Dirt 2 is a multiplatform game published by Codemasters, and today, I will be reviewing the PSP iteration. The name Dirt is very fitting for this title, not because of the off road racing, but more so because of a lack of polish. Most aspects of this game seem dirty and poorly executed. The graphics for the game do not push the hardware on the PSP. The PSP is a system that can be host to PS2 quality games, and Dirt 2 looks like a PS1 title. The game is plagued with lack of detail, such as seemingly flat roads have bumps that cause you to spin out or walls that are at a 90 degree angle that you car can drive up.
The game is very arcadey in presentation, and its controls reflect this. The main detractor to racing in this game is the lack of depth to the actual driving. All races can be completed by simply holding the accelerator down the whole race and tapping break. The simplicity of the racing led to a disinterest in this particular title. After only a few hours, I had finished the “Story Mode”, if you can even call it that. The AI was the worst that I have seen in a racing title, some cars just seemed to stop if they got ahead of me, which took away the excitement of catching up. This game also is host to one of my biggest racing game peeves, which is being able to use other cars or walls as a means to smooth out a turn with no repercussion. This takes away any real sense of realism, and it causes an alienation while playing the game. Also, there are many areas that look like short cuts that just end up having you lose time by the game sending you back to the track.
As far as sound goes, I feel that Dirt 2 does not stand out compared to the other PSP titles. As far as the soundtrack goes, it is comprised of very catchy alternative rock songs. The sounds in the game were laughable, the whole game sounded like a dying weed whacker, high pitched squeals, and a squeaking spring mattress. After half an hour of gameplay, I had to turn the sound on my PSP all the way down.
Although Dirt 2 was plagued with shortcomings in all aspects of the game, it was still somewhat enjoyable to see how badly I could destroy the AI in different races. With all things considered, this is still not enough to warrant an actual purchase of this game, especially with Motorstorm and Gran Turismo for the PSP. All things considered, I would say to pass on this game and save your money for a different racing game.