We take part in a special preview test to find out just how Codemasters' off-road racer handles on Xbox Live.
We already have a pretty good idea how the single-player side of the latest incarnation of the Colin McRae series is going to pan out, but one big piece of the puzzle seemed to be missing--competitive online action. Instead of having you race alongside other people, DiRT compares race times, albeit race times from others driving the same bit of road as you, at the same time.
While reaction to this decision has been mixed, Codemasters is still confident that it will provide a compelling, exciting experience, and so we jumped into a specially arranged preview test session to learn more.
The basic options for playing on Xbox Live are similar to those in many other competitive games. You can jump straight into the racing options or check out the online leaderboards, which detail the fastest lap or stage times, as well as global rankings. Your overall position in the latter list is dictated by the TrueSkill method that many Xbox Live games use, which gives you an overall number based on how you perform against others, relative to your own score.
To affect that rating you need to take part in ranked events, although you can choose to take part in unranked player races and private sessions as well. Once you decide on your settings, you're placed into a session which can include up to 99 other racers, and voting then takes place on which track will be contested. A 60-second countdown begins, and at the end of that time the most popular venue is selected and the race environment begins to load. Voting is simply a case of choosing one venue from a selection of six or seven, or if nobody votes then a track will be selected at random. In the series of games that we played there seemed to be a fairly consistent selection of tracks, although at this point we're not sure exactly how many of the game's tracks can feed into that vote and how often they vary.
From there it's straight into the race and the countdown to the green light. You're racing point-to-point stages, rather than circuits, and like in the offline game, this is done without anybody else around you--not even ghost cars. The progress of the other drivers can be followed in two ways. In the top right of the screen is your position indicator, which displays who is leading and which drivers are directly ahead of or behind your time. Then, running down the left-hand side is a progress indicator showing you how far through the stage you are. Your car is represented by a big triangle, while other drivers are represented by small triangle icons. As you pass the split timing points, you'll also get an indication of how far behind the leader you are.
While this information sounds a little sterile in comparison to the bump and grind of side-by-side action, it can be pretty intense. The nature of these stages means that you'll need maximum concentration to do well, and taking your eye from the road even for a second, to check out your opposition's progress for instance, is a dangerous temptation. If the race is close, the pressure to get that little bit extra out of your car is high, and because you can't see the actual ontrack line that anybody else is taking, you don't know with any certainty how fast they're going or whether or not they might be about to crash. A big positive side effect to this system was that, in our test at least, there was no lag or loss of frame rate, which is important for a style of racing that demands such a high level of precision.
Once the race leader has completed the stage, everybody else has around 30 seconds to get to the finish line, and then it's back to the session's lobby. Points are awarded based on how many other drivers you beat, and they're carried over from race to race. Though the points don't mean anything outside of that specific lobby, and once you leave your tally is erased, it's a pretty good way of keeping track of everybody's performance over a series of events.
After the results are in, you can use a little text chat add-on in that lobby, which lets you select, by angling the left analogue stick, one of eight initial message subject headings, such as "hello," "voting," or "happy," and then select a phrase relating to that heading. It's a basic method of communication, but it's quick and easy to use and should enable brief gloating, or despair, in a more manageable way than 100 voices all competing for attention at once.
How this system will stand up to the stresses of a larger number of players than took part in our test remains to be seen, but for now it's an interesting alternative to what most people might have expected to see. We'll bring you a full review of DiRT nearer release time.
Demo is cool and the music rocks, Ray Mears comes into my living room eveytime he hears it and makes a fire out of nothing and cooks Steve Irwin on it....weird....I'm buying it for sure!
Demo is cool and the music rocks, Abraham Lincoln comes back from the dead and we do the conga every time he hears it.........I'm buying it for sure.......
Demo is cool and music rocks my GF gives me a lap dance everytime she hears it..........I'm buyin' for sure
Yes it is a Rally sim and the on line sounds very interesting and more realistic. BUT, there is no reason that they could not add the option to host an online game with limited number of cars for those that want to enjoy the game with others or their friends. There are much more casual racers than sim racers out there and they need to address both sides. Even if this games does well, and I'm sure it will, it could do much better in sales if they had that option.
