DiRT Career Mode Spotlight

One driver, tons of off-road vehicles, and metric tons of mud, dirt, and grime. We dive head-first into this racing game's career mode.

Codemasters' upcoming off-road racing game DiRT has gotten its fair share of attention thanks to its razor-sharp graphics and a driving model that seems to live up to the high standard of the game's forebear, the Colin McRae Rally series. While we've had opportunities to take brief dips in the DiRT and check out the game's gorgeous presentation and multiplayer features, with the final build of the game recently sent to us by Codemasters, our latest goal was to dive into the game's career mode to get a feel for the heart of the single-player game.

Making your way through DiRT's career mode will require you to drive through a number of races organized in a tiered pyramid system that will have you moving up through the ranks as you win races and earn points. Before you can enter a race, however, you'll have to buy a car that fits into that event's discipline (you can't run a Mitsubishi Lancer in a big-rig hill climb, for example). Luckily, the cash you need for cars is easy to come by in DiRT--and the higher the difficulty level you compete in, the more money you'll earn for winning.

At the bottom tier of the career pyramid you have 11 events to choose from, though not all of them are available to you right away. Still, in keeping with DiRT's inclusive approach to the grimier racing disciplines, there are plenty of event types to choose from straightaway--traditional rally racing, rallycross events, and CORR (Championship Off-road Racing) events are a few examples. All of them require different cars (not to mention different approaches) to find success on the track. We started off with a CORR event, which had us taking control of the massive, high-riding dune buggies that characterize the series. Switching immediately to one of the two in-car views that DiRT will feature was a shock, as the CORR buggies feature netting in front of some of the windows--which, as you might expect, is very hard to see through. As a result, we quickly chose the standard chase cam to complete the CORR event.

It's not just about rally racing anymore: DiRT will feature multiple off-road race types.

With 10 points for a race victory in our pocket, it was on to tier-one events such as the R1 Raid, a rally raid event that featured multiple opponents on the same track, as well as a crossover race where we went one-on-one with an opponent on a closed-circuit course. To help you get a feel for the different types of events and the tracks you'll be facing, DiRT features a detailed stage information menu mode where you can get a track map, information on surface type and weather, and a detailed audio recce of the course from your codriver. Far from being a canned reading of the text already onscreen, the audio portion offers handy tips on how to maximize your speed on the course, and points out tricky spots that you need to be wary of, such as blind jumps over crests and other hazards. Pay attention and you might just cut a few seconds off your time, and save your ride in the process.

As you make your way through your career, you'll receive advice from the game's host, pro driver Travis Pastrana. If you win a few races on the default difficulty level, Travis will suggest you move up to the next level of challenge; keep on winning and you'll be challenged to take your game to the top echelon, where the competition is much tougher, the margin for error much lower, and the financial rewards much sweeter. Couple that with the exhaustive amounts of statistics the game keeps on you as you go--tracking everything from total race wins to the longest skid you've managed--and you've got a game that is paying close attention to your progress. It also helps that the game has one of the coolest interfaces we've seen in a while--thoroughly modern-looking and easy to navigate.

Eventually, as we completed the first-tier races, races in the second tier of the pyramid began opening up. Looking at the progression pyramid, you'll always be aware of how many points you'll need to open up race events at the next-highest tier. After running and winning events in the first and second tiers, we unlocked an event we had our eye on for a while: a Pike's Peak hill climb in a giant big rig. Better yet, it was a giant big rig with an absolutely massive spoiler on the back--picture a Peterbilt crossed with a Formula One racer for a better idea of this beast. Riding in the cockpit view inside this truck is, as you might guess, an entirely different driving experience from zipping around in a rally car or even in the larger rallycross trucks. You're much higher up in the saddle, for one thing, and while the trucks are far quicker than you might expect, they still have a sort of lumbering feel that takes some getting used to.

The career mode will take you through all of the different locales featured in the game.

