What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while rated "Everyone," this racing game received a warning from the ESRB for mild language ("hell, "bummer" and "butt" are notable examples) as well as mild violence (crashing your car, truck, or buggy into others) and an alcohol reference (one of the drivers says something about looking forward to drinking champagne after winning a race). This game has an online component, which Common Sense Media does not recommend using for anyone under the age of 12.
What's it about?
Codemasters' DIRT, a mud-splattering racing game that serves as a successor to the company's best-selling Colin McRae driving series, offers a number of racing styles including European-style rally circuits, where drivers race point-to-point in countries such as England, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as in Australia and Japan. And for the first time in the franchise, gamers can also tackle races from the U.S.-based CORR (Championship Off-Road Racing) series featuring up to 10 dune buggies or trucks speeding along on official CORR tracks. You can play a single race against the game's smart artificial intelligence or over the Internet with up to 100 people on a rally track or on the more extreme hill climb race. The career mode offers a more gratifying experience as you work your way up from a modest car to a world-class vehicle by spending points earned on new cars and upgrades.
Is it any good?
Whether you use a game pad controller or an optional (but recommended) racing wheel peripheral and pedals, the vehicles offer authentic handling, though sometimes they feel slippery on sharp turns. Players can tweak the handling for it to feel more like a simulation or an arcade game, or a bit of both.
You can record and replay videos of your performance, which is captured with multiple cameras and pieced together for an impressive highlights reel. DiRT is 2007's best -- and best-looking -- video game for racing fans. It offers a ton of solo and multiplayer options, plenty of cars and tracks to choose from, and captures the fast and frenetic racing that off-roading is known for.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how video games can expose players to sports popular in other parts of the world. Rally racing, for instance, is extremely popular in Europe and parts of Asia, but is not so accepted in the United States, so this can serve as a -- pardon the pun -- "crash course." Do you prefer racing against the artificial intelligence or against others via the Internet?