DiRT Showdown

DirtShowdownDiRT Showdown, the latest installment in the award-winning DiRT video game series, features racing events, demolition derbies, and special stunt (a.ka. Hoonigan) events plus split-screen multiplayer and online options with competitive challenges in on and off-line modes.

Destruction, thrills, and mayhem rule this visceral pick-up-and-play off-road racing/action video game. The booming sound, colourful designs and fantastic graphics all create a fun experience using simple control interfaces and option first person or third person views.

Players advance through four skill levels that include over 50 different events with four championships. The off-road fun drives from three main areas – racing, demolition, and tricks (a.k.a. hoonigan).

Racing events include the mainstays like nitrous boost, ramps, shortcuts, and various obstacles, which add more challenge to increasingly complex courses, which require players to learn some amazing moves. Special racing events include “8 Ball” where dangerous crossover points always add unpredictable thrills.

Vehicle handling, physics, sound and action animation all impress. The intensity also ramps up when racing against AI foes. In many races players can expect the unexpected shunt, hit, or bump near the end – usually the last and second-to-last laps.

The demolition derby events showcase great environments, which incorporate ramps, raised platforms, and various barriers to the already highly volatile areas.

The EGO-powered damage engine increases exciting action scenarios even more. I felt this mode had the most entertainment value, but it was a photo finish with racing and the next racing category, which contains the most challenging aspects – hoonigan/trick events.

Players can be their own worst enemy as they try to complete stunts against other drivers competing separately on the same course on the opposite side.

The impressive handling system requires masterful skills to get air, drift through curves, complete donuts, and smash through obstacles quickly and precisely.

The high challenge level also includes free roaming challenges where players chose their best course of action to complete the tasks at hand. The freestyle gameplay and large areas require expert controls skills here.

Status displays and menus are always big and colourful so it’s hard to miss any pertinent information driving at high speeds. Unlocked cars and options come crashing down to the ground as players choose from the large blocks, which also prominently feature various products and their respective companies.

The online racing options can include an eight player players maximum while the on and off-line quick-fire party-type racing games also add a nice social element. The split-screen multiplayer option create an essential two player dynamic. All these collective player racing options nicely accommodate any needs, wants, and desires.

Players can also issue new ‘Showdown Challenges’ to compete with friends in on and off-line modes.

Vehicles include saloons, muscle cars, pick-up trucks, hearses and vans and new vehicles include Ken Block’s all new Gymkhana FOUR H.F.H.V. Ford Fiesta.

Players drive in various conditions in daytime or nighttime in the sun, snow and rain. Racing locations include big cities like Miami, San Francisco, London, and Tokyo while other “stately” locales include Nevada and Michigan.

Game developers populate the settings with thousands of fans who emit impressive, loud reaction as a group and as individuals. Get too close to a wall and fans will react realistically. Lasers, light, cannons, and even pyrotechnics also add some flare to the festivities.

YouTube integration (at profile screen or access separately) lets player upload their video clip directly to the video site in single player events while the “crashback” feature offers replay options from multiple camera angles.

The multiple levels, visceral racing experiences, and numerous unlockables make the follow-up up to DiRT 3 stand out among the racing game crowd.

Also available on PC and Xbox 360. The exclusive hoonigan versions of DiRT Showdown were released at Wal-Mart for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. Real world peripherals like racing wheels really enhance the experience.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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