DiRT Showdown Review

Screenshot from DiRT Showdown
Now that's what I call a rice spoiler

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Codemasters
  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Release Date: 12 June 2012
  • Time played: 3.9 hours (INCOMPLETE)

What is it

During the period of 2011-2012, quite a few games were developed using version 2.0 of the Ego engine originally developed by Codemasters and Sony for 2007's Colin McRae: DiRT; besides a few F1 games and Operation Flashpoint: Red River there was also DiRT 3 (which I reviewed 4 years ago) and DiRT: Showdown released in 2012.

DiRT: Showdown seems to be the demolition derby cousin of the main DiRT series; while the game feels similar and looks similar to DiRT 3 the main difference is what kind of events you can compete in as most of them revolve around demolition derbies or races where smashing opposing cars is not only allowed but encouraged.

Stages in each of the single player championships are unlocked by accruing podium finishes for each event so if you get to a point where you're not making it to the top 3, you can't progress with the single player campaign. At the end of each race you earn money proportional to how well you performed – you'll still get rewarded a small amount of cash even for getting dead last. You can use this cash to either purchase new vehicles or upgrade existing ones in terms of "Power", "Handling" and "Strength".

The game doesn't only have demolition derbies and demolition derby style races though; you also get "Hoonigan" events which remind me of the "Gymkhana" events in DiRT 3, i.e. it's a race that involves performing certain stunts and tricks around an obstacle course. The game also has multiplayer with even a local split-screen mode (old school)!

How I got it

I managed to get DiRT Showdown for free earlier this year thanks to the generosity of the Humble Store. I mean, how can you complain about receiving free games? I'm also a fan of the Colin McRae series way back and while DiRT 3 wasn't bad, it didn't really capture the same feel as the rally games I played a long time ago. I wanted to give the DiRT series another try so it made sense to start with DiRT Showdown - besides, the game was one of many in my library that promised full controller support: a perfect game to test on my Steam Link ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Screenshot from DiRT Showdown
Check out that sweet ride

What I like:


Graphics still look pretty good

I guess one advantage of racing games is that even if they're several years old, the visuals don't age as poorly nowadays as they did when 3D graphics was in its infancy.

Nicknames

The game allows you to pick a nickname out of a large selection of them. This means the game announcer will greet you using this nickname whenever you open up DiRT Showdown. Thankfully, "Colonel" was an option which seemed appropriate considering my online handle of "Col. Mustard" ๐Ÿ˜Š. It's a relatively minor thing but I still think it's a nice touch.

Can grind your way to acquire new upgrades

It's hard to reach a complete dead-end in this game since even when you lose races, you earn money, and with money you can purchase upgrades for your cars. In theory, you should eventually get to a stage where the car is powerful enough to beat any opposition… in theory…

Works on Steam Link

The game works well on the Steam Link and I've managed to play some local split-screen multiplayer games with the daughter ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Screenshot from DiRT Showdown
The linear campaign means it's easy to get stuck

What I dislike:


No rally stages

When I pick up a Colin McRae or DiRT title I expect there to be rally stages (whether that's an unrealistic expectation or not, I leave that for you to decide ๐Ÿ˜Š). Unfortunately, DiRT Showdown is an even worse offender than DiRT 3 when it comes to my expectations as there's a complete lack of rally stages whatsoever. The game is mostly about demolition derbies and the only time you actually get to drive proper rally cars are during the Hoonigan segments.

Need to be jack-of-all trades to progress

The single player campaign is linear in that in order to progress you need to win a certain number of podium finishes to unlock new events, but what makes it extra challenging (at least for guys like me that totally suck at Gymkhana/Hoonigan events) is that you don't get a choice of which sort of event to unlock next. This means you can get in a scenario where you're stuck on a couple of events and you simply can't progress because you're not getting those podium finishes: this is the exact reason I stopped playing the game since after an hour of trying to get those elusive podium finishes, there was nothing left to do but /ragequit.

Score – 7/10 (Alright)

If you're more into demolition derby games than rally games, DiRT Showdown might appeal (if you can find somewhere that still sells the game). It also happens to be a pretty good game on the Steam Link. However, if you're expecting to play a rally game or you'd like to actually have some choice about which kind of events you compete in, then steer well away from this game or expect to be disappointed.

Is the game worth $X?: I honestly don't know where you can get the game nowadays since it doesn't seem to be available on Steam, Microsoft Store or even the official Codemasters Store.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Official DiRT Showdown Website ]

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