Review: Colin McRae: DIRT

The bar is set: Colin McRae: DIRT is what off-road racing games should be like.

Review: Colin McRae: DIRT

The Colin McRae games have been entertaining us for almost 10 years and recently Codemasters had taken a break. But now they’re back and what they’ve brought out is simply a stunner as far as I’m concerned. Colin McRae: DIRT is brilliant. It has a few flaws, but its pros outweigh the cons and you will be sure to be impressed. It is loads of fun to look at and loads of fun to play.

If you love games that look good than you will fall in love immediately. The graphics are just incredible to look at. If you like gloss, shine and a lot of bloom, your eyes are going to jump out of their sockets and dance the rumba all over the car because wow… this game looks good. The environments have amazing detail levels with trees, leaves, blades of straw, fences, and mountainsides being shown beautifully. While not ultra-realistic, it all has a feeling in that it the environment is real and was there from the beginning. The car detail is fantastic too with all manner of car parts existing and showing up at points. If your back window explodes from crashes, you can see the roll cage bars on the inside and lighting effects still bounce over them as if everything is its own entity in the world.

There’s a sense of speed that is present as the landscape rushes by and the AI can be very competitive. It really is a lot of fun to race in DIRT. I personally suggest sitting in the drivers seat from the way you’d actually view things. This viewing angle seems to give the best sense of speed and from that perspective you’ll see that when you hit things, doors can fly off and fences can become attached to the car. All of this really adds to the total experience that Codemasters have worked so hard to put into this great game.

Controlling the car is very easy and you generally won’t have a problem as the responsiveness of the car usually seems to be pretty good. Even when you lose the ability to keep your car straight, you’ll generally still find that the steering is very responsive.

One of the things that seems soft is the way the cars handle. Driving in DIRT often feels like you’re racing on a sea of nothing and you don’t really feel like the action is real until you hit a wall or a tree.

Outside of the single-player experience you’ll find DIRT’s multiplayer isn’t exactly the best thing in the world. If you go online, you can race against others but not on the same track. When you compete against others, it’ll be at the same time but the event will be done by yourself. Because of this, multiplayer really comes down to you competing for times and not having the ability to jam one of your mates up as you try and make your way around a corner which you’d expect a great racer like DIRT to have.

Even though the multiplayer could do with a lot of work, the single player experience is filled with things to do. You’ll get a ton of options for the rev-heads and a massive pyramid career mode filled with track combinations to race on as well as rally types and car models. This makes it hard to not have something to do in the game and really shows how long this game can last.

Still even with a few flaws, Colin McRae: DIRT is one of those games that you simply must have. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it: it is what off-road racing games should be like. If you’re someone who wants to race then you simply must get this game.

Classification– G
Formats– Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
URLColin McRae: DIRT

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark