London. The nation’s capital. Hub of commerce. Den of thievery. Home of an indecipherable network of tubes. After receiving an invite from Codemasters I packed my bags and headed down south, it was time to get my hands DiRTy, and also Operation Flashpointy, but that really doesn’t have the same ring to it at all.
As the first part of this Codemasters preview, I’ll be talking about DiRT 2, keep it tuned to Gamer Limit as on Tuesday I’ll be back with part 2 in which I’ll be talking about Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, if you’re into that sort of thing, otherwise I guess you could look on google for some pictures of bunnies, or unicorns maybe.
The Bafta award-winning team behind DiRT are back, with the shockingly titled DiRT 2. Utilising the third generation of the ego engine, be prepared to power your way through a variety of locations, ranging from L.A, China, Tokyo and even Old Blighty herself as you take to the streets of London.
From being shown the game, and getting my grubby little mitts on it, the first thing you will notice is an uncanny attention to detail. The menu screens are vibrant, full of life and pumping out a soundtrack – relevant to the region you are in – dished out by Kerrang! DJ, Christian Stevenson.
Dubbed as the “strongest racing game Codemasters have released” by the Game Design Manager, Ralph Fulton, it’s hard not to agree. From incredible level design that creates some amazing locations across the world, to beautiful lighting, this is by far the prettiest racing game I have played to date.
The game is brim to bursting with a vast amount of other racers to compete against, a myriad of buggies and rally cars to compete in and a dazzling array of locations to compete on. From customisable dashboards to grand night-time races, Codemasters have set the bar high. Not only that, but they have also been listening to the fans. You will have access to a variety of notable cars across Colin McRae’s career, starting with his 2006 No Fear Subaru Impreza.
There is also a new unlockable mode, the McRae Memorial Challenge in which you will compete against the biggest and the best, including members of the McRae family. Hotly demanded was an online Jam mode, you can take any car, onto any track at any time. As well as this, there is probably the prime attraction of the game to mention too, multiplayer. Not just going for an ideology of “bigger numbers are better”, the team at Codemasters have taken the same engine used on GRID that allowed for 12 people to race at once, and toned it down to 8 people, believing this to be a veritable sweet spot of gaming.
I won’t claim to be the best driver in the world, and if you see me online, don’t forget to wave as you overtake. Despite my clear inadequacy with this game, I still had a blast skidding round those corners and shooting down those straights. Mini achievements will sporadically pop up, alerting you to how you are getting on with elements such as spinning, drifting and jumping. I would even go as far to assume that this happens if you play the game well too.
DiRT merges the technical expertise you’d expect from a racing game – especially a Codemasters racing game – with the adrenaline-pumping arcade excitement of rally driving, ending up with a game that is just a whole heap of fun to play, so keep an eye out come September 11th as DiRT 2 will no doubt be in pole position. See what I did there, that’s a racing pun, I amaze myself sometimes.
As mentioned at the start of this article, on Tuesday we’ll leave the dirt-strewn race tracks as we head into the gritty dirt-strewn battlefield with Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, which is coming to PC, PS3 and 360 on October 16th.