DiRT Showdown Review


Player(s): 1-2
Extra Features: Local Multiplayer (2 players), Online Multiplayer (2-8 players), Leaderboards, Download Content

Dirt Showdown is a racing game developed and published by Codemasters. Like other Codemasters racers, the game looks gorgeous. It has easy menu transition from the start and the entire navigation from the main menu is quite flashy. The game has a Tour mode and a Joyride mode as its two main single player modes. Tour mode allows a player to go on a tour through several varieties of events while working your way through four total tour modes. Each tour mode has around 13 events in it. The game constantly keeps giving you a different style of event and you'll need to beat it to unlock more events, gain money for upgrades and unlock new vehicles to buy.

The gameplay modes are classified as Racing, Demolition, Hoonigan and Party (online). For Racing, you have Race-off, Domination and Elimination. Demolition features Rampage, Knock Out, Hard Target and 8-ball. Hoonigan has Trick Rush, Head 2 Head and Smash Hunter. There is also a Party mode for online multiplayer with Smash & Grab, Transporter and Speed Skirmish.

With the Racing mode, Race-Off is your basic race between eight cars across a course with the common road jumps and extra debris found along the usual racing circuit. Domination is a mode where points are awarded when a player passes between two sets of green lights on the course. Setting the fastest time while moving in between each set of lights awards a player with points - basically, the player with the most points at the end of the event wins. Elimination is an event that has a constant timer counting down. The player in last place once the timer reaches zero is eliminated.

With the Demolition mode, Rampage is an eight car demolition event where all cars crash against each other to gain points in an arena - wreck another car to gain even more points. Knock Out is similar to Rampage but all cars crash against each other and try to push other cars out of the elevated arena to gain extra points. Hard Target is a mode where all cars must try to survive from being totaled while new cars enter the arena - survive the longest to win. In 8-ball, the course has a few cross-over areas where a player must move along a turn then go through an intersection of oncoming racers (behind them) which can easily crash into the player.

With the Hoonigan mode, Trick Rush is a mode with a course that players must race along and perform tricks and finish the course within a certain amount of time in order to win. Head 2 Head has two racers that compete against each other in performing tricks on two separate courses. At the end of the first round, the players are switched and must compete on opposite tracks on the next run. In Smash Hunter, a player must smash a certain color of foam colored bricks lying out on a course and must avoid different colored bricks.

With the Party mode (online mode), Smash & Grab is a mode where teams must grab loot and keep it for the longest. Cars can collide with each other to take possession of the loot. In Transporter players must grab a flag and return to their base with the flag the most times in order to win. Speed Skirmish is a time-based mode where players need to race through 6 checkpoints in any order in order to finish the event.

As you can see, the game has a lot of variety in its event setups. As you complete the events, you will unlock several new events with different stages. Stages have dirt, water and snow laid out along the tracks. The main problem that I found with some of the events is that some are overly hard or not that fun at all. The Hoonigan events were hard for me to adjust to overall. I would be trying to perform stunts against a CPU opponent that flew through his stunts in seconds. The Smash Hunter event feels tacked on overall as well. The game looks gorgeous in terms of graphics. Each shiny car has tons of detail on it and there are several cars to choose from! This game has tons of unlockable cars that can be gained from playing the event mode. Each car has several different unique colors that can be chosen as well.

Besides the event mode, Showdown also has a Joyride mode, which allows a player to choose from two different areas and freely drive around the area and perform stunts from a list. Extra packages (icons) can be collected through the environments as well. Completing stunts will unlock extra portions of each stage with new stunts that can be performed there. Challenges in Joyride include smash, donut, drift, jump and spin challenges. I actually had the most fun with Joyride mode out of all the modes since the mode is an open area free play type of mode and allows you to do whatever you want on each track.

One problem that I did find with Joyride is that the markers don't always help out much for showing what to do. With stunts such as drifting, it would sometimes mention an area to drift through, but it was vague with the descriptions. Some actual location markings could have helped instead of just a circular marker.

The soundtrack for Showdown is all licensed tracks and it has a great variety of them. Many times I would hear a completely different track per race or joyride stage. The sounds of automobiles is pleasing, but some sounds such as the announcer in the event mode can get very annoying with his overused jokes that he will repeat a few times per event type. Showdown controls great. I don't play racers that often, but the game is easy to pick up and play. Each vehicle has a different feel to it and it's easy to pick up on that when moving in between the different cars that the game offers.

Dirt Showdown offers a lot of variety in event mode and it has several stunts that you can perform while in Joyride mode. The game has a good bit to offer in its single player. A player can upload videos of actual play to YouTube to show off. The online mode allows for up to 8 players total. It's an overall good racer if you like a big selection of cars and just overall variety in your gameplay.

The Good:
+ Many unlockable cars
+ A lot of event variety
+ Joyride mode

The Bad:
- Some of the events are not as fun as others
- The announcer for the event mode can get annoying with overused phrases
- The markers in Joyride don't always helps for completing some stunts

Final Rating: 78%. When it comes to fun and variety of cars in a racer, Dirt Showdown delivers well!