Colin McRae: DiRT 2 Xbox 360
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Released on 11/09/2009
Promising a thrilling race experience and an extreme sports attitude that borrows from snowboarding and skateboarding culture, DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 will take players on a World Tour to diverse and challenging real-world environments to compete in contemporary off-road events. Specifically selected to deliver aggressive and fast paced racing, DiRT 2's garage will house a best-in-class collection of officially licensed rally cars and off-road vehicles; covering seven vehicle classes and players will be given the keys to powerful machines right from the off.
DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 will come complete with full online functionality that will be core to the overall experience, with head-to-head competitive online play and new social features to engage the racing community. Prepare for mud, gravel, dust and dirt too in DiRT 2 on Xbox 360.
DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 Features:
Turbo-charged off-roading with extreme sports attitude: Multiple disciplines, encompassing the very best that modern off-roading has to offer and fuelled by the 3rd generation of Codemasters' world-renowned EGO Engine technology, DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 has more attitude, more adrenaline and more DiRT than ever - off-roading just got cool.
Take it on Tour: DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 will take players on a World Tour to compete in aggressive multi-car and intense solo race events in the most diverse and challenging real-world environments. Career paths will span the globe as players unlock tours in stunning locations spread across the face of the planet. USA, Japan, Malaysia, Baja, Croatia and others await as players climb to the pinnacle of modern competitive off-roading.
It's all about the event: DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 is adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports with eye-popping visuals and presentation in stunning real-world locations. Events include exhilarating rally cross in the massive Los Angeles sports stadium's 'Stadium King Shootout', edge-of-control canyon racing of Utah's 'Creek Trailblazer' event, the 'Rawang Rally Run' along treacherous Malaysian rainforest tracks and the 'Battersea Battle', where night races are staged at the iconic London power station.
Love your ride: Embark on a game-long love affair with your favourite cars. Rather than being forced through a checklist of in-game cars, DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 enables players to pick their favourite rides and drive them across multiple disciplines. Upgrade them, cherish them - and then smash them to bits at breakneck speeds. Get to know which to use for what event and surface, tweak them to perfection, then push them to the absolute limit.
The complete off-road online package: DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 invites players to become part of an extreme sports community, with full online multiplayer race events and community integration across multiple disciplines. With leader boards, news feeds and 'scribbles' to keep you up-to-date on your friends' racing achievements, DiRT 2 on Xbox 360 will be a social hub for off-roading fans.
Scored 93% by Gamesmaster Magazine
Here's what they said:
"Better, faster, Dirtier!"
"An off-roader of the highest calibre..."
"DiRT 2 is still the best handling rally game in the business..."
Scored 9/10 by Gamespot
Here's what they said:
"If you have any interest whatsoever in off-road racing you'd do well to take this beautiful and thrilling game for a spin."
"The sense of speed is great!"
"What makes Dirt 2 so special is the fact that its multiple difficulty levels and forgiving gameplay mechanics make it accessible to newcomers while offering a significant challenge for veterans of Codemasters' Colin McRae Rally series."
When's a racer not a racer? When it's a dirt racer! We caught up with Codemaster's Colin McRae DiRT 2 designer Ralph Foulton to find out exactly what that will mean for race fans this autumn...
Hi Ralph. Can you tell our customers who you are?
My name is Ralph Foulton, and I'm the Design Manager at Codemasters Racing Studio.
I'm going to start with a bit of a controversial statement. Some people say that if you've played one racing game, you've played them all. What do you say to that?
[Laughs] It's an interesting point of view – not one I subscribe to! Do they say that if you've played one shooter you've played them all?
I guess there's an obvious difference between a futuristic shooter like Halo and a war shooter like Call of Duty. But to the untrained eye driving games with real cars in them tend to appear quite similar...
What I think is great about DiRT 2, and what certainly distinguishes it from the other racing games coming out the autumn, is that it's an offroad racing game. That gives you a completely different sense of speed, control and craziness. It certainly gives you a lot more freedom than in a circuit or tarmac racer.
The other great thing about DiRT 2 is that it's a much cooler, much more relevant title than a lot of racing games. We've achieved that with partnering through the right people – we've got Ken Block who's a huge star in America and was on UK Top Gear not so long ago. We've got a brilliant soundtrack, with a lot of support from Christian Stevenson at Kerrang Radio, and all of that blends together to make a consistent, relevant piece of entertainment.
