Dirt 2: The Ultimate In Racing
Players can experience this game on their platform of choice, as versions of the game are available for the Xbox, Wii and Playstation as well as for a regular PC. As in the first version, the game has excellent graphics that give the user a true-to-life feel. The game menu is based around an RV that the user `drives` around the world, choosing the race locations.
As with most racing games, there are several different modes of play and users can pick their preference. At the core of the game is Career Mode in which players begin as a race car driver who is just starting out and slowly (or quickly) move up the ranks to become a true champion. The progression occurs as races are completed and won. There are prizes to be won along the way, and new tracks and locales open up as a player progresses through the game.
Users can also choose from six levels of difficulty, but choosing a harder level does not necessarily ensure a faster move up the ranks. Eventually, all users will make it so the difficulty level is more a matter of preference and how challenged a user prefers to be.
One of the much-lauded features of DiRT 2 is the large selection of racing venues and locales from which to choose. The graphics are outstanding, making everything look realistic from the tiny villages in remote areas of Morocco to the winding hillsides in China.
Users are also given a choice of cars and the game experience differs based on the type of car chosen, much as a real race track would feel different in a rally car as opposed to a monster truck. The handling of the different types of vehicles differs and the rally cars provide the smoothest ride for users, while the trucks are a little bit more difficult to control.
There are some cool tricks built into the game, which allow users to take some actions that would certainly not happen in a real-life race. For example, the `Flashback` feature allows a user to stop a race in the middle, watch a replay of the last several seconds and then move back to an earlier point in the race. This is a great feature to help users avoid a particular obstacle without having to go back and start the race all over again. A certain number of `flashbacks` are allowed depending on the level of difficulty that the user has chosen for the game.
For those players who prefer to play with friends or as part of a crowd, DiRT 2 allows for playing with others online. Up to seven people can play together as part of the same race allowing for friendly competition among friends.
Overall, the game ranks high in all major categories. The presentation and graphics are of the highest quality. Solid and realistic gameplay is provided and it takes long enough to move through the levels to provide hours of entertainment. The one small downside that users have complained about is that the sound effects are not quite up to par. The car noises are realistic, but the accompanying music is not particularly appealing.
If the sound effects are the one minor downside, you can always turn down the volume and put on your own music and enjoy the rest of the game!
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Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for Polomercantil