While the constant variety and inherent challenge keeps DiRT's career mode feeling continuously fresh, the early races are typically composed of only one or two events before you move on to the next race type. Presumably, this will change the further you get into career mode, as the prerace menu does show a "repair damage" screen where you can spend time fixing your cars in between stages, as you have in previous Colin McRae games.

In all, even if you're not neck-deep in DiRT's career mode, the game will still give you plenty of options for getting good and dirty, including one-off races, a rally-centric mode, and, of course, the multiplayer modes. It's an interesting evolution for the Colin McRae series and one whose release date we're greatly anticipating. Stay tuned for a full review of the game when it makes it to store shelves in mid-June.

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125 comments
sil_musashi
sil_musashi

After trying this game I want to laugh at people who have said this annoying game will beat MotorStorm. DIRT is suck and the online mode is a pain. How can race online with people who you don't know and the only one you can hope is that your record will higher than others. Man... what's a disapoinment.

pkg
pkg

Someone mentioned that Microsoft makes PCs and Sony doesn't. That is totally backwards. Sony makes PCs running MS OS and MS does not make PCs or servers. I've got PS3 and XBOX 360 and I'll buy whatever comes out first. :)

CanadianGamer1
CanadianGamer1

ya i think this is goona be better then forza just hope there is a way to cuatumize ur ride

DooshBIGELOW
DooshBIGELOW

Man this game is gonna ROCK! played the demo over and over! better than forza FO SHO!

svaargod
svaargod

SPENCER 626* the answear is that the x360 has the games and playstation 3 dont so shut up...

Ghost-Gamer
Ghost-Gamer

He also says "X-BOX 360- $800......... PS3- $600" I don't know where the hell he's from but since when has the xbox been more expensive than the PS3? I agree with guitarman, go check out system wars spencer.

Wakey652
Wakey652

Can't wait for this weekend to play this game!

Connor312
Connor312

Haha Spencer well how bout this THE 360 CAN BE MODDED FOR FREE GAMES SO WERE SAVING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS THERE!!!

guitarman1603
guitarman1603

Hey spencer boy. Keep on trying to justify a system that has no games harldy no exclusives and has FREE online. Theres a reason why its free. YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET. I have both systems and there is no comparision between the two now. Try stating facts next time and go to system wars instead of a game review moron. Oh by the way hows the lag on Fear. Heard its great. Go to system wars!!!! FYI - Graphics are not better and the the controllers are not $10 more. I hate idiots.

benjo89
benjo89

Fans who don't whine.

Spencer626
Spencer626

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

The_Tay-Man
The_Tay-Man

Wow! finally a cool diving game that you can smash your ride in! Crap online multi player is a big bummer

Elitekiller1172
Elitekiller1172

it felt so real when you were driving in the demo, and the crashes are so realistic i give this game a 10

jacko_hodgson
jacko_hodgson

i dont like the fact that on multiplayer u hav to race on a seperate track but it's still good

Juggernaut140
Juggernaut140

yeah but the 100 players don't race together. Every player is on his own seperate track and whoever finishes first wins.

starmanuk50
starmanuk50

all i can say is the pc demo version rocks on my 8800 gtx and looks graphically quite stunning, im not usually into racing games except the gta type but this was fun to play, as for the xbox i cant comment but if its ported across then it should be nearly as good.

gokuofheaven
gokuofheaven

just the demo itself was great. I'm sure the full game is worth every penny. I don't understand the whole comparison here with Motorstorm. This is real rally racing at its finest right down to its core brought onto the next-gen console. Just enjoy it, why fight about it?

chane2k1
chane2k1

Has anyone actually played the demo yet? The gameplay is just horrible and graphics don't come close to that of Motorstorm. I'll stick to Motorstorm on my PS3, my 360 will have to wait for something else. I'm not waisting my money on this after playing that demo.

705H1R0
705H1R0

how can you even compare this to motor storm? yes, they both feature off-road racing. that's about where the similarities end. DiRT ftw!

mani111
mani111

looks pretty cool!!!