Well, I'm a PLAYSTATION 3 owner only. I was going to hold off buying MotorStorm because I was going to wait for DiRT because I just fell in love with it's First Person view where you can see the steering wheel. The graphics were also very good, so I was going to buy DiRT. I guess I'll buy MotorStorm though since DiRTs online is just Time Trials. I gotta say, that's not fun at all. You get a little lonely lol. Anyway, it sucks that they totally screwed the online because I was waiting for this game to come out, but now I'm not. Still sounds like a great game, but in racing games, I'm mostly focused in the online because that's where the fun's at.
Being a rally simulator I think the way they designed the online "multi-player" mode is probably the best way to have done it. As evident below, many people are not going to enjoy this kind of setup, but for rally fans this should be a dream come true. However for those looking for a more arcade style head-to-head competition with rally inspired cars and tracks then Sega Rally Revo is looking quite good. Plus there is always the inevitable Rallisport 3.
segaraptor "In response to several, you do realize this is an actual rally game, right?! Rallisport, and as much as I love it, Sega Rally are not true rally games. Real rally is about beating the clock on a challenging stage! That's what it is. If you have a different idea of it, then it's wrong and you should be playing other games if you don't like racing the clock. If you've never played Colin McRae or WRC, then I suggest you pick one of those up. Colin McRae 04 is playable on 360, by the way, and it's only about $6 used. This is real rally. Not arcade racing with rally cars." Amen to this. It's obvious to me that some people have never watched a Rally event. There are never more than two cars on the track at the same time, because basically its not wide enough. Rally is all about driving skills and beating the clock, a real test of will and determination. I kinda expected the online to be this way, it is a sim-rally game after all.
Graphics do look good, the detail is great, but they look so gloomy, like GoW...why!? have u seen the Sega game, it's not as sharp but it soesn't have that gloomy overtone. I wanna be on edge when I'm racing not depressed, also hopefully the road deforms like Motorstorm and Sega rally. In any case I could be wrong 'bout the gloomy thing, actual gameplay always looks better compared to screenshots and captures. BTW Crystalcase 3d, actually racing ppl'd b more challenging (unless u have jackasses ramming you), did u ever play Rallisport Challenge 2 that game was nails and u could have solid collision and it was way funner that the outlined colored ghosts.
No other players around you online is = to a boring game. Why go online than? They could have made this game like Motorstorm on the PS3, except this one would have had TONS of depth and replay value to it. To bad, maybe next year.
So what if it's "RALLY" Style it is still a video game and it would probably be a lot more exciting having a mode where you can race other people at the same time..... Very Dissapointing.... I was looking forward to this game too. It still looks HOT....
yeah so apparently half of u reading this dont know what rally is. this online method is pretty much what rally racing would be. i like it the only other thing they could have done to make it closer to rally and also allow us to race at same time is to reduce the number of racers per group to lets say 16, and than let us start with time delay just like in real rally. however one thing i am concerned with here is the feel of competitivness. they need to get something better for player interaction. being that in essence its a sport game having a chance to talk, trash talk, discuss things with your "rivals" would give the game much more competitive feel. this way might be something like super rub-a-dub. check your scores online and if not happy, go again!
Mhm, I'm a little bit disappointed. Sure rally is not about crashing into other cars but since this is a game I would have expected that sort of fun. Racing against time should be an option for many players at the same time, but I really would appreciate to race against one opponent which is right there with me on one track.
In response to several, you do realize this is an actual rally game, right?! Rallisport, and as much as I love it, Sega Rally are not true rally games. Real rally is about beating the clock on a challenging stage! That's what it is. If you have a different idea of it, then it's wrong and you should be playing other games if you don't like racing the clock. If you've never played Colin McRae or WRC, then I suggest you pick one of those up. Colin McRae 04 is playable on 360, by the way, and it's only about $6 used. This is real rally. Not arcade racing with rally cars.
