Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In one of those moods

I have not been kind to DiRT: Showdown because it does not deserve kindness. It is not recommendable in any way because everything it does has been done better before. The racing as a party idea hit its peak with Motorstorm thanks to it post-apocalyptic setting. Off road racing was better in the older DiRT games. Racing around and bumping into stuff, scattering bit a debris on the track was better in Flat Out. The game also has far to much dubstep in its sound track, it recycles levels whole sale from the last game and it pulls the same shit in the last part of career mode that almost all other racers do: race the same tracks but with three races per event.

The game should have been cast aside the day after it was started, but it hasn't been. I wasn't sure why until I realized what I was doing during the demolition levels. The intelligent side of my brain was wondering why the game was still in the disk drive and I wasn't making good on my threat to replace Steve with Nina in TTT2, but the side of me that likes to watch things crash into other things was leaving forward, putting body english into every collision and recoiling when I would miss and hit the wall instead. In the same way that I can play just about any game with cross hairs and heads to pop I was enjoying this bad racing game in spite of myself.

This puts a different spin on my little rant about Spec Ops: The Line and its high brow, masturbatory interpretation. I said that it is a game's primary function to be fun. This means that if I am having fun with  Showdown, even if I don't want to admit it, the game is doing its job. There is certainly no higher cause being served. Wrecking a car with a viscous t-bone hit is not an allegory for post traumatic stress syndrome or a sideways swipe and how racing is portrayed in games. This is entertainment in its basest form: things bumping into other things.

A rock and a hard place, indeed. Showdown is not good. In spite of that, Showdown, every once in a while, it is fun. Is that enough?

This is far to deep a conversation for a racing game.

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