GAME NAME: DiRT Showdown
DEVELOPER(S): Codemasters Southam
PLATFORM(S): 360, PS3, PC
RELEASE DATE(S): 25 May 2012
If you are looking for classic DiRT racing you best look the other way. If you are looking for a visually pleasing, over-the-top, arcade style racer jump right in.
DiRT Showdown is a new twist to the series from Codemasters and while the gameplay is completely different the visuals remain true to form. Well designed tracks and environments are plentiful, it’s just a pity you can’t say the same for the licensed vehicles. Only a very small percentage of your cars are actually non-fictional, while the rest of the game can basically be written off as one big advertising banner. The blatant advertising is so ridiculous that even the difficulty levels are branded. This doesn’t make the game any better or worse but it is just too in your face not to go unnoticed.
There are plenty of different events to take part in, everything from a Race-off which is a straightforward race around a circuit to a number of survival style match-ups call Demolition races. All of these make the limited course selections playable but even with plenty of different modes the courses eventually become overly repetitive. Some of the best modes in the game are the ‘Hoonigan’ modes which include Trick Rush, Head 2 Head and Smash Hunter. Trick Rush, which is similar to ‘Gymkhana’ mode from DiRT 3, starts off easy but progresses into a challenging contest to see who can pull off the most tricks in a set time. Tricks include drifts, airs, and even donuts. Head 2 Head mode is a one on one race in the same fashion as the Trick Rush mode only you are tasked with beating your opponent to the finish line which adds tons more pressure. Finally Smash Hunter challenges you to smash through colour-coded blocks in a specific sequence. Tight cornering and good uses of your boost are essential in this mode.
The soundtrack is what you’d expect from a demolition slugfest racer featuring bands such as Rise Against, Blokhe4d, Nero and plenty of other similar artists. The music goes extremely well with the absolute chaos you find yourself engulfed in. Then comes the commentary… please make it stop. If there was an award for Game of the Year: Terrible Commentary DiRT Showdown would take it hands er… down. With phrases such as “Awesometacular” and “ T-Bone-a-licious” you’d be better off listening to a Bette Midler infomercial on repeat.
Multiplayer and online connectivity are almost forced down your throat in DiRT Showdown. While uploading videos onto Youtube and keeping track of your friends track times and score are nice features you can’t help but feel forced to use them. Normal online racing works well specific game modes and beating your friends online is always more fun than beating the in-game AI. Some minor glitches are noticeable but luckily don’t influence the overall gameplay.
Showdown looks beautiful. While the car may not all be licensed they all have the ‘Codemasters finish’ to them which we have come to love over the years, the same can be said for the rest of the game. While the game does have good attributes it ultimately lacks content and feels as if it is just a little more than DLC for DiRt 3. If you are just after some mindless carnage however don’t hesitate to pick it up so you can devour you friends online.