I was in, now I'm out! Even RallySport Challenge used Ghost races, and most importantly it had 4 player rally cross! It was sweet. This is next gen, and hopefully Sega Rally Revo does what needs to be done! BTW, where are you RallySport 3!!!!???? :(
tragic. thats completely lame. v-rally on the ps1 was the best ever rally game! Why oh why they all seem to think we want to race against the clock is a total mystery. this is a huige put-off.....I thought this game was supposed to get us all back into the racing against each other action...less of a tedious rally sim, and a bit more head to head fun.
i just love seeing my opponent. ill rent this game for sure, but once it was time comparison online, the purchase must, turned into a purchase bust!
can't wait for this game, multiplayer sounds intresting and works preety much lyke real rally time system, definately on the look out 4 dis one
At first I was completely against it, but the more people talk about how rally's really work it makes sense. But I'm still not sold yet. How much material and content can they beat out of one simple idea? How much variety can they pull of with just time trials? If that's all it is, it shouldn't be a $60 game. (do we atleast get to mow down brainless spectators on the side of the road?)
I understand what everyone's saying about racing with people. What we really need is for colin mcrae dirt to stay as it is, and then rallisport challenge 3 to turn up, anyone agree?
I would really like to see some side by side action in this game. I mean I know its rally and all, and its been the time trial thing every year...but I want to actually race someone online!
I was hoping to have some fun wrecking through dirt enivironments in online. I guess I will do that anyway in single player.
yes, iunderstand what all you people mean, youd love to see how these vehicles are banged up etc, by other cars, but this is a rally game. not motorstorm. this game is still looking good, and racing against other peoples times can still be as fun. true rally is always against the clock, and this game looks good to boot.
The thing people forget is that Rally games like this are trying to keep as close to a rally experience as possible - since when do you see two, three, or even eight people race it out, bashing eachother off the track in a rally? Rally is all about time, speed and accuracy on the track, not physically racing opponents - beating TRACK times. I mean - games like Paris Dakar get away with it because its based on Paris Dakar, Sega Rally gets away with it because its an arcade racing game - but Rally in real life is lonesome, with a co-driver next to you telling you the condition of the turns and the track so you can get the best time. If every game was the same, everyone would moan then. I guess though I can see why people are getting miffed - It's a game, its like Gran Turismo not having vehicle damage. Games should always take bolder steps. But, with this game I kinda agree that it is a rally sim, and it shouldn't make it an entirely different game by having multiplayer racing brawls. I mean, just how many cars can unpredictably drift on one tight rally course? This game is concentrating on the Rally genre. People who love the REAL kinda rally stuff, with concentration on times rather than rival opponents on the playing field. I will wait for games like Sega Rally to get stuff like that. If you look at Gran Turismo's rally stuff, the tracks are far too wide (great for two players) but far too wide to be a traditional rally course. If the games did concentrate on vast multiplayer - the courses would have to compensate by having wider tracks.
Yes when the game gets released in Australia i'll sure to be one of the first to DRIFT into EB Games and get me some lol...
I usually don't go for racing games but looking at the screens for this and reading the news for this game I may have to get this one.
Grr.. i was hopeing for some crossover or rallycross... This almost defeats the purpose of online.. other then leaderboards.. o well.. im sure the single player will be great enought to hold me over.
This new online play system sounds interesting. As long as each map does not take more than 5 mins, everything should be good.
I hear what your saying 705H1R0 but some sports just don't translate very well to video games. And I think this may be the case here. Even with Rally's, there are still other cars on the road how ever sparce. I mean, someone has to pass somebody at some point in a rally race no? I've done the time trial stuff and if you ask me, that's the most boring part of any racing game. Developers use it as an ingame filler.
For us multiplayer racing junkies they could have included crossover or rallycross and had a fun game as well as one true to actual rally rules.
I love the idea of being able to race online without some little punk driving the wrong way and no little kids screaming in my ear, the simple communication in lobby is just the icing on the cake, way to go Codemasters. The idea of an alternate 2-6 car head to head race would be nice as well.
I agree with everyone else, this type of racing makes sense for this game. But I am a huge fan of the C.O.R.R. racing and go to most of the races and that should definitely be head on head with bump action because that's what it's all about, but I know the game isn't based on that portion of it so it makes sense. But I really wish it was at least an option in some mode.
I think this style of multiplayer will work out great for this particular game, although they should really think about including the OPTION of small (2-6 car) head-to-head races. I'm stoked for this game regardless
Its just like propa stage rally drive den. you dnt race each other at da same time, allow that tho itl b crap
- Release Date: Jun 29, 2007 (AU)
- Classification Board: G
- Release Date: Sep 27, 2007 (AU)
- Classification Board: G