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Dirt 2 PC Game Review

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Dirt 2 is the sequel to the off road racing game called Colin MacRae's Dirt.

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    Colin MacRae's Dirt 2 PC Game

    dirt 2 box art   Dirt 2 PC Game is an off-road racing game that is the sequel to Colin McRae’s Dirt. From what I have read online, the game is still called Colin McRae’s Dirt 2 in Europe, but they dropped his name from the title in the United States. The real Colin McRae unfortunately passed away in a helicopter crash in 2007.

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    Gameplay Features

    dirt 2 screenshot   In Dirt 2 PC, you begin a career in the off road racing circuit and work your way up through the ranks by competing in events and earning money and points to buy new equipment, new vehicles, and so on. This type racing game model is used in other games like the Need for Speed series, and I love how it gives you more to do that just race around in circles. Your customization options are limited compared to some more technical games, so you don’t need to be a car person to understand the upgrades.

    The races vary between your usual race to the finish line, time trials, and so on. The game also keeps up with your stats like fastest lap speed, longest jump, and other things that help track your progress. The online multiplayer racing is equally as fun where you can compete against real drivers instead of computer-driven vehicles. This changes things quite a bit when you’re not going up against somebody pre-programmed to follow certain paths.

    My only complaint about the design of this game is that it’s a little menu-heavy. Sometimes you just want to hit a few buttons and race, but this game makes you select this and that on various different screens and it gets a little tedious when you have to do it every time. A lot was put into making for a realistic environment back at your home area, but getting from the main menu to a race takes a lot of user input.

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    Difficulty

    dirt2 screenshot3   Your car can take damage in Dirt 2 PC, although it only lasts for the duration of the race. What’s interesting is that your vehicle will react accordingly to the damage. For example, if you crash into a wall with your left fender, you might find that the vehicle suddenly wants to favor one side. This essentially penalizes you for continually crashing into other vehicles or barriers on the sides of the track. If you keep hitting them, you’re not going to have a chance at winning the race.

    On the plus side, this game has a really cool feature called flashbacks where if you do wreck, you can actually go back a few seconds in time and correct the problem. I love this feature because too often you’ll be doing really well in a multi-lap race, then have one slip right at the end and blow the whole thing. By using a flashback, you can correct your error without having to run the whole race again. It may be kind of like cheating, but it does help keep frustration levels down.

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    Controls

    You are greatly encouraged to use a gamepad or some kind of controller to play Dirt 2 PC, because it is virtually impossible any other way. You can play with the keyboard arrow keys, but I’d be impressed to see anyone do so and not place last in a race. The reason is that you need a controller than can handle sensitivity based on how much you are turning, otherwise you’ll just spin out of control. That being said, I thought the controls in this game were pretty solid. I hate racing games where it’s too easy to lose control of the vehicle, and this one gives you some room to play. The key to it all is learning how to take turns without losing too much speed or momentum, and that’s pretty much the secret to getting through all racing games.

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    Graphics and Sound

    dirt 2 screenshot 2   You won’t find any complaints about the graphics in this Dirt 2 PC game review, because I found the game to visually impressive. My computer is three years old, but I am running a modern video card (NVidia GeForce GTS 250) and this game runs quite smooth on my system. The cars are constructed with full details that become even more evident if you crash and do damage. I also thought the racetrack environments were very well done with lots of obstacles like hills to jump and water puddles to splash through. While you race through the maps, you can see animated people on the sidelines clapping and cheering you on, and I like to see little details like that.

    The graphic engine in this game uses what I can best describe as motion blurs to show sudden movement, and it really adds to the realism of the game. I was impressed by the physics of it all as the cars jump and crash, plus I have to admit that I like seeing dirt and mud fly while I am racing around. I think off road racing games are superior to regular old asphalt track racing games because the environment is much more challenging and volatile.

    A full soundtrack of real songs, as opposed to computer synthesized music, makes up the music you’ll hear while racing. You’ll also hear lots of narration and comments from other racers, great engine and car sound effects, and more. It’s even better if you have a surround sound set of speakers for your computer.

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    Overall

    dirt 2 box art   I was very impressed with Dirt 2 PC and the fun it delivered. The career mode is a lot of fun and its use of a leveling system makes it addictive to want to run through just one more race for the points. The combination of a single player career more with online multiplayer race action guarantees that this game will enjoy a long play life on your computer. If you like racing games, especially off-road ones, you absolutely must get this one.

    Be sure to check out the free Dirt 2 demo that lets you race two different vehicles on two tracks. It’s a great introduction to the game and will really make you want to play more.