DiRT 2 Review (PSP)October 10, 2009
The things I put myself through for this site sometimes. And what is the thank I get for it?. NOTHING. That’s right. You readers and your ungrateful whiney and lack of comments. You’re the reason your father left us and why I have to take Prozac just to get out of bed every morning!!. *sobs loudly.*
I’m sorry.. I.. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. it’s… it’s just, this Game..
This game, on more occasions than I can count, had my scratching my head and wondering what the hell the developers where thinking. It was either that or it gave me something that hopefully Nix will get rid of.
Ok, Well… No sense putting off the inevitable. Let’s get this over with shall we?
Lord save mah Soul!..
If you loved the game play mechanics, smooth physics, tight controls and the thrill of blazing at scary speeds along cliff faces that you got from DiRT 1 and 2?!. Then completely skip this game and play those instead!
Basic controls are as follows.. blah blah blah blah. If can’t figure out the “complex” controls of a racing game then all hope for you is lost, buddy.
To give this thing credit, it gets it half right. Driving the trucks and buggies is fun most the time, they feel pretty good, have some heft behind them, but are still fairly maneuverable. They react pretty realistically as they go over bumps and come off of jumps and such. The cars, on the other hand, Don’t feel nearly as good. There stiff, very prone to fishtailing and over steering. and once you get into a slide in this game there is no way of getting out, and it happens a lot! Typically in rally games, I go right for the actual rally part, driving the cars, They where always more fun to me. This game was backwards, the cars didn’t feel right at ALL and I avoided doing those races until I had to in order to progress. I went for the trucks. Which, according to this game, are all the same. There are no statistics for any vehicle. At least none shown at all!. Clearly, a BMW is going to go faster than a big hulking Herbst Trophy Truck. But what about the more subtle differences?. Well, you won’t find them in this game. Basically. the big’ums go slow, the lil’ ones go fast. That’s as defining as this game gets. How about tweaking? tuning? etc etc. Nope, you’re biggest choice is “Do I want the Hummer 3 in blue or black?” There are no customizations to be had at all.
At the start of your career, you select which bracket you want to start in. Since everything else is locked, you start on Clubman. From here, you select your Race set. a set of 2-5 races that you most complete to progress to more Race sets, and on to higher brackets. after picking a race in a race set, you get your car. You get to choose from 2 whole vehicles!!. yay!. and after playing over halfway through the game, you can select from 3 sometimes!. HOLY CRAP!. Seriously though, this game’s selection of…ANYTHING is so severally lacking. In ALL, you get 14 vehicles and 15 tracks. Many of those “tracks” are simply reconfigurations of other tracks. There are no upgrades, no cash, no stats. The only thing you unlock are new paintjobs and body kits. that is all. Oh, and the ability to continue playing. But that never counts.
The A.I. racers that you’re up against are really erratic. For one thing, the game never gives any sign that you are even there. the other drivers with ram into you, drift into you from the side, oblivious to you’re presence on the course. And to give you an idea of how bad the handling is on the cars. on many instances, the AI lost control do to oversteering, fishtailed, and was stuck in a wall. On one instance even, the game glitched HEAVILY. I was in the lead for the entire race. only to have a car APPEAR IN FRONT OF ME for a split second, then vanish, and teleport back to it’s position. After that though, I was stuck in second place, yet, there was nobody in front of me!. I had to reset the race. It was a great big "OOhh, that’s bullshit!" moment.
Aside from the typical racing, the game also contains a “Challenge” section. Where it will have you do things like trying to get as much airtime as possible using ramps, powerslide as much as you can until time runs out, reach gates along a course at a certain speed. At first, these seemed like they where going to be kind of fun. Until you realize you can just cheat to win.. and in the case of the powersliding, it’s just broken to too stupid amounts to be fun. Let’s talk about the Airtime challenge. You drive around a course that you’ve driven 800 times already, except there are ramps all over the place, allowing you to jump and get some airtime, you have a set amount of time until you reach so many seconds of airtime. The airtime is collected from each jump, so don’t worry about trying to catch 10 seconds all in one jump.. ‘cause, it ain’t happening, just make a bunch of small jumps. Oh, and don’t bother continually circling the course either. I was able to beat all the airtime challenges by repeatedly jumping from the very 1st ramp, back and forth. yeah, great game design. What about the powersliding you ask?. For one thing, what this game apparently considers a “power slide” I consider turning. With that in mind… it still asks you, at the “Pro” level (highest difficulty.) to do 2 minutes with of powersliding in… 3 minutes. So, you achieve this by steering left and right THE WHOLE TIME. on a long straight away? well you better wiggle your stick left and right or you’ll never make that time.. sounds fun doesn’t it? The speed challenge is good. if you’ve played any Need for Speed since Most Wanted. it’s basically a speed trap mode. and the final “challenge” is Elimination. Yeah, a Challenge map here is what every other racing game has as a basic mode in there games.
