by powerrave

At first I had no idea of what this game really was. I thought ‘it’s just some dirt racing game. I don’t care I have Trackmania for that’. But then when I got my new graphics card, I got a free Steam key for DiRT2. So as you can guess, after getting my new card to work, I instantly activated the key on steam and tried out this racing game… And boy, were my thoughts about it wrong.

DiRT 2

Okay, so whether you like this game or not is mainly whether you like dirt racing and rally racing or not. Well, that too is not 100% accurate. I personally like dirt racing and such, and after getting into my first race in this game, I felt that I really like this game. Still had to get used to the steering at first, but I soon found out how to properly work with it.

And with that, we get at the controls of DiRT2. As for most racing games, the controls are pretty basic. You use your arrow keys to accelerate, steer and drive backwards. And then as usual, the spacebar is for the breaks. Now the steering can work a bit over sensitive, hold the left or right arrow key a tat to long and the back of you car just flies to the opposite direction. It’s nearly like making a 90 degree turn. At first, this really was a bit of a problem for me, but quickly got the feel of how to properly steer. Main trick, just hold back on your speed a bit. For tight or long corners, you can use holding the key very well to drift straight trough, but for things like slight bends in the road, just one or two taps on one of the keys can already be enough, but that depends on how you want to go into the next turn.

Another big factor that can come into play in a race is damage on your and others there car. Think the highly detailed damage is just for show? Well if you did, then you are wrong. this can greatly effect your driving. If you car is bend in on one side, you will notice that the car pulls to one side, so you will have to steer in against it. This will cause you to lose some speed. When you crash into something like a tree or a wall at high speed, it will be completely over as your car doesn’t work anymore. Whenever you actually take a bit of a rough hit, you will get some nice visual effects that can really give you the feeling of having taken a good hit.

This kind of brings us to graphics. Since I had gotten this with my graphics card, it was already clear that this was mainly to show what the card can do. Now overall, racing games always look better then other games like First Person Shooters. But apart from that, I can safely say that the graphics of DiRT2 are beautiful. Everything in this game looks great. The scenery looks nice and detailed, even-though you won’t always have the time to look at that. The details on the car are great and it really gets dirty from sand after you drove on some ground.

Further, the game has some nice background music, but that is mainly just in the menu’s. While racing, you’re not really paying attention to the music anyway. And then I would also like to say something about the menu. Even-though it looks great, it is pretty annoying. Instead of just a list to scurry trough, you see in fight person view and when you want to get to something else like seeing your achievements, you need to wait for the screen to turn to some couch with some books on. And that’s not all. The menu is divided in two parts. One part being in your trailer and the other part outside. So you can guess it. If you want to change the options or customise your cars, you need to wait for your character to have gone outside to then get the same stuff again.

And the menu isn’t the only thing is dislike. I have tried out the multiplayer of DiRT2 and… It was okay, I guess. Done some races and at a few points, found some lag. Now this could have easily avoided really. It was not DiRT2 that caused the lag, it was Game for Windows Live. When I saw that this game worked with GfWL, I was already expecting something like this. It’s a shame really, having such a lag-fest system in a game like this. Now the lag wasn’t that big and only was there for a short bit, but you know, seeing that bit of lag just makes the game feel a bit less then it should be.

Great Graphics; Great for those into rally and dirt racing; Good and tensioned racing the game offers; Nice music; Car DamageGames for Windows Live, causing lag in multiplayer; The menu with it's annoying time taking-stuff; Steering could have been done better, but should be fine with allot of practice