Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360
Games exist to provide a sort of escapism; To allow the player to participate in activities that would either be ridiculous in real life or so expensive that only a billionaire would be able to afford it. With regards to Dirt Showdown, one would not wish to be involved in a 4 way car-crush, however on a console we shout gleefully and fist pump at every smash, crunch and bone breaking collision.
From the same team that brought us the groundbreaking Dirt 3, Dirt Showdown takes the smashing part from Dirt 3 and builds a sturdy and entertaining game structure around it. Taking a ridiculous amount of inspiration from Destruction Derby, Twisted Metal and surprisingly enough, Robot Wars, Dirt Showdown is your ultimate post-pub game that blooms when there's a few of you playing; however, it does take severe personal endurance to continue on your own.
Split into a variety of racing disciplines, the single player mode does what every current racer does. A standard career mode greets and eases you through the difficulties with the different game types being introduced on the way. The first and most entertaining being the Demolition category where the player gets the chance to knock seven shades of squash out of the other competitors. Split again into different modes, Rampage allows your car to respawn after it has been written off, which is unlike traditional destruction derbies (yes they have tradition too) so shows Dirt Showdown making full use of its nature. More strategic destruction events are also available, including the nail biting ‘Hard Target’ that has players fighting for their lives with just the one life, whilst an increasing supply of enemies are introduced, all with the intention of humping that bumper of yours. When played with mates, ‘Hard Target’ is nail biting, bum tensing fun; however when played without a crowd, the enjoyment is replaced with severe frustration - still doesn't make you give up though.
Racing and Hoonigan (a scene-term for gymkhana which is a hip term for skidding a car in a circle ) make up the other two game sections with racing bringing back the infectious quality from the Dirt series. If anything, these two game modes are just fillers to flesh out the games original premise which was to smash up anything that moves so it’s good to know that Dirt Showdown triumphs in that corner.
A game based on destruction where the destruction was crap would be a like having a first person shooter without any shooting, so it’s good to know that the destruction physics live up to their promise. Bumpers and fenders go flying when you seriously put the oomph into a smash.
Thankfully, it's fantastic and is just what wreckheads like myself have been wishing for ever since Craig Charles and Philippa Forester disappeared from Robot Wars. The pick up and play feel means that anyone can just get to grips with the game's engine and be rolling about in laughter straight away. That’s what Dirt Showdown is in a nutshell; a feel-good, entertaining game that can provide a night's entertainment with your mates. Tacked onto this package is a solid single player campaign.
However, my only negative is that I originally though that Dirt Showdown was going to be a downloadable title and only have the Destruction Derby features. Maybe in the future, Codemasters should follow that route and provide more arenas as the Showdown is lacking in vehicular gladiatorial arenas.