Thursday, August 27, 2009

DiRT 2 Baja racing review EXCLUSIVE with Baja Racing

DiRT 2 Hands-on Preview

Baja Racing and Gamezine gets our hands-on Codemasters' latest off-road racer DiRT 2. So today we were lucky enough to visit Codemasters and get our hands-on with DiRT 2; the off-road sequel to the critically acclaimed 2007 racer.

First off the bat, you might have been impressed by DiRT's front-end menus, but DiRT 2 really does up the ante with a real-time festival event framing the game's selectable options.

Head into your personal
RV, choose your event, and check out your gathered souvenirs from each of the countries you've visited; USA, Japan, Malaysia, Baja, Croatia, London and others are included. DiRT 2's graphics certainly look spectacular, building on 2008's GRID (showing the scant amount of time Codies had to create the game) with lush jungles, shimmering water and dirt being sprayed all over your windscreen.

The Baja racing sections are the most realistic ever produced for
gaming. Even the old-timers will think they are racin' the Baja!

Head into the cock-pit view and you might notice one of the toys you've been awarded during your racing career, such as fluffy dice or a skull (it's eyes roll to the bumps of your racing). From stadium racing in the US, to driving through Battersea in London, and canyon racing in Utah, to rallying through Malaysian rainforests; the game's locations are varied, with each sporting its own festival, DJ soundtrack and unique atmosphere.

It's good to see that the team has answered gamers and critics alike with their online multiplayer: by adding 8 player online (the number is not due to technical limitations; play-testing discovered that this was the perfect number) to the first game's solitary experience, competitive racing is in.

Choose any car, any track and any mode from the outset and find that you can start your online racing with wither all the
cars leaving the start line at the same time, or in a staggered realistic rally race, where you can play cat and mouse with the other drivers. Other notable inclusions include the X-Games license, which brings an extreme sports feel; the flashback re-wind of GRID; and night time racing.

The last inclusion is important, due to the night racing showing off the game's deferred rendering; a feature Codies has been working very hard on. Like Killzone 2, this technique allows the game to
sport multiple light-sources to bring the track to life, and on the night-time London track we played (Battersea), it was definitely impressive.

Though the late great Colin McRae is no longer with us, DiRT 2's design is still inspired by him, prompting a move into more extreme sports and even resulting in the Colin McRae Memorial Challenge at the end of the game, which is tough, very tough.

The X-Games gaming inclusion will pump initial record sales

Codemasters, a leading developer and publisher of acclaimed racing video games, and ESPN's X Games, has announced an agreement that will see three all-new X Games stages created and integrated exclusively in DiRT 2, the sequel to the award-winning off-road racing title.

The three new stages – X Games America, X Games Europe and X Games Asia – will carry official X Games branding and infuse added realism by bringing the series' unique action sports atmosphere to the game. Players will be able to compete in the X Games events by reaching landmark achievements within the game's World Tour.

"With DiRT 2, Codemasters has captured the essence of contemporary action sports racing, making the game a great platform to integrate the X Games brand and the look and feel of its global events," said Rick Alessandri, ESPN Senior Vice President and Managing Director, X Games Franchise. "We're excited that millions of players will have the opportunity to engage in the X Games environment both in the game and online."

"We've been inspired by the flair, style and big event atmosphere of ESPN's X Games series, which has switched on a new generation of action sports fans to rally and off-road racing." said Gavin Raeburn, Senior Executive Producer, Codemasters. "It's been incredible to work with them to shape a series of exclusive X Games integrations for DiRT 2. Gamers will experience three major competitions that will make them feel like they're really arrived on the world's premiere racing stage, competing in front of thousands of fans in dramatic and spectacular stadium events."

The X Games events will be headlined by off-road racing's most famous and respected athletes including the multi medal-winning Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block, Dave Mirra, Tanner Faust and Travis Pastrana. X Games 14 Rally Car Racing gold medalist, Pastrana competed with the late Colin McRae at X Games 12 (2006) before going on to feature in and lend his voice to the original DiRT game, published in 2007.

Each X Games event will consist of two knockout rounds (quarters and semis) rounded off with a dramatic final held at spectacular locations including London (X Games Europe), Tokyo (X Games Asia) and Los Angeles (X Games America). The X Games America competition is identified from the very start of the game as the pinnacle event in DiRT 2's racing world and the ultimate test for any off-road racer.

DiRT 2 will be shipping on September 8th in North America. The game will be published for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP (PlayStation Portable) system with a Games For Windows LIVE edition, supporting DirectX 11, to follow.

DiRT 2 will hit the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP on September 11th.