What distinguishes DiRT 2, from the other racing games is that it's an offroad racing game. That gives you a completely different sense of speed, control and craziness.
You're using the EGO Engine – could you maybe explain why that's a big deal?
It's our own technology we built from scratch, so we know it inside out. We've been improving on it ever since the first DiRT. The cool thing about starting a new project is that you know at the very worst it's going to be the quality of the last game – and our last game, Colin McRae DiRT, won a Bafta, so our quality bar is pretty high!
When we started DiRT 2 we asked "how much further can we push it?" Turns out, quite a lot! You'll see it in the graphics, lighting effects, the way we do water now – all of that is improved. Our physics are much more sophisticated now; you can see that in the handling and the way the cars perform on screen.
The cool thing for a punter is that they can look at what we did last time, read the reviews, see the awards, and feel assured it's going to be at least as good as that. The great news is that it's actually a lot better.
You mentioned the Bafta there...
I did, didn't I! [smug grin]
Haha. Can you tell us a bit of background about that award-winning first game?
Before DiRT we were making the next game in the Colin McRae Rally series – a series that had been going since the PSone. We were up to working on number six, and there was a general feeling that it had ceased to be relevant – something needed to change. Even Colin at the time had moved on from WRC (World Rally Championship) and was doing new, exciting things that caught our imagination.
That's what inspired us to make a break and create DiRT, which is a spiritual successor, but encompassed all these new things that Colin at the time was trying out; competing in the X-Games; competing in the Dakar Rally; pooling about in cars – that was his passion, and that was the genesis of the idea behind DiRT. Of course, we never foresaw that Colin would die in the manner he did, but the seed was already sewn.
What you see today is DiRT 2. Certainly it hasn't been informed in any way by his death, but more by what he did in the years before that. It's actually a celebration of his whole career.
What I love most about DiRT 2 is that you spend most of your time sliding... That act of just putting a car sideways round a corner is just immensely satisfying.
You've mentioned how the DiRT brand is unique – but what about gameplay? How are gamers going to find it differs from a conventional tarmac racer?
What I love most about DiRT 2 is that you spend most of your time sliding. There's something about powersliding that runs right the way through the best racing games. Whether you're talking about Race Driver Grid or Mario Kart, that act of just putting a car sideways round a corner is just immensely satisfying.
We've spent a lot of time making sure that these cars slide in the correct manner – so that it's physically correct, but also just fun. Getting that back sliding out and the nose sliding into the corner – it's just a really cool sensation; one of those really cool gaming moments.
What's the best way to do it? I just played it, and found I just kept going into a spin!
Our physics are smart enough now to let you slide how you'd do it in real life. There are a number of different ways depending on what car you're in and what surface you're on.
I use what rally drivers call the Scandinavian Flick, which is flicking yourself in the wrong direction first, then transferring weight in the car to send you into a spin the right way around the corner. Of course, you can just yank the hand break, and there are ways of sliding just by letting of the power and then spinning your back wheels. There's no one way to do it; I think that just shows how sophisticated our physics are. If you do it how you'd do it in real life, it'll work in DiRT 2.
Ken Block has found that when he plays the game – in a racing suit with a wheel set up – it really feels like the real thing. I think that realism struck him most – he didn't expect it.
Does he play from the cockpit view?
We've got this really expensive seat called the D-box with pneumatics and everything – big plasma screen in front. In that, I think he drives from Bonnet Cam for maximum sense of speed. At home with a pad I think he plays from behind.
You're a new, up and coming offroad star, joining the tour – a fictional series of race events held all over the world. Think X-Games meets Glastonbury.
So that's history and handling – let's jump into talking about the main singleplayer mode, the Career. In the presentation you just gave there was a lot of jumping about from different countries to different race types – it's a bit hard to get a sense of continuity. Can you explain a bit how players will progress through it?
The backstory behind the player's participation is that he's a new, up and coming offroad star, joining the tour – a fictional series of race events held all over the world. Think X-Games meets Glastonbury. There's racing going on but also DJs, a crowd, a whole festival atmosphere. That's what we show in the menus. You're travelling the road in your RV (Recreational Vehicle) and you step out to see all of these people having fun, listening to music – we really wanted to capture that festival vibe.
The way you progress is by earning XP – but it's not as cold and calculated as that. We wanted to emphasise the personality of the characters. Some are fictional; some are real-life superstars like Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra and Tanner Foust. You start off in Battersea, and the more races you win, the more they invite you to new races and the more they open up for you.
