At a time when most racing studios are producing updates to their tried and tested racing titles and original racers like Blur were short lived with no future additions to the series (a real shame in my opinion). Codemasters have pulled out all the stops and thrown not just the DiRT name at the game but the same engine (ego) which renders the physics, and environments resulting in sharp graphics with some amazing weather effects. Rain soaked puddles, snow covered circuits and numerous obstacles including tyres bundled throughout the courses really add to the races.
DiRT Showdown is definitely not the point to point racer that is DiRT 3. Instead it’s total mayhem taking the series in another direction similar to the Destruction Derby games of the 90’s. DiRT Showdown features arena destruction as well as circuit racing and skill driving scenarios. It’s all about fast frantic fun and carnage. A fantastic spin-off title worthy of the DiRT name.
Unlike DiRT 3, DiRT Showdown does not support GFWL. It’s a steamworks title which means players will either need to already have a steam account or need to create one. Achievements are unlocked through Steams achievement system.
The single player ‘World Tour’ is split into four championships. Each has the same style of events except they get more challenging and competitive as you advance.
A few of the the various race events are:
8-Ball Eight cars racing on figure of 8 circuits. Progressing unlocks bigger, better and more challenging circuits.
Knockout Arena style destruction mayhem. Cars enter the main platform via ramps and battle to wreck and push rival cars from the platform. Points are awarded for crashing style, wrecking and knocking off opponents.
Domination Circuit racing with points awarded for race position and sector times.
Rampage 2 minute arena style destruction. Similar to “Knockout” except the arena is all walled so there’s no escape. The final 30 seconds is double points.
There are more racing modes including elimination with a timer counting down. When it gets to zero the car in last place is eliminated until eventually there is only one winner.
The A.I. opponents are angry, competitive and border on insane. Makes for great racing. Sometimes it can get annoying especially on 8-ball races when you go through the cross section and the trailing car slams into you knocking you back several positions. The early championships are relatively easy, catching up and taking 1st place isn’t very difficult. The most challenging levels in the game are the hoonigan sessions. Similar to Gymkhana from DiRT 3 but the challenges are a lot more fun and sometimes pretty difficult especially with the times and scores you need to compete against. There’s plenty of cars to unlock for purchasing in the game. Unfortunately it’s more for the pleasure of trying them than anything else. I’ve used the same 2 cars for all my races and managed to simply upgrade them from D class to A class with a few simple upgrades making them better than the ones I manage to unlock along the way.
DiRT Showdown is arcade racing at it’s best. Codemasters have made a great start on a new spin-off franchise. Hopefully this game is the first in a whole line of follow on’s. All racing fans should find something they enjoy in this game whether it’s destruction mayhem or competitive racing sessions. Play the single player world tour or go online and compete against friends or strangers. Either way there’s a great deal of fun to be had that extends way beyond the single player career. It’s a game that will constantly have you coming back for more for a very long time.