Top Skidmarks: Dirt 2 Demo

The demo for energetic rally-sequel Dirt 2 is out, and we’re ashamed to admit we’ve not been able to get our own hands-on impressions of the offroad racer onto the site before the game hit. In short: we rather like it. The courses are fun, and the vehicles slide and jump commendably. The demo, which is here (and 1.32gb), features two events: a “Trailblazer” event, in which you thrash a Mitsubishi Eclipse GT along some Moroccan roads in a point-to-point course, a “Landrush” circuit race which takes place at the Ensenada Port track in Baja California. While the Trailblazer thing is against the clock, the Landrush is an 8-vehicle race in some big old American land-trucks. I prefer the Trailblazer track myself, as they’re amongst the best in the game.

Dirt 2 is out on PC this Thursday.


  1. aldo says:

    Ah, is this perhaps why GRID was put on the Steam sale?

    Interested in this, now, after playing (and quite enjoying) the aforementioned racing game….

    • ascagnel says:

      Also, the preorder bonus for DIRT2 was DIRT1 for free.

    • Gremmi says:

      A bit incorrect, the preorder bonus was DIRT 1 for 80% off.

      Steam appears to have totally fucked up on ordering this game however, which probably means I won’t be able to get the offer. A shame, as DIRT was fantastic fun.

  2. Kua says:

    Oooh I want. Sometimes I have this real strong urge to play a good rally game. But there was something really unlikeable about the first Dirt. There was too much going on I think, when all I wanted was pure rally. Oh and that American co-driver was horrendous.

  3. Baboonanza says:

    I got a free copy of Dirt 2 with my 5850. Problem is I don’t have a joypad/joystick and I don’t think the cursor keys are going to cut it.

    Any recomendations? I’m reluctant to spend £25 for the xbox controller for the 3-4 games I’ll probably ever use it on.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      The Xbox controllers are really good though. I think there are cheaper third-party Xbox-style controllers that are pretty good too. The trouble with controllers is that you don’t want some shoddy knockoff generally — if there’s anything off about the controller it ruins the game (e.g. I had one whose analogue stick wouldn’t register a full up-right, making it impossible to run in that direction in games like Prince of Persia).

    • Tom says:

      you can buy second hand 360 pads from Game for £10. They’ll replace them with another one if it turns out to be a little too old.

    • GS says:

      cursor keys work fine, its more then playable with them

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Yeah, I can only speak from my experience with GRID and Burnout: The Ultimate Box, but cursor keys work surprisingly well. I clocked about 120h with Burnout Paradise on the PS3, so I daresay I’m less than crap at drifting a Formula 1 car through hectic downtown traffic. I was, if anything, better on the PC. Granted, some of that could be related to the fact that I’m sitting much closer to my PC screen than to my TV, and also I’ve only progressed through about half the game on the PC so I don’t have access to the very high end cars there yet, but I found myself doing just fine with the cursor keys. In GRID too I’m kicking all kinds of ass; when I fail it’s not because I couldn’t make a fine enough steering input, but because I had a brainfart and thought I didn’t need to brake before that hairpin turn.

  4. Turin Turambar says:

    You forgot to add that the graphics are totally sweet and the performance is excellent.

    It’s also fun, i think. :P

  5. Phinor says:

    I wish we’d some day get a rally simulator that could be considered a worthy successor to Richard Burns Rally. Dirt 2 isn’t that though it is pretty fun little arcade rally game with worst menus ever made.

    • ascagnel says:

      I’m not sold on the menus, but I’m not sure I hate them either. There’s a lot of detail packed into the caravan & front-of-caravan areas. Its not efficient by any means, but does pull in the whole “carnival” atmosphere that typically gets ignored by sims.

      The graphical style and atmosphere reminded me of Need for Speed Pro Street. Thankfully, the game is far better.

  6. Vandelay says:

    Good fun. Personally (probably mostly because I’m still a non-driver), I found it to be a good mix of arcade and realism. Not like the Need for Speeds, where you don’t need to use the brakes, but not as soul sappingly infuriating as hardcore simulation racers.

    And I agree with Turin, looks very pretty and has great performance. Although, weirdly, the bit of the menu in the trailer runs exceptionally sluggishly for no reason. The second it steps outside and also in game there is no problems, but that first bit is horrific. It wasn’t a very good first impressions.

  7. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Dirt 2’s tragedy is that now finally Codemasters have found a great handling model for rally cars, they include very little rallying at all. Dirt 2 has a handful of rally tracks, around 10 rally cars, and that’s it. What rallying there is, is great, though.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I agree. Though I’ve only played the Dirt 2 demo, the rallying in Dirt 1 was by far my favourite part (not surprising since I was a big McRae series fan). It’s a little sad that it’s been sidelined for more mainstream events to take over.

  8. Kua says:

    Buy a used one off Ebay. It really is an essential piece of kit. Either that or sell me your copy of the game :)

    • Kua says:

      That was a failed reply the Bababanoobababooza (or something similar), evidently.

  9. CaLe says:

    I’m having a problem with the demo. While in the caravan and during the initial load screen I get about 3fps, but as soon as I leave the caravan or get into the race I’m running fine. I’m on the Radeon 4800, latest drivers.

    • Vandelay says:

      As I said in my original post, having the same issue and I’m a little surprised no one else has mentioned it. Guess it must be a Radeon thing. Mine is a 4850 with 512MB.

      Not really a big issue, except it taking forever to get into the game (both the first load and navigating the caravan menu screen.)

    • Tang says:

      Hi guys,

      Which driver versions are you running? This was an issue with an older driver version and is a known issue. It’s mentioned in the readme file, but I believe there is a newer version of the driver where it has been fixed as well (9.11). Please let us know on the codemasters forums if you’re still getting the issue after using the 9.11 drivers.

      vii) Poor frontend performance using an ATI graphics card with driver version 9.9

      There is currently a bug with the ATI catalyst driver version 9.9 which can cause low frame rates in the frontend. This is down to a problem with this specific version of the drivers, and can be fixed by switching to a different driver version. At the time of writing, the problem must be fixed by rolling back to an older driver version. To do this, first uninstall the Catalyst 9.9 drivers via the control panel (Add/Remove Programs in XP, or Programs and Features in Vista), then browse to the following website: Choose your operating system and graphics card from the lists, and click GO. If the subtitle of the page is “ATI Catalyst™ 9.9 Display Driver…”, scroll to the bottom of the page, and choose “Previous Drivers and Software”. Download and install the Catalyst 9.8 drivers.

    • Vandelay says:

      Thanks for the advice. I was using 9.10, so installing 9.11 and the hotfix patch linked to below has solved the problem.

  10. ascagnel says:

    One thing I just noticed about the demo:

    NO FREAKING OPTIONS MENU. The “Main Menu” is the caravan, and there’s no options in it! Pause does nothing, and between the “Extras” and “Personal” menus, there’s a single active entry: “Legal.”

    Awful demo, and bodes poorly. At least you can edit the settings in the game’s save directory (~/My Documents/My Games/Dirt 2 Demo/).

  11. cyfrus says:

    link to <<< Dirt2 Hotfix driver for ATi gpu's. They should address the problems you are having.

  12. Flopsy says:

    Strangely enough (and I’m not sure why they did this) but the “options” are actually outside the trailer, and that’s where you can tweak all your settings. Peculiar huh?

  13. XM says:

    The demo is a lot of fun the cars feel much better than Dirt. The AI is very good too so worth a look to any driving fans.