DiRT Showdown for PlayStation 3 Review

DiRT 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.

The Hype

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high-octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

DiRT Showdown is a brand new dive in and drive adrenaline rush of speed, style and destruction from the creators of the multi-award winning DiRT series. Players jump into a new world of arcade racing with pick up and play controls, speeding, tricking and smashing their way to ‘Showdown’ finals to compete against rivals in front of thousands of fans in a vibrant festival atmosphere.

The Reality

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 entertaininment 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 are available at Wal-Martfor PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. Real world peripherals like racing wheels really enhance the experience.

Review: DiRT Showdown

Where to Buy: Amazon.com and other stores

Price: $59.99 (SRP)

What I Like:  race variety, excellent car physics especially on damage, sharp design, thrilling “no holds barred” racing, driving styles make levels quickly conquerable, online racing

What Needs Improvement: commentary occasionally irritates

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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