These are guys who did other X-Games events and then went into driving disciplines?
Oh yeah – Travis was the X-Games Motorcross champ, he was the first guy to do a backflip on a dirt bike. He mostly does rallies these days; in fact he helped popularise it in the US as an extreme sport. In this country it maybe has a staid reputation, but when you think about it it's an extreme sport – a car, hurtling round a dirt track at intense speeds.
And you get to face him in the career...
Yep, you meet these guys, get invited to other competitions and start to get more experience. It opens up organically – lots of choices; DiRT 2 is not a linear experience. Conveying that sense of touring the world and exploring is something we've done really well – with that festi atmosphere and the music running right the way through. It makes the game a really continuous, well thought-out experience.
Does that not stop it being as pick-up-and-play?
I don't think so – you can dip into it at any stage. We don't punish the player for the options they want to switch on and off or the difficulty they pick. Whatever's cool for you is cool for us. Easy setting your Gran could play. Hardcore mode is for extreme nutjobs. There should be a difficulty mode in DiRT 2 for everyone. And if something's proving to difficult on the track you can flashback and get out of it that way, or drop the difficulty and enjoy it that way.
200 achievement points for playing on Ninja Difficulty is 200 points I'm never going to get! In DiRT 2 it's all about what you do and how you do it, not what difficulty you do it on.
Are there different Achievements and Trophies for different difficulty settings?
No, we don't do that. I hate that. Personally, I'm a gamer, but I'm not a hardcore gamer. I don't start a game and whack the difficulty all the way up. Most ultra hard difficulty levels I'm just not good enough for – it's just not fun, y'know? When I see 200 points purely allocated for someone playing on like, Ninja Difficulty, I just think "that's 200 points I'm never going to get". So we try to make sure that you have as much chance of getting the achievements however good you are. It's all about what you do and how you do it, rather than what difficulty you do it on.
You talked a bit about the Flashback feature – can you explain a bit more about what that is?
Sure! Flashback was a feature we first introduced in Grid, whereby at any point in the race you can hit a button and it'll allow you to rewind time, and it will flash you back, like, start you again from where you found it difficult – so if you've screwed up a corner you can do it over. It went down really well in Grid because it took a lot of punishment out of the racing genre. I think those people from your first question will think racing games are SO punishing – even more so than a shooter game like Operation Flashpoint. One mistake and that's your race over.
Flashback made that not the case, so it was a total no-brainer to include it. Without it, DiRT might suffer from the same problems. With it, suddenly it's a much more engaging, forgiving drive.
What other modes are there in DiRT 2?
As well as Career we've a Free Race mode where you can set up any race on any track; we've a Time Trial mode, which is cool for racing against ghost of other people's fastest times. You can download the world record ghost, your friends ghosts...
We're really keen on you comparing yourself to your friends. There a constant set of updates in DiRT 2 within the front-end about "your mate's better than you" and you'll say "oh, is he now?" There's no more powerful motivator than beating your mate. On any of the stats pages you can see who's best out of your Friends List, hopefully motivating you to get better at the game.
We decided that eight online was the sweet spot. With an eight player online race, there's enough to feel competitive, but not enough to feel restrictive.
And of course you can play against them in online multiplayer. Only eight players though. How come?
‘Only' eight, yes. Obviously the prevailing logic is "more is better". Technically it's not a problem for us getting more – we could chuck around up to twenty on a track. But from playtesting, what we found with DiRT 2 is that when you've got more than eight players it gets a bit bashy; a bit crowded; the fun diminishes a bit. And fun is what it's all about.
We decided that eight was the sweet spot. With an eight player race, there's enough to feel competitive, but not enough to feel restrictive. And locking it at that we've been able to spend a little more on making it look amazing. Obviously PRs like to be able to slogan higher and higher numbers, but in this case we think less is more.
About it being "bashy"... would you be tempted to release a Destruction Derby style Battle Royale mode via DLC?
Not a bad idea at all! There's one in Grid and it proved by far and away the most popular mode. Even if you go online on Grid now, there's far more people playing that than anything else. So it's definitely something we'll consider.
Any other DLC planned?
We do have some, but I don't think I'm able to talk about that at the moment. We'll make an official announcement.
