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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Codemasters
Developed by: Codemasters
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-2 (Online)
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: September 11, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Whether it is Sega Rally or a Colin McRae title, rally racers have always found creative ways to incorporate both arcade and sim aspects, keeping the action appealing to anyone daring enough to play a racing title. For those not use to playing rally racing games, they will find themselves thinking they are defying the laws of physics as they are hitting corner after corner with power-sliding precision. Sampling the game with its default settings, provides an easy learning experience for newcomers, but season veterans will find themselves raising the difficulty level, thus making every turn feel like you are on the verge of spilling out.

While there are several modes to choose from, most of the single-player experience will be spent within the Career Mode; an giant pyramid of increasingly difficult racing challenges. Within this mode, you will compete in six different rally events: Rally, Crossover, Rallycross, Rally Raid, CORR and Hill Climb. Followers of previous Colin McRae titles may find an issue with this setup due to the fact that these rally events are spread across the giant pyramid evenly, thus cutting back on how many time trial style races you can compete in. However, considering that DiRT has a grittier look and feel, when compared to previous titles, multi-car races seem to have a better fit in this outing. What separates this version from that of the Xbox 360 and the PC platforms is because this title performed exceptionally well, with a steady frame-rate to boot. The PS3 version operates at a steady 30 frames per second, which wasn’t the case with the two prior versions.

Once you fire up the game in your Playstation 3, you realize that this game is indeed a visual delight to say the least. The environments are very lush, with intense dynamic lighting showcasing the shear beauty of the landscapes, trees and bushes, even the vehicles themselves. Even the damage modeling is a site to see, which for some will go un-noticed due to the desire to run a clean race in order to achieve the best possible race time. Not leaving it out the mix, the user interface is a sight to see, offering up smooth transitions from one menu to another, while creating a since of depth.

However, back to the damage modeling feature, which is an even better than that of Burnout Paradise. If you are driving down a straight-a-way, then suddenly turn into a corner too sharply, your vehicle can crash in fencing and/or dirt mounds, which can cause severe damage to the front-end of your vehicle. If you car crazy enough to drive full-speed into a tree, can cause your driver-side car door to pop off of its hinges and fall off. Not saying that I do this in real life, but the damage your vehicle receives mimics that of real-life accidents, which adds to its realistic look.

Looking at the system even more and I found that you can render your vehicle practically useless. It turns out that the damage system plays a vital role in how your vehicle will run after an accident, versus simply being used as eye-candy. If you keep involving yourself into accidents during a race, especially with the front side of the car, you can destroy your cooling system, which in turn will slowly cause your car to overheat. Your reckless driving can even destroy the surrounding environment, leaving tire marks on the road, bending and/or breaking tree braches when driving alongside a tree.

When it comes to the audio, you won’t be blown away like that of the visuals. Each and every car you hop into has its own distinct sound, which is due to its respective engines. The sounds of your car crashing into a wall, fence, another car, etc. are all excellently produced, adding to the realism perspective the game tries to give off. Your co-driver also lends his vocal talents to the audio soundtrack by informing you on upcoming turns, speeds, and when you loose positioning during the race. This is a nice addition, but there are one too many times where you just want to ring his neck for telling you things you already know and for his life-less voice.

The single-player is more than enough to keep gamers busy for hours on end, but for those looking for more, Codemasters has included an online multiplayer mode (sort of). Up to 100 gamers can race with one another in either rally race or hill climb, but you don't actually see one another on the race track, or each other's race time. The game will notify the winning driver that they won the race.

Another issue with the online multiplayer can in setting up online matches. When you enter a room, everyone votes on one of seven race tracks to race, each only having one possible car to choose from. If you are trying to set up your own race, everything is done at random. You have no control over what tracks or vehicles are decided upon.

Just like most racing games this generation, voice chat has become an important part of the online experience. This feature is included with DiRT, but for some reason it was a troublesome experience to set up. Judging from what little was actually put into this mode, the experience could have been a whole lot better if more time was invested into its playability.

DiRT has one of the strongest graphical and realistic presentations of any racing game currently on the market. Sure there are a few issues that could have been addressed a bit more, the overall experience is one of the best within the Colin McRae racing series. Fans of the older titles will have reason enough to jump into this next-gen experience without any worries of loosing and of the staples that have this rally series one of the most talked about within the racing genres. For those newbies to the series, there is no time like the present to tear up the track, while attempting to make a name fore yourself.


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