having Dave Mirra ask you if it was necessary to take him out on the first corner.  That aside, the presentation is super slick and things move along at a cracking pace, if you are even slightly adept at driving games you will have a few wins under your belt in no time.  Your central hub is the interior of a Winnebago camper van where you can alter options, view bonuses, start online races or more importantly race through the world tour.  With the tour you have a map of the world where, as you progress, different areas and races are unlocked.  At first you are channelled in to certain races where you can gain money and experience points which then unlock other classes and races, you are then free to race wherever you want and in any order.  This all works very well as you don’t get bored with racing the same discipline all the time and there is a great variety in races and vehicles to race in.

There are several different disciplines to choose from including Rally, Rally Cross, Trophy Truck, Baja, Trailblazer and a few others, some share the same types of rally cars which can be customised to suit the race.  Dune buggies and trucks can also be raced in game but they don’t have the same appeal to myself as the rally cars, they seem more cumbersome by comparison and lack the accuracy of the cars.  The handling on the cars is absolutely spot on, they can be driven at speed and flicked into or round corners without huge crashes, they can be steered through obstacles and the like with great accuracy making the whole experience even more enjoyable.  Most of the racing, this time around, has you competing with other drivers on the tracks at the same time as yourself, instead of solo point to point racing.  As much as I wanted to only play point to point rally, the other cars make for exciting races and can really get you going as you are powersliding round the last bend with two other drivers all trying to finish first.   This also paves the way for the now included online multiplayer with up to eight people all racing together, the interface all works well whether you are playing with friends or in ranked races.  There is no discernible lag and the experience is as much fun as it should be.  You can choose from a wide variety of options in how to set up an online game with all disciplines and tracks and cars catered for, with a group of like minded friends this is great fun.

Many people were expecting a legendary edition of the old Colin McRae games, which sadly this has not become.  My biggest bugbear with the game is how little of the overall product has been dedicated to Colin McRae.  Yes his name features in the game but it is not until you win all of the featured X Games competitions that you actually unlock anything remotely related to him.  The first unlock is a moving tribute video, very short in running time, but perfectly summing up the great man, it also features the best use of Biffy Clyro’s Mountains song ever.  Next up is a memorial rally driving an old Mark II Ford Escort featuring motor racing legends and some of Colin’s family as competitors, if only more of the game could have been like this it would have been a worthy tribute.  As it is the tribute is a bit muted in favour of the Americanisation of the rest of the game, it doesn’t make it a bad game one bit though, just mildly disappointing.







2 responses to “Colin McRae DIRT 2”

  1. Tony avatar

    The demo scored big points for me by having Elbow on the soundtrack. I’ll probably be investing at some point.

  2. Ben avatar

    Really want this, but as always the PC version is held back in what seems to be a trend lately.

    Not played a good Rally game since Sega Rally and FUEL didn’t really fill the gap in anyway shape or form.

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