Last year, Codemasters treated us with the mighty impressive Dirt 3. Now, the studio’s new dedicated Racing label has launched Dirt Showdown, a racing game with a distinct emphasis on destruction and showmanship, allowing players to compete in full-contact races as well as in demolition derbies or stunt events.
Given this pretty big departure from the rally simulation roots of the series, is Showdown
a decent spinoff or should the Codemasters Racing team stick with what it does best? Let’s have a quick look.
Right from the get-go, as with previous Dirt games, what really impresses is the sharp user interface that gets rid of the distracting geometrical shapes from previous installments and goes big with emphasized text and features the backdrop of a demolition derby stadium.
You’re quickly thrown behind the steering wheel of a car on an figure-8 circuit from Nevada, where you’re given the first Showdown experience in a race where anything goes. It’s even recommended to trade paint with others to ram them off the road.
After this pretty sudden introduction, you’re sent into the first tournament, which is a series of events set all around the world.
My first race took place in Miami and, while it avoided the figure-8 layout, there was still plenty of contact, as opponents are pretty eager to trade some paint with you. Even so, if you manage to steer clear of groups of enemies and wisely use the boost to put some distance between you and them on the straight portions of the track, you won’t have many problems.
While the race was reminiscent of actual ones from Dirt 3, the next event, a Knockout one set in Yokohama, is quite different, with cars trying to ram each other off an elevated platform.
Each contact gets scored and each crash means deductions from the total. This is a pretty hectic experience as mobs of cars can easily form around you if you’re not paying attention.
Be sure to always stay away from the outskirts of the platform and to single out opponents before going for a push. If you do get thrown off the platform, use one of the nearby ramps to quickly get back into the action, especially towards the end of the round where double the amount of points is awarded for each move.
Overall, while it may be a serious departure from the classic Dirt experience, Showdown is proving to be an interesting experiment.
Check out a video above to admire it in action.
Worth a full Softpedia review? Yes