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I'm not usually a fan of racing games. I like playing some of them but I'm so bad with them that I usually end up getting stuck at some point along the line and have to give up. So you're probably wondering why I bought Dirt and the fact is I didn't, I got it free when I bought a new graphics card and after loading it up, it's made me want to give the genre another chance. Plot: Well it's a racing game so there isn't really a plot to it but you basically start off low in the rankings only having access to the local races and gradually once you've got a couple of wins under your belt, more become unlocked for you. Over time, you eventually travel the whole world racing against the best of them. Graphics: The graphics are top notch. If you have the rig to whack the settings right up, it's a job to play seeing all the different scenery all over the world. My personal favourite was Malaysia with its jungles as the foliage was spot on. Sounds: Although I haven't played the first one (yet), I've read that a lot of people don't like the way the game has been Americanized. I personally don't mind it but it is a bit loud and in your face at times. Gameplay: As you're racing all over the world, there are plenty of different types of tracks to become accustomed to. Each area has a handful of different races to compete in with anything from last man standing to time record races. You don't have to complete them all if you only enjoy certain races but if you're a completionist like me then you're going to have a lot of fun doing so. As can be expected, there are plenty of different cars to choose from too. From the usual rally racers to jeeps you need to learn what vehicle is best for what race although sometimes you have no choice in the matter and have to race with what they tell you. This may sound restricting but I personally think it's a great idea as it makes you try different vehicles to what you may usually choose and you never know you may prefer it. Not only do you have the usual races, there are options to compete in worldwide championships and to compete against some of the well known names in rally racing. Controls: I imagine a lot of people would play Dirt with a controller rather then keyboard as it suits that style of play but I personally really enjoyed attempting it the old school way with my keyboard. It's so simple to use the direction keys and get the corner skidding just right rather then worrying about pushing an analogue stick too hard one way or the other. For me it fits and if I decide to play another racer at some point, I'll definitely give the PC a lot of consideration. Lifespan: To do every event single player wise, Dirt took me just over 20 hours. Dirt's got plenty of replay ability too. Although I didn't get try out the multiplayer side of things, like with any racer, you can expect to play Dirt until bored as with Dirt certainly isn't going to get bored with you. I did compete in the tournaments available each week while playing though. Basically is a multiplayer goal but with a single player experience. You get given an objective be it the fastest time or the most crashes you can do and it all gets recorded on a leader board and depending on where you come, you get fame points to use. Although I'm not one for achievements, if you're that kind of person they are pretty easy to pick up. I earned 35/47 giving me a total of 790g and that was simply playing the game and picking them up as I went. I think the only ones I was missing were the multiplayer ones and the one where you have to ride every car in the game. Overall: My only problems with the game was the lengthy process of getting Windows Live up and running with it as you need to have an account to play the game and I would of liked to of tinkered around with my car rather then getting given a set car. Although there was a huge selection of cars to choose, I would have liked to of personalised it more then only having a choice of a few different paint jobs. Dirt is addictive and fun. It's one of those games you can leave for X amount of time and still get right back in to when you return. If you're looking for a racing game where you're not racing around paved track all the time, this is definitely the game to choose.
Graphics should never be the measure of how good a game is but this ones a beauty, polished off with Direct X 10 effects and realistic physics this game should make rally fans very happy indeed. Racing from the cockpit shows off the level of detail that has been put into this game. A warning to pc users, this game uses copy protection using Games for Windows live. After using the windows 7 RC and changing to Windows XP I found that I could not use this game again since the system did not recognize the fact that the game is tied to my email address. I will update this review after testing the latest patch. Online play is smooth and tends to always end in the one off incredible crash, making the competition level only higher. Ghosts of players are again an excellent feature helping you to push your skill up to master the tracks. Single player on this game is a well rounded experience offering multiple kinds of races, fans of the original may not like the selection of race modes since this game has more American rally events as well as point to point racing against the clock. Each car offers a new challenge, since each car performs so differently. This game is compatible with Track Ir, I've tried it and it actually feels like your sitting in a rally car; if you ever get the chance to try this game with Track Ir please do try you won't be left disappointed.