After you finish the career mode, all your hard work is paid off with.. The End credits. Yeah, that is it. After wasting a few hours on this game, the only thing I got was a credit roll. and not even a good one, As the credits roll through, you’ll see pictures of the dev team. Thing is, MANY of them didn’t have there pictures in the game, instead it was a generic guy in a racing helmet. Not just 1 or 2 people, like 6. So, did that mean 6 people where so disappointed they didn’t want there faces seen in this game?!. I wouldn’t doubt it.
And so, we’ve come to the partial birth abortion of the game.. The other part is the sound. But, lets start here. There are so many disappointing aspects of the graphics. For one thing, it all feels like half of everything in the game was developed by competent programmers, while the other half was programmed by a team of people who just started working on Flash games you find on Myspace.
Look at this screenshot for example. Doesn’t look bad, now does it?. The car model is pretty good, texturing on the car seems pretty high. And then look at the course. looks kind of ugly. snow is just a blank white, hills have a low poly rate. There is ripping in the polygons to the right of the car along the road. one of the trees looks like a bunny rabbit.
Now, look at the 1st screenshot I posted, aside from the course looking a little shadowless, it’s not bad. But then look at the vehicles! Sure the modelling isn’t bad, but the shading and texture work is terrible!. And that is pretty much how the whole game is. Sure, there is a real-time shadow following you’re car.. big, effing deal. It looks blocky and crappy, and without the subtle shading on the car that follows that real-time shadow, it actually just looks stupid. on MANY courses, there are overhanging cliffs that cast shadow, you see the shadow along the ground, and it looks alright, then you’re car drives under it and doesn’t change at all. So, you have this really brightly lit car driving through a dark shaded area. It looks pretty bad. If you pick the right car and the right course. the game can look pretty good!. It was such a lopsided experience sometimes that I wondered if my PSP was broken somehow!.
This is another case of half the developers had an idea, and the other half where freed chimpanzees from the New Jersey zoo. Most of the vehicles don’t sound very good. Some like growling kittens, others like turtles having sex. underneath that sound though is the sound of the cars turbo. So, they take a happy sound and cover it with garbage. The music, how little of it there is, sounds alright, it’s taken from the Console versions. The sound of your vehicle sliding across dirt/gravel/concrete is annoying. Concrete is the least annoying, and it’s squealing tires. When you are sliding along dirt and gravel it’s simply static. That’s all it sounds like. it sounds like your PSP just blew a speaker. Those are really the only sounds that are coming out of the system as you’re driving. That and the crappy sounds of the other drivers vehicles. So, there really isn’t anything more to say other than audiophiles will be crying..
With how awesome the console counterparts of both Dirt 1 and 2 are. I was hoping for at least a LITTLE bit of that to rub off onto the PSP version. As I stated in the impression post, This is based upon the Wii version, and not the PS3/360 versions. which means that.. even if it was the perfect port of the Wii version, it still wouldn’t even equate to a polished turd.
While the game had it’s fleeting moments. They where immediately raped in the face by 80 other horrible problems.
This is also very disappointing as it still shows that the PSP is treated like a throw away device for most 3rd party publishers. While Sony will make the most out of the system, Many 3rd Parties don’t even try and make a decent game. My case in point is Need for Speed and this game. Every Need for Speed since the 1st game have been progressively worse. And this, a port of an already mediocre game?. What the hell are they thinking?. Well, they are thinking. “Let’s not blow too much on this, it won’t sell much anyways.”
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