Obviously with the recession, customers are going to be very selective about their Christmas buying choices. How long can they expect DiRT 2 to last?
The singleplayer Career, you're talking easily 15-20 hours. There's a LOT of content – over a hundred events. You're talking a LOT of playtime to close the game out.
But for me the longevity is in the online. The fact that we're allowing you to choose any car, any track… it makes DiRT 2 almost limitless. And I think that's where a lot of the fun is – and then you've got future DLC on top.
I'd also stress that you don't need to wait ‘til Christmas – they can buy Colin McRae DiRT 2 from 11th September!
Interview by: Mark 'In A Spin' Scott
Interview Published: 14.08.09
Let's Get DiRTy
Scots rallying legend Colin McRae was never - in terms of a mainstream TV audience - a massive sporting figure like Lewis Hamilton, for example. However, thanks to Codemasters' long-running Colin McRae franchise, any gamer worth his or her salt holds Colin in extremely high regard and will be keenly anticipating the release of the first McRae-branded game since his untimely death in 2007.
It's testament to Codemasters' vision and the popularity of Colin McRae that they managed to create hugely popular games based on the somewhat solitary discipline of rally driving. When the first DiRT game was released, shortly before McRae's death, it was an attempt to broaden the game's appeal, featuring a number of different types of extreme off-road racing.
Graphically, DiRT 2 is a stunner, thanks to an enhanced version of the EGO Engine used in Race Driver: GRID.
DiRT 2 continues this evolution but this time everything is turned up to 11, so to speak. Graphically, DiRT 2 is a stunner, thanks to an enhanced version of the EGO Engine used in Race Driver: GRID. This results not only in amazing-looking scenery but also some impressive damage modelling and neat effects like mud splashing on the windscreen when you're in cockpit view, for example. Also brought over from GRID is the Flashback system where players can rewind the action to a limited degree in order to reverse the effects of a bad accident or simply to try and take a corner better.
It's DiRT 2's range of play options that really impresses, though. While rally purists might be a little put out by the relatively small amount of proper rally driving, racing game fans will love every minute of what's on offer. Through a mixture of racing types, driving disciplines, and a broad selection of vehicles, DiRT 2 delivers a varied challenge for both rally fans and racing nuts in general. Over the course of the game you'll be taking cars, trucks and SUVs through head-to-head races, time trials, hill climbs and a host of other events.
Through a mixture of racing types, driving disciplines, and a broad selection of vehicles, DiRT 2 delivers a varied challenge
Success in these events will be rewarded handsomely, not only with a warm feeling of victory but with proper tangible bonuses. There's fun stuff too, like dancing Hula figurines for your dashboard and furry dice for the rear view mirror, and also unlockable challenges including a trio of X-Games-branded races and five World Cup tournaments.
Stars in Their Cars
Famous racing stars are represented too so during your racing career you'll be able to race against, and make friends with, famous names like Ken Block, Travis Pastrana and the great man McRae himself.
And DiRT 2 is a more social experience. Whereas previous online play has been simply a matter of competing to beat each other's times, players can now go head-to-head and wheel-to-wheel with up to seven other competitors.
DiRT 2 is a stunning race game that keeps the rallying faith while opening up the gameplay to appeal to a whole new generation of race fans.
- Superb visuals
- Realistic damage effects
- Variety of event types
- Unlockable bonuses
- Rally purists might be irritated.
Olympic fever has gripped the planet, and we're only just over halfway through a year that has already been defined by amazing sporting action. From regular favourites like Wimbledon and the UEFA European Championship, to the glitz of the Olympics and surprise wins in the Tour De France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous face certainly helps to catch our attention (although Mario and Sonic don't really count...). Here's our look back over the history of sporting heroes in games.
You can almost go back to the dawn of gaming and find examples of famous athletes promoting games. Daley Thompson's Decathlon was one of the enduring classics of the 8-bit home computer era, a keyboard-bashing run through ten track and field events overseen by the ghostly white pixellated face of digital Daley.
It was inevitable that a footy-loving nation such as ours would attract a flood of cheesy football endorsements as well, with everyone from squeaky scouser Emlyn Hughes to telly pundits Saint and Greavsie, to top flight players like Gazza and Beckham, putting their name to digitised kickabouts. We even had the bizarre sight of a Peter Shilton goalkeeping game, cheekily renamed Handball Maradona after the infamous "hand of god" incident at the 1986 World Cup. And while there's no name on the box, there's no ignoring the key players endorsing both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer even today.
