Review by Dude Love Fan
"This is one amazing game!!!"
This was one of three games I got for Christmas, and it happen to be the one I wanted the most. I had looked forward to it for many months, and with good reason! After finishing my first year of my career, I can safely say that this game tops even Thunder 2004 as best NASCAR game to date. It is crammed full of options, but it is all stuff you actually want to do! This is usually my big thing with NASCAR games, you buy them for the season, and nothing else. Dirt to Daytona, however, is different. It has a robust ''Fast Action'' mode where you can try to ''Beat the Heat,'' learn from the pros, go for the championship, or just put a few laps in during a quick race. No matter what you style, the Fast Action area has something for you. But the meat and potatoes of the game, Career, is even better. You start out as a racing rookie running dirt tracks in the NASCAR Weekly series. From here you work your way up to champion, and move on to the Featherweight Modified division. From there to the Craftsman Truck series, then on to the Winston Cup which is simply known as ''The Cup''. Let's dig a little deeper into the game shall we?
Dirt to Daytona(DtD) is not meant to be a visual masterpiece, it is meant to be a solid racing game. With that in mind, I think most people will find the graphics to be quite good. The most attention being directed toward the dirt tracks, they have great effects such as tire tracks remaining in the dirt. The obvious dust effects(which in this case are helpful, as this means you are loosing traction), and the overall rustic feel of the environment. The other tracks look great as well, just like you would expect them to in real life. The cars themselves look decent, with some reflection effects. What would have been neat would have been to see the dirt stick to the cars running the dirt tracks, but even without that the cars look good.
The sound in DtD is hard to score because there isn't that much of it. All of the menus have the same Country/Southern Rock song looping in the background, but the races themselves are pretty quiet. You have only the roar of your engine, the clashing of metal, and the voice of your spotter to keep you company. While there isn't much sound, that is probably a good thing because I wager that it would have gotten mighty annoying hearing the same song loop during your races.
I was a little put off by the controls at first as the default uses the right trigger for the gas, but after I go up to speed, I feel that this is actually quite helpful. The benefit to using the triggers for the gas and brake is the fact that they are analog, so you can apply as much or as little acceleration or deceleration as you need. Other than the the analog stick is responsive, and can be tuned to your liking, as well as the other buttons.
It really is that good! As stated earlier, DtD has two modes: Fast Action, and Career. Fast Action is your multiplayer area, and has everything not career related. You have Beat the Heat which serves as a sort of interactive training, which I might add can be very challenging at first. Next you have Single Race, which is self explanatory. You have a section called Pro Training where you can try to beat some of the drivers fastest laps when they played. You also have championship mode where you go after any of the game's four series championship. Finally you have unlockables, which are cheats that you get after acquiring a certain amount of points. You get points for pretty much everything in the Fast Action area besides saving :) You get points for completing races, beat the heat challenges, etc... Then after you get so many points you unlock a cheat, or some helpful feature. This gives the game definite replay value. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!! (/infomercial voice) You haven't even heard about the fantastic career mode! It has you starting out as a rookie and working your way up. And when I say that, I mean it. for my first race I only earned 13 bucks :) But after you sign a few sponsors, things improve(which is after your first race). Even though things get better, don't expect to win races right away. In my entire first season I only had 1 win, of course I won the championship, but you don't win very easily, even on easy. So when you get that first win, you'll have a true sense of accomplishment, which is always good to feel when playing a video game:)
Rent or Buy?
This is an all new section for me, but I feel it is just needed for this review. While I believe beyond any doubt that this game is a must have, I think if you are only a passive racing fan you may like something more along the lines of Need for Speed. DtD has a lot of in depth features, but is pretty accessible for everyone else too. It doesn't have as many Winston Cup drivers as Thunder 2004, but it has enough to get by. So in short, if you are in any way a NASCAR fan, or even just a casual viewer, I highly suggest a purchase, everyone else should at least try it out.
I am sure you are tired of my excessive praise for the game, and how I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. All I can say is, if you want me to shut up about the game... GO BUY IT:)
OOOWWWW Have Mercy!!!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/26/03
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