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DiRT Showdown – Review

Posted on June 19, 2012 AT 02:26am

We’ve all got our prejudices, and anyone that tells you different is a liar.

I really, reeeally, wanted to dislike DiRT: Showdown, the new arcade-style racing game published by Codemasters and developed by Codemasters Southam. Ever since Codemasters released that train wreck of a third person shooter Damnation back in 2009, I have taken all of their game releases with entire tablespoons of salt. That being said, after only a few events in DiRT: Showdown, I was completely hooked and pleasantly surprised. Given a fair shot, even non-racing fans will be in for a hell of a fun time.

Much like the legendary Mario Kart and Twisted Metal franchises, DiRT: Showdown appeals to those gamers who want a little more carnage with their car races. Sure there are upgradable vehicles and tracks to explore across international locales, but this entry into the Colin MacRae Rally series focuses more on the destruction derby aspect of motorsports than just rally racing. This more aggressive approach to motorsports style suits my natural affinity for causing cars to fishtail out of control rather than simply drafting to get to the head of the pack. While the vehicles in DiRT: Showdown don’t pack blue homing shells or transform into mechanized death machines, they are more than capable of causing enough damage to increase the insurance premiums of everyone else around them.

A wise man once said “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Butchering of the English language aside, that quote holds true in DiRT: Showdown unlike any other racing game you’ve played in a while. The game’s AI can be outright relentless on higher difficulties, adding extra replay value to a title already likely to exhaust whatever upcoming free time you may have. Showdown’s tight and responsive (yet forgiving) racing controls are a blast to master, whether in a standard or elimination-style race or during a destruction derby event like Knockout or Hard Target where smashing into enemies isn’t just encouraged – it’s necessary to win.

Gamers who want every last morsel they can get from the game will also love the head-to-head competition of skill-based Hoonigan events and the freedom of the mission-based free roaming Joyride mode. If you find yourself confident after a few events in any mode, I highly encourage taking DiRT: Showdown online for a reality check unlike any you’ve ever experienced. Not only do human competitors add an incredible amount of excitement and unpredictability to the races, they ultimately force you to become a better driver on your way to the finish line.

When it comes down to it, DiRT: Showdown is an absolute joy for racing fans who prefer to celebrate post-race with an energy drink and a rebel yell as opposed to a fancy cocktail in a bar overlooking the coast of Monaco. Explore the intricacies of the game’s control scheme and many modes, but don’t get too distracted by the beautiful environments or you’ll end up as another statistic used to scare reckless motorists at traffic schools. Record and post your best wrecks online for all your friends to see, then be sure challenge them out for an even more satisfying racing experience. Take DiRT: Showdown out for a spin, and get ready for an unexpectedly fun ride.

DiRT: Showdown is available now for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC from Codemasters.

Related Video:

DiRT Showdown Developer Interview

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