Review: Dirt Showdown

Dirt started as a rally racing game, hence the name. It had a really good model… no turbo, relatively realistic driving physics, and decent graphics. They kept expanding into the other genres, such as Gymkhana, stadium, and others. Dirt 2 was a pretty good success, and Dirt 3 came out relatively quietly – most received their copy as an afterthought when buying a new ATI video card. I thought they’ve been good the whole way, they really didn’t add too much craziness, which is refreshing. Simulation racing is hard to come by, and Shift 2 didn’t do it any favors. However, Dirt Showdown furthers the non-simulation experience, and they’ve upped the ante with this one.

Fireworks, you can’t escape them in this game. It’s a stadium experience the whole way through. Whether smashing or screeching around you’re in the midst of the announcer, the crowds, lights, fireworks, explosions, flying tires… it’s quite an experience. It’s not exactly the virgin demolition derby simulation I was hoping for. It’s good, in it’s own light but some may not appreciate the full over-the-top experience, drifting around the corners at full nitro and blasting through guardrails.

Rudimentary (Derby) cars are available at the beginning. There are mixed modes, the most annoying of which are the “hooning” – I thought Gymkana was a much more classy name for it, but there’s not so much of Gymkhana and more “driving around at full turbo” expectations with their hooning levels. I’ve gotten a steady 8th place in most of them. I really just want to get through them to get to the demo racing. A Gymkhana fan might feel the same way about the demolition derby heats. I can only speak to the derby portion, but the game feels diluted, it’s obviously shared with the two niche racing genres but doesn’t quite do enough that I’m head over heels.

It’s nice to have the fully capable cars playing demo derby, but the higher tiers of races feel less demolition and more racing. The best part of actual demolition derby is not only your position in the race, but the damage you’ve inflicted being counted towards your total. Even if you didn’t get first place, you can still take it if you were diligent in your destruction. FlatOUT is a great example of this (anything but the last one – FlatOUT 3 is awful).

I want to turn off turbo, fireworks, up the number of laps, and prevent cars from coming back after their death (yes, even my own car) in this game. Dead cars should stay on the track the way they’re meant to be. I want to knock in a wheel well and lock up a tire, crush a corner and stop the axel, and hit with the rear of my car until something pushes the engine off it’s mounts. Sure, I’m having a blast playing it, but overall I’m still waiting for my demolition derby knight in dented armor.

and another…

** update ** 2012 06 16
Played some multiplayer for a while last night. I love the demo derby mode even love the racing but I still hate nitrous and hooning. You can choose ‘everything’ as your mode, or just demo or just racing, etc bit since there aren’t unlimited players it’s a much easier route to go when you’re looking for a public game. In any case half of the events end up being tricks or checkpoints with the gymkhana cars, which is just insane. If I am going to be smashing up cars, give me realistic ones.

It’s fun… Still not worth $50.

** update ** 2012 06 26
I was working all weekend so only got a few races in (or any game time, really) and there were certainly a couple that gave me run for my money. One series of races in particular was wet and rainy and slid all over. I finally placed ok (averaged between the 3 heats) to progress, shortly thereafter the game was over. I went back and got the “Burst the Bubble” achievement and attempted to buy a few more cars but the races I picked weren’t exactly profitable. One of the last unlocks, the tow truck, is amazing in demolition events. I also unlocked the mustang but still need to buy it. The next achievement I go after will be for owning all the cars.

** update ** 2012 07 02
I’ve got another video for you. Some highlights while doing the weekly “Racenet Challenge”

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2 Responses to Review: Dirt Showdown

  1. serin says:

    Just as I was afraid of. I’ve gotten to the point where I can no long progress unless I do better at “hooning” – there are two, one is smashing the right color of blocks faster then everyone. I can’t go any faster (turbo) or else I miss them all or crash or have to back up, making me slower. I get 8th place, last try was up to 6th place between the two events. The other is stringing tricks together. I can’t do a donut in a very small room, I tend to miss the jumps, I can drift under a semi trailer and smash blocks but apparently that is not enough – 4th was the best I placed there.

    This is EXACTLY what I was saying. Someone who wants to play smashing racing and doesn’t give a shit about the damn hooning can’t play the smashing racing because of the damn hooning. …will keep trying (and cursing).

  2. serin says:

    …and the next tier up – same thing. Two hooning levels keeping me from having fun. Break the blocks! Helps when I can’t tell the green from the yellow blocks and the announcer says “What you Colorblind?!” Enough that I can’t tell those two apart. Then there are the trick performances. Sure I can pull them off but there aren’t that many and they don’t give you as much credit for doing the same one. Let me practice a “routine for you”…. just give me my damn points so I can play smashing crash cars. >:/

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