Colin McRae: DiRT

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Staff member
Dec 26, 2006
After playing the demo i was convinced not to buy it. The G25 responds very poor (more then half a second of lag) and so does the whole handling. No bad word on the graphics because Codemasters know how to present a game as usual. But overal a no for me


well i bought it but (sucker y'know), it only lasted on my hard drive for maybe a day or 2, and it was uninstalled. The graphics are obviously really good but as Bram said the response of the wheels to the WRC cars is woeful and there's something dreadful about the handling.

Graphically - very good
4x4's - not too bad

Richard Burns Rally.?? now we're talking, an awsome simulation and arguably the best true sim available for pc along with GPL off'cos...

Brett Bagstad

Feb 23, 2008
Colin McRae: DiRT UK Review
Buckle up and prepare for the ride of your life in Codesmasters' stunning next-gen rally racer.​
by Rob Burman, IGN UK

UK, June 8, 2007 - Exhilarating doesn't even begin to describe the experience of blasting up a mountainside in an Evo XI at 100 miles per hour. As the scenery whips by and the gravel track blurs beneath your tyres, your knuckles turn white with excitement as you grip the pad tighter and struggle to maintain control along the game's narrow off-road courses. To make matters worse (or more interesting, depending on your take), there's a sheer drop to either side: get your braking right and you'll slide gracefully around the hair-pin corners; miss-time it by a fraction and you'll fly off the track and tumble to your death. Nasty.

Colin McRae: DiRT is chock-full of intense moments like this. What's more, it's a game that treads the thin line between arcade racer and impenetrable simulation remarkably well, thanks to its broad range of difficulty options and race events, not to mention the perfectly weighted handling and customisation options, which are substantial enough to satisfy even the most hardened engine-tinkering grease monkey. Sure, DiRT isn't the most realistic driving game on the circuit, particularly compared to the likes of Forza Motorsport 2, but there's no doubting it's definitely one of the most action-packed and enjoyable.

The variety of locations is one of McRae's strongest points.​

One of the reasons for this is because DiRT takes a somewhat artistic approach to rallying. Rather than the solitary experience in which cars zip along mud tracks one by one, many of the events see you going head-to-head with other cars, shunting and side-swiping to get ahead of the pack. Colin McRae does includes the traditional rally stage events but there's a lot more to this than going from point-to-point on a mud-encrusted B-road in the Brecon Beacons.

Take the career mode for example. Here you work your way up a pyramid of more than 60 racing events to prove you're the ultimate driver. The challenges available include (deep breath) classic rallies, in which you race against the clock; hill climbs up steep, winding mountain paths; crossovers around a short circuit against another driver; rally cross against multiple competitors; big rig races and, finally buggy events. Whatever takes your fancy behind the wheel, DiRT has something for everyone. What's really brilliant in the career mode though is that all these races are randomly spread over each of the 11 tiers of the pyramid and can only be accessed by winning events, so you're never really sure what challenge is coming next. One minute you can be chugging through the desert in a hulking big rig, the next you're skidding through mud in a compact but fast buggy. The cocktail of events really mixes things up and ensures the single-player experience never grows dull or predictable.

Slipping and sliding round tight bends is the key to impressive times.​

The broad range of events means there's great variety out on the Tarmac, or desert dirt or jungle mud, depending where you're racing. At first most tracks are wide and fairly forgiving, so rookie drivers have room to manoeuvre on bends and therefore are handed a greater chance of grabbing a podium finish. But as you progress you need more skill to achieve first place, because courses become narrower and obstacles such as tight hair-pins and jumps - which can potentially throw you off the track - become more common. It's these more challenging stages that provide many of the standout moments in DiRT - rocketing through forests, with trees closing in on either side and hidden dips at the edge of the course, is one of the most intense next-gen racing experiences we've had because the oppressively close scenery absolutely flies past, giving the player an unparalleled sense of speed.

It's not just tricky courses that provide a challenge either, because the opponents get pretty damn ruthless as the game progresses too. On the default difficult, clubman, getting ahead of your opponents is tricky if you're fresh to the game but soon becomes a breeze. However, crank it up to the next level and the difference is immediately noticeable, with opponents jostling for position more viciously and even going out of their way to nudge you off the track. Sure, you'll shout and scream when a rival ruins your perfect lap, but we guarantee you'll still keep coming back for more because the difficulty is the right side of frustrating.

What's more, each vehicle - of which there are many - handles differently from the next, so the driving techniques you'd use for a four-wheel drive Subaru are very different from how you'd drive a light buggy. You've therefore got to perfect each one if you're to reach the top of the career pyramid.

It's worth pointing out at this stage that the handling feels quite loose, which can be a little disconcerting at first, but we feel it really adds to the experience and feels just right. After all, most of the time you're racing across loose gravel and dirt so it wouldn't feel right if your car stuck to the track. Having said that, those events set around Tarmac tracks feels suitably different from off road challenges.