Ever-obsessed with sports and strategy, it didn't take long for American software companies to follow suit. John Madden had already retired as both player and coach when his name first adorned the Madden NFL American Football simulation in 1988, but it kicked off a series which endures to this day and is widely considered to be the benchmark of gridiron gaming. Madden was part of the EA Sports stable, a label that knows the value of the right endorsement. In 1999 the company's popular PGA golf series became Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and the fairway superman has been the face of golf games ever since. Indeed, the close tie between game and name may soon become a problem, as the digital Tiger performs better than his struggling real-life counterpart. Will the series revert to plain old PGA Tour when Tiger's star fades, or will EA find a new golfing hero to carry the torch?
That's the gamble when signing a player at the peak of their game. Sometimes, a games company will sign an up and coming athlete in the hopes of backing a long term winner. That worked for Nintendo, when it paid a young Mike Tyson $50,000 to use his likeness in the NES Punch Out boxing game. Within months, Tyson was on his way to being the world heavyweight champ, and the retitled Mike Tyson's Punch Out benefited from his success in the USA.
In the UK, meanwhile, Punch Out was ported to home computers with our very own Frank Bruno as the main character. Punch Out returned to Wii minus its star, while Tyson makes a surprise return to games this year in WWE '13, re-living the brief sting he spent using his name to boost the wrestling company's ratings.
Often, a sport will bubble up to the top of the popular consciousness thanks to the eye-catching feats of a particular sports-person. In the late 1990s, it was Codemasters that perked up long-running, but fairly obscure rugby and cricket sims, by shrewdly putting hot new stars like Jonah Lomu and Brian Lara above the title. Likewise, it was only when legendary racer Colin McRae put his name to the publisher's rally games that they became the owners of a blockbuster franchise, and while the DiRT series has continued to thrive without him, it was his name that got the customers through the proverbial door to begin with. Such moves weren't restricted to cult UK sports either. In 1999, Japanese firm Namco quickly rebranded the latest entry in its fledgling tennis series as Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis in order to attract European gamers.
It's perhaps notable that the area where celebrity endorsement paid off most spectacularly was in the rise of extreme sports, where off-beat personalities are more openly celebrated and the players are more likely to be gamers. Tony Hawk pioneered this with his skateboarding games, lending not just his credibility but also his insight and expertise to ensure maximum authenticity. Snowboarder Shaun White and BMX rider Dave Mirra quickly followed Hawk's example. Hawk's back this year, too, in an HD re-jigging of some of his classic titles for Xbox LIVE; he's gone from extreme rebel to a traditional figure, but we still love him!
Whenever sport becomes national obsession, you can bet an enterprising games developer will seize the opportunity. Gold medal-winning swimming star Michael Phelps has got a head start on his Olympic peers this year, with his Push The Limit game for Kinect already on shelves. Will we see Bradley Wiggins grace the cover of next year's Tour De France game? Will Jess Ennis and Mo Farah be running alongside us in the next Kinect Sports? Whoever is next on the podium, it's a good bet that gamers will be the winners.
Colin McRae DiRT 2 Interview (19/08/2009)
When's a racer not a racer? When it's a dirt racer! We caught up with Codemaster's Colin McRae DiRT 2 designer Ralph Foulton to find …Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (14/09/2009)
Let's Get DiRTy
Scots rallying legend Colin McRae was never - in terms of…
From the Olympics to the Tour de France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous…Colin McRae: DiRT 2 User ReviewsTop review1 year agoDiRT 2Got back into the other day while bored and it was great! best DiRT game of the series1 year agoSyOne of the most thrilling rally game if anyone like rally dirt racing this is the one not tried the online version yet .1 year agoAmazing!!This is better that dirt 1 and is so good with the car choices and events. Amazing Game1 year agoExtremely GoodAfter playing the first DIRT game I was very excited for the release of DIRT 2. Out of all 3 DIRT games I would actually recommend this one the most. It adds to the glorious gameplay of the first game, including more cars and tracks, it also outdoes its younger brother (DIRT 3). The graphics are of a quality to match Forza 3 along with its gameplay characteristics. The way the game has been set out allows for hours of gameplay keeping you entertained and wantng more.2 years agoColin McRae: DiRT 2this is my best racing game by far very good graphics i recommend it fore anyone who like racing gamesConfiguring your price alert
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