Colin McRae: DIRT Reader Review
Colin Mcrae's Dirt or simply Dirt for the Xbox 360 is the next game in the best selling Colin Mcrae rallying games. Dirt is the first appearance of the franchise on "Next Generation" systems and takes a few interesting steps with the series.
The Colin Mcrae games started off a purely rally racing games but dirt tries something new and introduces six different racing disciplines. These disciplines range are rally, rally cross, CORR, hill climb, crossover and a variety of rally raid races. You don't really need to know what any of them are because the game will inform you when you race. However I think that whilst some people might think that the more options the better in a racing game I don't agree. The reason I like all of the other Colin Mcrae games is because I like the way they handle rallying, and adding these other disciplines only dilutes the experience in my opinion. Also by putting in these extra disciplines it puts it into competition with other better(in my opinion) racing games such as Motorstorm.
The career mode is where you will be spending most of your time and just like all of the other menus is slickly designed. It is that of a pyramid of events and with some events made up of three races it is a very big pyramid. As the career mode progresses you unlock more and more cars and type of cars and the game does keep the type of race varied. It works well but with no other A.I controlled opposition such as in a rally championship it comes down to whether you are self motivated enough to finish the pyramid.
One of the best things about Colin Mcrae's dirt is the interface. The interface is very sleek and minimalistic and other games would do well to make their menu and options screens so sleek.
The graphics in the game are really a stand out feature. The detail of the cars and tracks make it one of the most visually impressive games on release. Also to add to this the cars have a realistic damage model which works well and is very impressive. Also a big feature in this generation of racing games is track deformation, and Dirt has some of the best. It is especially noticeable in the bigger truck races where the heavier vehicles really grind up the ground and can change how you complete the next lap. This feature really gives the game more character and with the graphical standard it has set I think that a lot of other racing game may trouble competing.
The lighting deserves a special mention because it is the first game I have played which uses HDR lighting intelligently and does not over do it. The games lighting overall is very goo and in the sun drenched levels makes the game very scenic and shows off what the Xbox 360 truly can do graphically.
However with such amazing graphics there are sometimes technical problems with the game. For example when the screen is full of cars and is really busy the frame rate can become a little sluggish. This is not a major issue but can sometimes detract from the game play experience and maybe a little more time tuning the game engine may have yielded a smoother experience.
The action in all Colin Mcrae rally games has always been on the arcade side of things and whilst the damage and graphics have the standard of a simulation the racing is pure arcade. This means that the cars sometimes feel a little as if they float along instead of being driven but thats what can be expected in arcade games. The game is very fun and really builds on the previous Colin Mcrae games.
The complete lack of on line racing in a racing game today is disappointing, whilst not many will venture on line to race by making a on line portion you add longevity to the game. With the 360 such a on line community orientated console I don't know what the problems were with on line but if it is was cut because of deadlines I think it was a major mistake because maybe it would have solved the problem of a lack of competition.
Whilst these new changes to the series may entice new players to the series it is done at the expensive of the core components of the Colin Mcrae series. Whereas the new vehicle types could have enriched the game they have only diluted the experience and whereas I understand the developers had to try something new to reintroduce the franchise to the new systems, I think they have compromised the series because of it. Saying that the game is not a bad game it is just average and the gorgeous graphics sadly cannot hide the flaws in this game.
7 / 10