by Joseph Barron
reviewed on X360
A more realistic approach (cntd)
During the career you earn experience points which determine your driver level. As this develops you will unlock liveries for cars and new events. Cars can be upgraded, allowing low level rookie vehicles to be used in more difficult races later on. You also earn money which you use to buy new vehicles, of which there are 35 in the game.
You will meet a variety of famous faces from different off-road disciplines as you play, including rally driver Ken Block. The game suggests that you can make friends or enemies with these people depending on how you drive in races against them. However, even if you ram them off the road every time you meet them they seem to become your friend eventually anyway. The celebrity racers will also challenge you to one-on-one “throw-down” races during your career. They are a nice little diversion from the other events but they don’t add a whole lot new to the experience.
If you played the first DiRT you probably find that DiRT 2 is a little more difficult. There are more difficulty modes to choose from this time around to help you adapt, though there are less incentives for increasing the difficulty, because the differences in EXP and money awarded between levels is much smaller than in the original.
Take your DiRT online
A significantly improved set of multiplayer races can be founded online. Gone are the disappointing time trials. In their place you will find that you can now race in every event type from the single player game. There is also a separate set of experience points called “online fame” to show the world how you shape up against the competition.
The most interesting online mode is the tournament mode. These are weekly challenges set to the players with your final position deciding how much experience you earn. First and second earn huge amounts of online fame points with the top 10% earning a little bit less and everyone else getting some just for taking part. You are entered in tournaments automatically if you complete the goal required. For example, if the tournament is based around setting a laptime on a specific track and you play the track in the single player, you will be told after the race that you have entered an online tournament. At the end of the week whoever is top of the leaderboard for the specific challenge wins the tournament. It’s a similar idea to the “challenges” mode in Rock Band 2 and it should help to keep the DiRT 2 community alive much longer than the first game’s.
DiRT 2 is definitely one of the best racing games on the current generation of systems and an triumphant return to form for the Colin McRae series. If you love racing games and you love rallying then you owe it to yourself to give this a go. There may be competition to come from Need for Speed: Shift and Forza Motorsport 3, but DiRT 2 is a very different, very polished experience that you would be foolish not to try out for yourself, especially if you are a fan of Colin McRae, the man. The game includes a fitting tribute to the late world champion and is the first game released in the series since he died in 2007.
Gorgeous graphics and realistic handling.
Truck and buggy events can be tedious.