Damn you Sumo Digital!!
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
When it comes down to racing, Codemasters can be capable of the best and the worst. After delivering a true exhilarating experience on both the PS3 and Xbox 360, the game was completely butchered on the Wii by Sumo Digital. As a reviewer, I had to do my homework correctly for the PSP version. In order to decide if DiRT2 was actually worth playing, I had to put the game against Gran Turismo and Need For Speed Shift and review the three games at the same time. While the final product isn’t actually close to what NFS Shift and GT offers, I’m just glad to see that at least the PSP version wasn’t a complete disaster. This doesn’t mean the game is great though…
DiRT 2 does have a lot to offer. Just like in the console version, you’ll be first introduced to your very own trailer. From there, you’ll be able to start your career via the World Tour mode, which will require you to tackle various tours (Clubman, Amateur, Pro-Am and Pro) around the world. Each tour is broken into four different events. To progress, you will need to earn at least a bronze medal on each race. Upon each event completion, you will unlock new cars that you can later use in other events.
Aside of the World Tour mode, the game also includes a series of challenge modes (five in total): Airtime, Gatecrasher, Trailblazer, Powerslide and Last Man Standing. An arcade mode with single player races against the A.I, a five-course championship mode and time trials are also present.
There are a lot of things to do in this portable version of DiRT 2. However, it would have been really great if the same attention to modes was also used to work on the clunky driving physics, which are without any doubt, extremely painful and the worst I’ve seen on a PSP game. Luckily, the control scheme has nothing to do with it, thank god, it would have been worst.
Taking corners are a hard task, making it almost impossible to race at high speeds. If only the rewind feature was included… it wouldn’t have saved the game from the total disaster, but it would have helped a lot. There’s no sense of weight whatsoever, every car feels like it was done out of carton boxes. You know those boats that get caught in the air when they go fast? That’s the best image I can give to describe how bad the driving is and how often you will crash and tumble. If you want to keep your car on the track at all times, you are then forced to slowdown, killing the purpose of “racing”. Even worst, the A.I slows down. Yes, you’ve read right, it waits for you. How cool of them! You can still catch them up at turtle-like speeds.
Want more non-sense? Some races can take up to 15-20 minutes to complete. Why? I do not know. Let’s say (hypothetically) that you managed to stay alive for 10 minutes and then for some odd reason, you miss the curve, crash and have to restart your race. You would then say that the rewind feature has your back. Wrong, the feature is nowhere to be found. Yet another good reason to yell at your PSP, actually to yell at Sumo Digital. The PSP does what it can and we know it can handle good driving physics.
It hurts to say it, but all the good work into offering a racing title with lots of replay value into it is completely killed by the awful driving physics. They are so unforgivable that you won’t care how deep or fun the gameplay modes are. An artistic suicide if you’d prefer…
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, the game looks good and it’s certainly the only place where the game gets the highest grade. Each car is modeled differently and the outdoor racing locations have been beautifully rendered and detailed. The menus are simplistic and there’s no weird texture issues nor framerate drops while you race. However, it does share the same problem as NFS Shift, there’s not a whole lot of variety in terms of race tracks and cars.
In terms of sounds, DiRT 2 features a great soundtrack, sharing a few similarities to what was offered in the console version… and then…BAM! You suddenly realize that every car emits the same high-pitched lawnmower sound, making it atrocious and heart-aching to hear after a while. Where’s the great soundtrack? In the menus…waiting for you to end your race.
It’s certain that if we had one racer to recommend among all the recently released titles (NFS Shift, Gran Turismo and Motorstorm: Arctic Edge), DiRT 2 would be the last. The frustrating driving physics are the direct cause of its failure. The hardcore (even the most masochistic) racer might see it as a challenge but most of the PSP users will simply be tear into tiny pieces. If it makes you feel better…I can tell you that it’s more fun to play than the Wii version…which is actually more expensive. DiRT 2 might be the cheapest racer on the PSP this year ($10 cheaper than the three others) but pricing isn’t everything.
The game does support Ad-hoc and Game Sharing multiplayer modes. Game Sharing becomes such a cool feature…not only you can bring a friend to play with you but you will also make him save $30.
If it’s the exotic locations and fun at high-speeds that you are looking in your PSP racer and shedding an additional $10 isn’t an issue, we suggest you go for Motorstorm: Artic Edge. I don’t know if it’s because Sumo Digital was asked to replicate the console experience so bad but this development choice deeply hurts the final product. There are worst racers for the PSP out there but in a year where Gran Turismo, NFS Shift and Motorstorm: Artic Edge stand out in their own way, DiRT 2 collects the dust. No matter how you shake it, DiRT 2 makes little baby Jesus cry… and please Codemasters, please do not give any of your marvelous ports to Sumo Digital again?
Wait, aren’t they doing F1 2009 for the Wii and PSP? Noooooooooooooo!
+ Tracks and cars are detailed
+ Ad-hoc play and Game Sharing support
- Horrible engine sounds
- Dumb A.I who slows down so you can catch them
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Release Date : 2009/09/08
System : PSP
Publisher : Codemasters
Developer : Sumo Digital Ltd.
Category : Racing
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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