Just Visiting
Wednesday | August 5, 2020
Colin McRae Dirt 2 (X360 & PS3)

Colin McRae Dirt 2 (X360 & PS3)

The Colin McRae rally franchise has been a huge seller over the years for Codemasters and with his recent and very unfortunate passing the latest release is somewhat of a homage to the great man himself. The end product certainly lives up to our expectations with a wonderful engine and beautifully designed tracks which will be sure to attract a new audience to this stellar racing series.

Dirt was released in 2007 and was one of the staff favourites at Heaven Media Ltd because the attention to detail throughout was second to none – from the menu system to the selection of cars and decals available. Dirt 2 thankfully is no less impressive when it comes to presentation and there are a breathtaking array of options on offer from a world map which lets you choose from 100 different racing events and a multiplayer system which details instructional videos. When you walk outside your trailer you can peruse the surroundings for each location and customise your cars as well as look at the latest tournament results.

Career Mode is once again the focal point of Dirt 2 as it puts you in the body of a newbie racer as you undergo a lifelong career and attempt to get to champion level and conquer the world rankings. Every race you take part in gets you experience points which increase your level. The developers are keen to reward the gamer and offer a plethora of dashboard items such as fuzzy dice to hang from the mirrors and you also have access to new decals and enhancements.

All in all there are six difficulty levels and the higher your level the more cash and experience you earn. That said, the game also rewards those of lower skill well and you can make it up the ranks with basic events right through to the pro offerings and finish it all off with some difficult All Star races. The 100 events in total get unlocked as you progress depending on your experience level, specific races you need to win beforehand or the cars you own. As you progress throughout the game you unlock a group of special races which are split into the X-Games throughout Asia, North America and Europe and then the five World Cup Tournaments each in a different discipline. As an additional and heartfelt touch, there is a Colin McRae Tribute event which will bring a tear to even the toughest of people. Colin McRae has really been a part of the gaming community for as long as I can remember and this is a fitting tribute.

The environments in Dirt 2 are diverse and lovingly created with a huge array of locales for every gamer. There are a lot of off road tracks which are obviously home to rather bland desert terrain, however there are some wonderful maps such as the hillsides of China or the villages of Morocco which feature buildings and other realistic little touches and effects.

Thankfully the core racing mechanic is solid and the cars have a generous feeling of weight to them which makes sure you never feel as if you are racing a toy car around a variety of tracks. The difficulty levels are well rounded and while newbies can get a hold of the controls easily enough, on higher settings even the most hardened pros will find the AI very challenging indeed.

Career mode is as good as it has been in this series with a solid well finished series of events available in locations across the globe and most racers will be pleased with the variety of vehicles and events offered. Additionally there are time based races such as trailblazer which features a rally race without a co driver giving directional instructions. One of my favourites was the hill climb option available in China which puts you in a vehicle as you try and make your way up a twisting hillside track.

Land Rush is an off road circuit based course which is racing in buggies and trucks and the Raid events place you in a truck against various AI opponents with many deadly objects littering the environment. There are also some rally car wheel to wheel races which prove challenging and I had mega fun with these modes. It was extremely entertaining to see other cars crashing in front and my co-driver warning me of an accident ahead.

As Codemasters developed GRID they have lifted a few elements of gameplay from their sister title such as the ‘rewind’ mode. This lets you stop a race at any point and rewind a specific distance in time to play again. While in theory this is a possible game ruining element it does help sometimes when you are leading a race only to total your car on the last bend. This is tied into the difficulty level, so if you play Hardcore mode then you don’t get the option at all. Additionally Codemasters have added a new missions idea which are in race tasks that earn the player extra experience points. There are over a dozen on offer and each of them have five separate tiers.

They have also adapted the friend/teammate system from GRID which means you can chat with your colleagues before ramming them into a barrier. You can earn friends by impressing others with your driving ability or by beating racers in one v one challenges.

Graphically the game is extremely impressive with the engine receiving a massive overhaul. The cars are more detailed and depict the various levels of damage modeling very well and the framerate on both PS3 and Xbox 360 is solid at all times. The environmental detail also deserves special mention because it is apparent that the development team placed bags of effort into the various surroundings. Muck, dirt and water splash the car and can get onto the screen, making visibility poor and if you play in cockpit mode you get access to every view which is unique for all the cars.

One of the biggest complaints with the original Dirt was the fact that only 100 people could play together and only in time trials and not on the same track. Codemasters have taken this to heart and have fixed it so that every event type can be enjoyed with up to seven other people. There is also point to point racing which is more for the hardcore racer. There was no noticeable lag during our testing and it was painless to set up – hopefully this remains the same when the public hit the servers hard. As an added touch it was nice to see all the cars available for selection and you could tell who had progressed further in single player as some of the specialist decals and cars were only able to be chosen by a few people.

Colin McRae Dirt 2 is a fantastic racing game and if you were a fan of the original then this is sure to be a ‘must have’ for your collection. The single player is addictive, graphically impressive and the multiplayer options have been enhanced to appease the online audience. The only downside is that I am still not sure this is a game for rally purists, but for everyone else it should be on their shortlist in 2009. I can’t wait to get my hands on the PC version – I will report back with a PC review at a later date.


A great racing game with a huge selection of events, vehicles and modes.
Pretty much the best I have seen in a racing game on the PS3 and X360.
An awesome array of engine and motor sounds which really set the mood.
Huge amount of playtime in single player with multiplayer offering even more game time later

If you want a racing game this year, then this should be it.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

It appears you have AdBlocking activated

Unfortunately AdBlockers interfere with the shopping cart process

To continue with the payment process can we ask you to

deactivate your AdBlocking plugin

or to whitelist this site. Then refresh the page

We thank you for your understanding

Hardwareheaven respect you right to employ plugins such as AdBlocker.
We would however ask you to consider whitelisting this site
We do not allow intrusive advertising and all our sponsors supply items
relevant to the content on the site.

Hardwareheaven Webmaster