Dirt 2 recently hit the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and it seems that Codemasters managed to once again turn out another strong showing in the Colin McRae franchise, even if it doesn't carry his name anymore. Unfortunately, the PSP version of the game is pretty bad. Damn bad, you might say.
There are a bunch of problems that basically make it a frustrating experience to drive, and a package that doesn't offer a whole lot of reason to put in the time to progress in the first place.
Starting with the driving, which is easily the game's most infuriating problem, each of the vehicles drive like they're skidding on a surface of vegetable oil. They don't take corners well, but at the same time you're unable to power-slide around them like you can in the console versions, which just so happen to get this formula right (i.e. it's fun). Here, you'll have a hard time making turns at any decent speed, and trying to slide around the bend like you'd expect usually lands you in the gutter.
The tracks are littered with obstacles to run into. Do you like coming to a complete stop and then having to either reverse your way back onto the track or using the Reset Vehicle option? Neither do I. I'd be fine with these spots if you could avoid them, but the controls are so bad that it's practically inevitable that you'll find your front bumper making out with large rocks over and over again. Either that, or you drive so cautiously that the game gets even more boring.
The AI is complete crap. Not only is it unable to aggressively drive at all, but if it gets in front of you it will usually slow down to, oh, about 5mph in order to let you catch up. I understand that some developers want to use rubber-banding in order to keep you in the pack, but why would the cars basically slam on the brakes and wait for you to catch up? Come on, at least keep it somewhat interesting and make me work to catch up again.
The career mode is a mess. You can unlock cars, but you have no idea when you'll do it and there's no money to earn to manually buy what you want. Events and such are locked at the start, but you have no idea how many more races or medals or whatever it is that you need to earn to unlocked them.
There's a Challenge mode where you can partake in five different event types with four challenges in each (making for 20 unique events to beat), but most of them simply aren't fun. The Air Time challenges, where you need to accumulate a certain total amount of air time in the time limit, is bogus because it's best to just turn around and keep hitting the same ramps over and over. Oh, and also because your car has a tendency to roll forward in mid-air and then crash unless you take your foot off the gas when you jump.
The others aren't too much more engaging. There's a small minutia of fun to be had in some cases, but nothing here will grab your interest for more than probably 30 minutes in total. Challenges were a nice idea, but they could have been much better.
And really, that's pretty much the entire game. You can race against four other people in Ad-Hoc mode, and there's game sharing (which is nice), but Dirt 2 on the PSP boils down to little more than a poorly-driving game with a half-assed career mode and a boring Challenges toss-in.
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