Taking on mud, dust, water, crashes and possibly the most annoying voice acting in the history of video games, Game Console recently spent some time getting down and dirty with Colin McCrae’s DiRT 2.
Codemasters’ creative direction makes DiRT 2 a difficult game to like straight out of the box. The voice cast makes the awful DJ Atomika from Burnout Paradise sound like the BBC World Service. Taking a cue from Race Driver: Grid, DiRT 2 follows more of a narrative structure than the first game’s minimalistic menu-driven progression.
Another feature borrowed from Grid is the flashback ability, enabling the player to rewind the race to a previous point in time and continue the race from then. This is a great way to have another go at that turn that totalled your car.
The game delicately balances the ability to control your car at break-neck speed through challenging environments, while keeping you moments from cataclysmic failure at the same time.
Each geographic location offers up a unique experience, with many presented with almost photorealistic clarity. Graphically DiRT 2 is rather special, offering true 'next-gen' visuals without the Vaseline-smeared lens filter effect of the first game.
Being woefully absent from the first game, you can now race against other drivers, real-time, in either collision modes or ghost car style races. Like the single-player game, the online races are hyper-dynamic. One wrong move (or well placed nudge) will send you to the back of the pack in an instant.
Beneath the overindulgent front end beats the heart of a great racer – challenging, varied and gorgeously rendered. It's not really rallying, but let’s be honest, neither was DiRT. A little too much Californian valley boy/girl talk for my taste, but perhaps I'm just starting to show my age. The great single player career mode and the fully fledged multiplayer mode will keep Colin McCrae’s DiRT 2 in your console for a long time.