Review: Dirt Showdown – Such Potential…Wasted!
Allow me to kick this article off with a statement; Dirt 3 was non-stop, action-packed, exhilarating awesomeness whereas Dirt Showdown just isn’t.
Before anyone blows a gasket at my opening statement, allow me a moment to elaborate, beginning with the very few entertaining aspects of the game. The head to head Gymkhana events are electrifying and are almost always down to the wire. Every single car in the game is awesome looking, especially with all the different liveries you can choose from. The Sumo-styled ring event is such a blast to play with friends. The Hoonigan events are epic, especially when you get trick after trick spot on. Finally, the soundtrack is fantastic.
Unfortunately, for me at least, those are the only kudos I can give the game. Now for the disappointments and my word there are so many. The graphics are a carbon-copy of Dirt 3. Yes the game was released so shortly afterwards but that shouldn’t licence the developers a “get-out-of-work” card. The only addition to the graphics is the blue flame that explodes out the exhaust when you use the boost function.
This brings me to my next complaint: the boost function and gameplay. Instead of keeping the cars at their original power levels and adding boost for even more speed the cars seem to have been slowed down. The game would have been more aptly named “Dirt Slowdown”. (Writer’s note, Sorry I had to.)
By doing this the game is still playable for the masses, as the boost never causes a loss in control due to excessive speeds. This also encourages the use of boosting in order to attain a result in any of the events as without boosting your car is way off the pace. This is tantamount to fitting an intercooler on top of the engine block so you can justify having a hood scoop. Sorry Subaru drivers but you know I‘m right, they could have put the intercooler lower down like Mitsubishi or Nissan.
In addition the AI drivers have absolutely no awareness of your presence and will turn in on you either making you spin out or causing themselves to spin out. Also, they seem to have unlimited boost which becomes exceedingly frustrating when you lead an entire race by boosting as soon as it is available only to lose on the line because the AI didn’t run out of boost. That being said no matter how good a driver you are, being in the front and staying there is a rare occurrence and a win is usually a lucky affair rather than a display of excellent driving.
Thus the next critique, the driving in the most difficult setting is numb and makes the Ridge Racer series look like an unparalleled racing simulator. Yes, it is leaned more towards an arcade-styled racer market but it is laughable at how far the Dirt series has digressed in terms of its driving depiction.
Disappointingly this title was unimpressive and so much so because it had such potential coming off the crest of success that Dirt 3 achieved.
However I may have been looking at this game from the wrong point of view. It isn’t trying to be a simulator like its predecessors. Rather it is trying to be a fun, non-serious take on arcade-styled racer. No rules, no FIA and plenty of “trading paint” and all in order to relieve some daily stress, a game that caters for the destructive at heart…nope, because even then it would be rubbish.
Dirt Showdown Rating: 4/10
Check out the Dirt Showdown Website: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/