DiRT 2 Hands-On Preview

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DiRT2screen.jpg

So this weekend we were able to get our grubby paws on the nearly-1GB demo for DiRT 2 and give the two included modes a good run for their money.

With the original DiRT getting mixed responses from fans of the Colin McRae rally series the second game had some changes that needed to be made in order to sort the community out and keep everyone happy.

So here it is and it’s releasing in not too long, so click through to find out if it’s going to be worth the cash.

The DiRT 2 demo comes with two modes that can be played in both single and multiplayer. These come in the flavors of Trailblazer, which is similar to a rally stage but with no navigator; and then Land Rush, which has buggies, raid vehicles and the sort racing simultaneously around a circuit.

I can say right off the bat that the handling has been significantly improved over the first game. Gone are the days where you car felt like it had wheels made of marshmallows. The new driving physics bring back the fun of off-road racing and especially rallying now that you can once again kick your tail out before a corner and then gracefully powerslide around sweeps and hairpins like a pro.

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Not only does it feel better but it ups the fun factor significantly, once again allowing fans of the series to enjoy the driving for what it is.

The graphics in DiRT 2 are remarkably pretty and will have your jaw on the floor in no time flat, especially when it came to the large open Moroccan rally stage that was seen in the demo.

The menu interface for the game is maybe one of it’s coolest features. Instead of navigating boring text menus, you are put in a first person view of your trailer and can then pick what to do from there, including going outside to change your car, settings etc while literally hundreds of people are walking around at the off-road event where your trailer is.

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Players can now also customise their dashboards with cool little nifty-bits like a dashboard hula-girl and fuzzy dice to make it feel a bit more close to home. One of the coolest features, although I assume only for the Xbox 360 is that you can choose to have a little figurine of your Xbox Live Avatar (outfit and all) dangling from the rear-view mirror.

Multiplayer in the demo was limited to ranked online play only, so no custom private matches were available although you can invite friends into a party and then join team vs team races as well.

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The surprising thing is that even though we were playing with folks that live on the other side of that big blue wet thing, we pretty much experienced little to zero lag at all, which was a really great surprise to us outlanders of the online world.

If there was anyone that was going to be critical of DiRT 2 it was going to be me, while I didn’t think that the original was bad, I didn’t enjoy the gameplay and found that the cars handled like boats when compared to some of the incredible rally games that we have seen in the past from the Colin McRae series.

My mind is now at ease, the game drives well, looks fantastic and will have great multiplayer modes for people to enjoy with their friends, so DiRT 2 is definitely going to be seeing my money.

I would also very much like to thank iPeg Gaming DSL for sponsoring the bandwidth for our downloads.

Last Updated: August 24, 2009

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

  • Roland Browning

    You are SO WRONG!! LOL.

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