HatefulMidget
HatefulMidget

Of course it is going to be better than motorstorm. all the colin mcrae series have been great and this one will be no different!

DarwinBC
DarwinBC

The video looks sweet might have to check this out

swgneni
swgneni

I'm still addicted to motorstorm, but this game seems way more like realistic rally racing and i'll be buying it for sure (still have to decide 360 or PS3)

ryan-man
ryan-man

this is better than motorsport way better! not the crap races in canyons in america but real rallying in europe and dakar racing in afrika :D and some nice real models with damage! not the toy models of motorstorm:)

almartin_2020
almartin_2020

sweet sounds like a good game i might pick it up

jord3000
jord3000

Looks like it's gonna be a great driving game. Looks even better than motorstorm for ps3.

burge999
burge999

looking forward to this game ill get it on the ps3 xbox gamertag: burge999 ps3 gamertag: burge999

jocaju
jocaju

Waiting on review, I know that motorstorm is not 10 but I know is not 7.9 either, let's see DiRT.

satanuk
satanuk

big rigs : off the road racing > dirt. dirt is loser

therapyhiccup
therapyhiccup

100 players online...? i read that on the back of the box today. (its on display)

GrimGravy
GrimGravy

played the demo i still like motorstorm more, soo far that is

10054254
10054254

I wish the demo was more of a simulation, the cars feel like they have butter for tires and you dont feel like you are pulling a tonne of steel over dirt.

aldrums
aldrums

been playing the demo last night and i have never been as spellbound and entertained by a driving game THIS good ever.....If the whole game is as polished and spot on as the demo this good be the utlimate arcade/rally racer.....fantastic - bring on the full game

justinwhite33
justinwhite33

Bout time a dirt racing game come out for the 360....i hope its as good if not better than rallisport....

KingKoop
KingKoop

Still no Forza beater I don't think, looks good all the same though.

wenbin09
wenbin09

cool, but the game seems quite tough

fathertroy
fathertroy

From the way i played the demo... im definately buying this

jahoousa
jahoousa

I've played the demo on this, very impressive game. Going to be worth the 60 smackers you'll pay for it.

nascar1
nascar1

i wasn't a huge fan of the 1st Forza, but i'm really enjoying FM2...it's well worth the purchase imo as a racing gamer. as for DiRT, from the 1st gameplay footage i saw and after playing the demo i'm definately looking forward to it...it's going to be well worth the purchase also and certainly a great game to play as well ! gonna be a great year for racing games...i'm ready !

Mr_Doom212
Mr_Doom212

I don't know why, but this game looks a lot better then Forza 2. I dunno, it just appeals to me, and I loved the Colin McRae Rally series. Looks good, a defiant buy. I wanna see the achievements for this.

DesmondPills
DesmondPills

the damage modeling is far ahead of whats out there now. check out some of the vids of them demonstrating it. from guardrails bending at multiple points to car damage, this stuff is top notch. to the guy who said he's picking DiRT over Forza 2, bro just get both, Forza 2 is ill, just as DiRT is going to be.

airforcexy
airforcexy

OK; I know it's coming to the PS3, so don't think I'm a fanboy. This game looks much better than Motorstorm. So does PGR3. The only thing I liked about Forza was the 60FPS. Something that should be standard since the Dreamcast days.

AvIdGaMeR444
AvIdGaMeR444

If Forza 2 can get a 9 in graphics for...ummm...looking the way it does, then so can DiRT for....ummm....looking the way it does.

jonasb6
jonasb6

Was i the only one that noticed the lack of rumble in the game :S ?

Bromz
Bromz

Just added this to my want list, was deciding between forza or dirt, was put off by dirt's mp, but sp looks awesome and I'm not very good at mp racers anyway (still they're great fun though) :P

truegamer55
truegamer55

well actually the demo was only on medium difficulty so damage wasn't on full