Colin Mcrae : Dirt 2 was released in 2009 as a revamped and updated sequel of the origional Dirt racing game. Featuring over 100 events in diverse places all over the world, with many stadiums and cars to try out and see.
5 basic race styles fill the game , Rally, Rallycross, Trailblazer, land rush and Raid. You play through these as you venture through the world tour mode which will take you from country to country, trying to become the best rally driver in town. Whilst traveling in your camper van which serves as a headquarters, letting you see your stats, races, cars and acheivments.
The races are very different in their disciplines.
Rally races are on off road or closed sections of roads, these are usually very technical driving conditions with tight corners and dangerous hairpins. The action is pumped up because you are against the clock, needing to set a good time in order to progress and win the race. Thankfully your job is just to concentrate on driving as your passenger will read off instructions like "Hard left" or "Corner in 200m" which really helps you anticipate what your going to do.
Rally cross is upto 8 racers on mixed surface roads , competeing for 1st place all at the same time. These really get the adrenaline pumping as it is not a safe environment, with crashes and debris littering the track and making it more difficult as you carry on.
Trailblazer is basically a hill climb, this is done in the same style of rally racing so you must race against the clock to finish higher than the other competitors. These usually use a lot more technology with the cars being made more aerodynamic through diffusers and spoilers, letting you climb the hill quicker.
Raid is another race type for people with strong wits and heart's, these involve 8 heavy vehicles like trucks racing around the track. These are really hard to handle and you need to aticipate every turning , otherwise you will find yourself tipping over. It's extremely difficult to drift with a truck and it's not something I suggest you try.
Land rush are the simplest events and are just a few laps round an ordinary track.
Their are also a few special stages to add a bit more variety, these are gatecrasher (driving through barriers on the best racing line), domination (setting the quickest time in a sector of the track) and last man standing (last place is removed every 20 seconds).
These are intresting additions and give a more arcadey feel to the game, which makes for a nice break after the unforgiving modes of rallying and hill climbs.
World tour mode as a whole was pleasent to play through with a variety of races, although some feel a little monotonous with the feeling that once you have played one , you have played them all.
Whenever you entered a new race their never felt as though their was too much atmosphere of meaning to what you was doing, sure it was exciting but there didn't seem to be any one to care or race for. Leaving the whole experience more of a grind to unlock everything rather than getting fans and recognition.
The game can also be played online with mutiplayer, as with many PSP games the community isn't there for online. But the few experiences I had were relatively good , with a bit of latency here or there but I was in a place with a bad connection.
Play was competitive and fun with all the race types and tracks being available for use.
The vehicles in the game are the most important thing , so they need to handle realistically and be fun to drive. Unfortunatley the PSP version doesn't manage this, the cars have no grip or weight and so float around the track, slipping and sliding as they go and making it quite difficult to take corners in woodland rally sections. In order to turn effectively you have to slow right down and then turn , whilst the AI happily glides around the corners with no issues.
Because of this debris on the roads and trees during rally areas are massive obstacles to overcome and soon , reseting the car beack on the track became as much of the controls as accelerate and brake did.
The controls however are easy to pick up as it is only accelarate and brake that you need to know, but their output is very poor which more than makes up for the simplicity.
The AI can happily drive around , however they feel so sorry for this that they feel they must make it up to you for this dreadful handicap you have been given. The AI wont drive to win at all, when you crash it will drive past you and seem to rubberneck your mishap , before slowing down to let you back into the position you was in.
The game does have a lot of licensing with all the rally cars and racers being their real life counterparts. Celebrity names include Dave Mirra, Tenna Faust and Ken block to name a few and these add a bit of realism and credibility.
The biggest positive of the game is the graphics, the cars and settings do look good with a heavy amount of detail due to the licensing aqquired.
The cars are blocky but good for the PSP and the cars are recognisable with their logos and design.
Environments look quite cool with trees overhanging onto sponsor boards and clouds building in the sky, although it would be nice to see more fans as you will only see 1 or 2 groups as you drive around.
The audio isn't quite as good though as all the cars lack the neccasary punch to make them exciting. The engines dont rumble or sound threatening, apart from the high pitched noise they emit which makes it quite annoying after a while, they may as well be playing Vuvuzellas in the bonnet.
Music in the menu sounds quite clear but it would have been nice to see it playing in the back of the races, not only to help the atmosphere but to cover up the drone of the cars.
On Amazon the game is selling for £17, this is high considering Gran Turismo and Motorstorm offer a better performance and style.
The games general lacklustre play, and a combination of poor controls with polite rally opponents makes the game a little boring. The game does have good content but after a while you dont feel the want to play it, probably 50 hours total of play but 40 minutes of patience.