The handling is a balance between simulation and arcade, although it tends to lean more towards the latter. As such it's possible to power around long bends in one controlled slide by feathering accelerate and brake, and you don't need demon skills to do so. Those who revel in hardcore driving sims may be a little disappointed by the more arcade-style handling then, especially compared to previous McRae titles, but the majority of us will lap up the game's accessible, pick-up-and-play approach.

You can really pick up speed when you're not racinng on gravel tracks.​

DiRT isn't just another dumb racer though. It's possible to customise the set-up of the cars to suit the way you want to drive, as well as adapt it to match the surface you're racing on. The brakes, suspension, camber of the wheels and countless other features can be tinkered with before heading out onto the starting grid, plus there's a useful beginner-friendly tutorial that explains exactly how each change affects the performance of the car. The wealth of customisation options is thorough and adds an extra level of depth to the gameplay, which goes some way to compensate those expecting a more simulation-style driving experience.

Unfortunately, one feature that isn't quite so welcome is McRae's online mode. Despite the fact many of the single-player challenges pit you against multiple opponents, the online experience is a solitary one. Players compete against the clock along point-to-point rally stages rather than fight for first place against each other, with the only indication that you're going up against other racers being the times appearing on screen. Admittedly it's surprisingly enjoyable, trying to beat the times of 100 other racers, but it's still not as exciting as actually racing against a load of other cars on the same track.

C.O.R.R. is one of the most brutal and tough events.​

The other downfall we've found with DiRT's is its inconsistent frame rate. There's been a lot of hoo-hah surrounding the fact it only runs at 30 frames per second - having played the game a lot we're happy to report it's not a problem and most of the time it runs smooth and fast. However, there are times, particularly when there are lots of environmental objects at the edge of the track, when things get a little choppy. We're not talking game-ruining slowdown, but it's noticeable. To be honest most players will be happy to overlook the occasional blip considering how fantastic the game looks at all other times and how spot-on the damage engine is, but if you're a graphics whore who cannot bear screen tearing or a drop in frame-rate it's best you know about such problems before you splash the cash.

Closing Comments
Despite a few issues with the frame-rate and the disappointing online mode, Colin McRae: DiRT is one of the most enjoyable next-gen racing experiences we’ve had. The single-player is rich and fun, with a well-rounded collection of different events, vehicles and tracks which never become tiresome nor boring thanks to the variation of driving experiences offer. The feeling of speed is great too, particularly on the tighter courses, but most importantly DiRT is a lot of fun because it's immediately accessible. Whether you're an experienced wheelman or new to driving games, DiRT will offer a white-knuckle thrill ride you won't forget.

Marcel vd Aa

AC Paint Guru
Aug 28, 2008
Colin Mcrae: DiRT 2

Codemasters announces Colin McRae: DiRT 2

From the Codemasters site:

Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will feature a roster of contemporary off-road events, taking players to the most diverse and challenging real-world environments. This World Tour will have players competing in aggressive multi-car and intense solo races at extraordinary new locations, from canyon racing and jungle trails to city stadium-based events.
To be powered by the third generation of the EGO™ Engine’s award-winning racing game technology, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will benefit from tuned-up car-handling physics system and new damage engine effects. It will also showcase a spectacular new level of visual fidelity, with cars and tracks twice as detailed as those seen in Race Driver: GRID.
Colin McRae: DiRT 2’s garage houses a best-in-class collection of officially licensed rally cars and off-road vehicles, specifically selected to deliver aggressive and fast paced racing. Covering seven vehicle classes, players will be given the keys to powerful vehicles right from the off. In Colin McRae: DiRT 2 the opening drive is the Group N Subaru; essentially making the ultimate car from the original game the starting point in the sequel and the rides just get even more impressive.
In addition to the World Tour, Colin McRae: DiRT 2 will come complete with full online functionality that will be core to the overall experience, with head-to-head competitive online play and new social features to engage the racing community. Prepare for mud, gravel, dust and dirt too in Colin McRae: DiRT 2, coming 2009.

Ries Notenboom

Sep 18, 2008
I'll defo try a demo out or sumtin to see if the handling is somewhat realistic. DIRT 1 did not really deliver on that part. Graphics are pure joy.

Karl Dubois

Jun 20, 2008
Colin Mcrae Dirt is a joke, bad steering and very unrealistic braking.
Colin Mcrae 1 and 2 are the best.
To get champion on expert level , that was not easy.

Anthony Pahl

Feb 26, 2008
When I tried DIRT awhile back I was expecting an arcade game for light entertainment. It was absolute crap. The steering/handling was so bad that it was in no manner worth playing. I wouldn't bother with any future evolutions of this product