As I raced along the narrow country lanes, closed in by hedges on both sides, I rapidly approached a blind corner. I hit the corner at high speed and slid out the back end of the car, managing to gracefully drift around the corner. I thanked my lucky stars that there were no obstructions. After a few more corners and a hump back bridge, I slammed on the brakes and slid to a halt. Now I was home, I could finally play Colin McRae: Dirt 2.
Many, many moons ago, I sat in front of my Playstation console, clutching in my hands a copy of Colin McRae Rally. The hype behind the game was huge, and I had been fortunate enough to get hold of an early demo of the game. It was something new and exciting. I put the game into the console and spent the first 20 minutes or so driving my rally car up the cliff faces and watching it roll down. After I had got that out of my system, I got down to the serious racing. Hours were lost to that game.
Other rally games came and went, but Colin McRae just kept returning. Every time a new game came out, I got it and played it to death. As you can imagine, playing theÂ living daylights out of Dirt 2 has been high on my list of things to do for a while.
Developed by Codemasters Studios, Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is available on Xbox360, PS3, Wii, DS and PSP. A PC version will also be available before long. The game offers more than 100 events across a number of different race types and in a variety of different locations. The player will travel around a world map and take part in events as they are unlocked. The types of event range from the standard rally, which made this series famous in the first place, to rallycross, trailblazer, raid and landrush.
Upon loading the game up, the first thing that hit me was that the interface has gone all “X-Games”. Centered around a trailer in what looks like a race meet, I felt that I should be getting my skateboard out. Your pit crew also seems to have taken on the extreme sports lifestyle aswell, generally sitting around in their sun loungers and watching the world go by. Break out the brewski’s!
The trailer and the immediate area outside serve the function of menu for the purposes of this game. Inside the trailer you can find the map on the table which gives you access to the events. On the wall next to the table are the posters for the X-Games in Europe, Asia and America. You will be able to compete in them once they are unlocked. On the sofa is the My Stuff area, giving you access to the details of your career so far. The wall behind that is covered by stickers is your entry to the multiplayer game.
Head through the door and you get access to the My Rides section. Here you can look through all of the rides you have purchased so far. These include vehicles in the categories of rally, rallycross, trailblazer, stock baja, raid T1, trophy trucks and class 1 buggies. Also, if you go to the view area, you can get a nice 360 degree look at your current ride. Also outside are the news and options areas.
As you race through your career, you will unlock new events in different countries around the world. Each type of event offers a unique racing experience. Choose the difficulty level before each race, from casual, serious, savage, extreme or hardcore.
The races themselves are as you would expect. Nail-bitingly tense. All types of off-road racing are cursed and blessed with lack of grip. The ability to slide your chosen vehicle around corners is a beautiful thing, but sliding to far and clipping a rock, going into a spin and going from first to last place is a recipe for a controller through the flat screen tv insurance claim. Having not tried the extreme or hardcore mode yet, the other difficulty settings seem to be a bit easier than I expected. This is further evidence that Codemasters are trying to target a more youthful, arcade driving market, rather than the classic rally sim enthusiasts. This is not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.
The game is ablsolutely gorgeous, with possibly the best graphics yet seen in a racing game, so far. A lot of work has gone into this game and the developers have polished both the tracks and vehicles to perfection. The games soundtrack is also a thing of beauty, fitting in perfectly with the new extreme games image. The visuals and audio enhance the atmosphere of the game greatly.
Take the game online and race against up to seven other people in any of the events from the game, using any car, even those not yet unlocked in the career mode. The online play is, as you would expect, a well rounded affair with easy navigation.
Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is a beautiful arcade racing game, with enough variety to keep most people happy. I do not think it can be classed as a rally game anymore, as the rally component only made up a fraction of the game. I, personally, feel a bit disappointed, hoping for a more rally sim experience. Overall, Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is a great game that provides a beautiful racing experience.