Xbox 360 Review: DiRT Showdown

Ready for a showdown?

The DiRT series has always been focused on the more rally style of racing, but Showdown takes things in an arcade direction with arena battles and events that will feel familiar to those who played DiRT 3, just with more emphasis on the zany.

The career mode is made up of different events and tiers to reach, but most of these are pretty easy. You’ll get the standard races, but demolition and stunt events dominate the overall package. The tracks are well varied and set up ways for unavoidable crashes like an 8-ball track. Besides that, you can still do gymkhana events at places like Battersea Power Station with collectables, mission objectives and so forth. If there’s a problem besides being light-hearted compared to its predecessor, it’s that Showdown feels more like an expansion pack than a full fledged game. DiRT 4 this is definitely not.

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What is though is the questionable choice of releasing it as a retail product; I personally feel it would have sufficed better as an XBLA/PSN download or as DLC for DiRT 3. For the content on show, I don’t feel the price tag is right. But if you are craving more DiRT in your life, then Showdown does enough to fill the void with its multiplayer that is leaps beyond its competitors and yes, it still supports YouTube.

In terms of presentation, Showdown looks very like the last game. But that’s not a terrible crime since DiRT 3 was a gem of a game. The crashes are improved and the controls simplified, while the backgrounds don’t quite have the impact of its predecessor. Sound effects are great for the most part, though the crashes lack impact in the audio department and the commentator is a mixed bag overall.

The Verdict

Some might question why DiRT has gone down this road, but I personally really enjoyed DiRT Showdown, it feels more accessible and the controls are improved. Is it perfect? Of course not, I think the pricing and distribution is wrong, but I don’t care about that. Why? Because when you are playing Showdown, you simply forget all your woes as you boost into a car and tear it to pieces.