Dirt is the latest racing game for the Xbox 360, developed by Codemasters, and it is full of tense moments hanging out on the edge of losing control. Of course, with a name like Dirt, the game focuses on off-road action, but there are many tracks for those who prefer their knees skinned with asphalt.
The career mode starts off with the typical tier lineup of short races. You score enough points in one tier and you progress to the next. Depending on your performance, you get cash to upgrade and buy more powerful vehicles. During the first tier, Dirt flings several different modes your way to give you a taste of what it offers, from mus, pack racing, pavement, and even lets you drive a few big rigs. There is also a Championship mode for traditional rally fans, which lets you set up full rallies, complete with repair segments between stages.
The car lineup focuses on real life rally cars dirt buggies, and other four-wheeled mud-catchers rather than exotic expensive vehicles like Ferraris.
Before you even start a race, you know this isn’t any ordinary game. The opening select menus are full-on 3d resembling the interface from “Minority Report” or “The Matrix”. In addition to being virtually whiplashed between the menu options, you are also presented with your current race stats (which can be almost as painful as the multiple crashes you’ll witness). US Pro-racer and X-games gold medallist Travis Pastrana also provides driving tips while the game continues to load.
This is a good time to make sure you have a friend with you, because once the race starts, you’ll need him to pick your jaw up off the floor. Dirt’s graphics are extremely realistic and eye-poppingly, jaw-droppingly, smack yo’ mamma good. The game features lush trackside vegetation, realistic reflections (which dull as your car gets dusty) and realistic landscapes. The car models are stunningly detailed, including the interior views, which actually change and crumple to reflect the car’s damage, and probably the best I’ve ever seen.