Colin McRae DiRT demo reviewMikey 24 comments
My faith in rally games has been restored. The Colin McRae series of said genre quickly became stale with no less than five versions to grace our PC's and consoles over the years. There was little innovation and the game engine always seemed to be a generation behind other rally contenders, such as Richard Burns Rally.
But when the first screenshots for Colin McRae DiRT appeared not too long ago, I was somewhat sceptic about their authenticity. It wouldn't have been the first time a game company doctored their screenshots to make the game appear better than what it actually is.
That scepticism was still with me even as I installed the demo yesterday, but as soon as I launched into a game, all doubts went away.
DiRT is without a doubt the best looking rally game (or car game in general) to grace the PC - ever. The eye candy is not without a catch however, as my frame rate would testify if it could speak. That is partially my fault though for trying to run the game on my native resolution of 1680x1050 with all game details set to Ultra.
On those settings I managed an embarrassing 5 frames per second. So with the game engine setting set to something a little more realistic (same resolution, but details set to High and no anti-aliasing) DiRT became much more playable. Curiously though, reducing the resolution further did not result in a significant frame rate improvement.
For those playing at home, my modest specs are:
- AMD64 3700+
- 2gb DDR
- GeForce 7900 with latest drivers
- 22" Viewsonic 5ms
- Abit KN8 Ultra Motherboard
- Windows Vista Ultimate 32 bit
Motion blurring adds a nice touch to an already impressive level of detail, as does High Dynamic Range Lighting. A consistent bloom effect however sometimes makes it hard to see some details, which is the last thing you need when pummelling down a narrow rocky road at 200kms per hour while approaching a hairpin.
But as a wise man once said, 'Graphics to not maketh the game', and at the heart of DiRT is nothing more than another rally experience. But that's not so bad.
The physics are very impressive, with debris flying left right and centre and tyres becoming airborne upon impact. You can damage and dent the side barriers while losing parts of your vehicle in the process. If you are noob like me you will probably cross the finish line in nothing more than a chassis on wheels.
Controlling either of the 3 available vehicles their respective tracks (tarmac, sand or dirt) felt a little unresponsive on my analogue Logitech Dual Action game pad. No amount of tweaking the control settings was able to remedy this. But this is a demo and things might improve upon final release.
As far as demos go, Colin McRae DiRT is very impressive, but hardcore rally fans will probably find nothing new here from a game play perspective.
If car games and are your thing and you want to see what next generation graphics can do for your favourite genre, the Colin McRae DiRT demo is available for download now from all good game web sites.
Click on any image for full res versions.
Some actual in-game video I took. as well.