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DiRT 2: DirectX 11 Game Performance Compared And Analyzed

Introduction

The auto-racing genre is split into either one of two categories: simulation versus arcade. On one hand, there are wildly unrealistic and fun-centric titles, such as the Burnout series, and on the other hand there are ultra-realistic simulations, like the Gran Turismo series. Meanwhile, die-hard fans of one game will probably not appreciate the other as much as you might think.

Codemasters, in particular, has been toiling to find a middle ground between these extremes. While its older TOCA Race Driver series leaned further on the simulation side of things, GRiD developers worked hard to find a balance between mindless fun and a realistic simulation.

DiRT 2 continues the trend. While the fantastic driving model should satisfy the simulation purists, the playing experience can be tailored to arcade-like tastes by turning damage off, changing the difficulty, and using the flashback feature that lets you reverse time and undo your critical mistake. With these options, anyone can be a winner. And the simulation elite can truly be proud of their accomplishments under the most difficult and realistic settings.

It might sound like a perfect compromise between simulation and arcade, but walking the line like this will rarely yield a superlative experience that games such as Burnout Paradise or Gran Turismo offer in their distinct categories. Having said that, DiRT 2, like GRiD, remains a great game that can appeal to a much larger audience. And let's not forget, as a rally game, it's in a niche aside from the road-racing offerings out there.

But what about the practical aspects DiRT 2? Well, it's an X-sports take on off-road racing and is not your traditional rally car racing game, yet it is an in-your-face title on the cutting edge of the sport. The game is literally packed with options. Some of the options include five racing disciplines ranging from an old-school rally to a stunt-heavy land rush, seven vehicle classes ranging from cars to buggies, and customizations including liveries (sponsored paint-jobs for the vehicle) and dash ornaments. Online play is well-implemented, with up to eight-player support in a wide range of events including online tournaments.

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What are our complaints? Hardcore simulation fans might miss the fact that vehicle damage is simply erased between events. There are no consumable resources to manage, such as tires, and performance-customization options are simplified. From our limited play time, the game doesn't seem to offer as much team-oriented management as GRiD does. In addition, the extreme-in-your-face flavor of the game and its transitions can grate on the senses after a while. But these are nitpicks really. The game is a blast and does a great job of making Rally Racing fun. And it is absolutely gorgeous.

Speaking of gorgeous, what about DirectX 11? As one of the first major titles to support the new application-programming interface, this is definitely a factor in our decision to choose DiRT 2 for this month's performance analysis. We're going to dig into what exactly DirectX 11 support brings to the table when it comes to DiRT 2 and see just how much--if at all--its inclusion enhances the game.

  • eklipz330
    im sure when true dx11 games come out, the difference won't be so subtle anymore.. game looks great either way
    Reply
  • rbarone69
    I have to say, Dirt 2 is a great game if you like the rally/baja type car racing. Regardless of the graphics differences the game play is simply fun. It's not "real to life" like Forza, but it is a blast playing if you like sliding around corners on track that's not necessarily pavement.

    Reply
  • Onyx2291
    Looks good, gotta be honest though I probably wouldn't see much of a difference if I just played the game without taking a good look at stuff. Maybe except for the water.
    Reply
  • Sihastru
    One down, one or two to go ;)

    Until DX11 does not become mainstream (eg. 90% of the users will have DX11 capable cards) you can't expect to see differences between DX11 and DX9/10 modes. Why? Because they won't make games where one player sees something and the other does not, to the point that will actually mean something and affect the gameplay.

    So anyone that bought the cards for DX11 will not get anything extra from the DX11 code path. No developer that wants to sell a game would code it so that you'd need a new card to play the game. They would not shoot themselves in the foot.

    DX11 is now in the position PhysX was, and I'm not necessarily speaking about the CUDA PhysX version, but the original PhysX by Ageia, when you needed a PCI card for it. It had and still has great potential, but you can't use it to it's full extent until people embrace it and make it mainstream. Until then, all the developers can do is to use certain features here and there, so that it gives you a glimpse of what it could be, but not so much that it makes a difference and modifies the experience too much. They just don't want to give up customers, it's not just that they don't want to use the technology.

    And when DX11 finally becomes mainstream, in 6-12-18 months, the current DX11 cards will be nearly obsolete performance wise... truly tragic. But that's the way the cookie crumbles...

    It's a bit of a troll-ish post (it may seem that way, if you have an ATI DX11 card), and I will get "-1" all round but it's the truth if you think about it from a safe distance. Too bad you... yes... you... the one clicking the "Useless message" icon, won't even get to this last paragraph.
    Reply
  • coolronz
    DirectCompute 11..? Doesnt my GTX260 support that? So will I beable to enable that, but not hardware tesselation etc..?
    Reply
  • cryogenic
    Dirt 2 uses a DX 9 engine, so I guess this is not such a big surprise, although I've expected more from DX 11 integration, actually **allot** more, considering that the game was marketed as the first DX 11 title out there.

    It's rather disappointing to see such small visual differences between DX9 and DX11 versions, even though I've never expected rather major ones from this title.

    My hope is that DX 11 will become mainstream very fast, and developers will focus on getting the most out of it soon. Congrats to all that got DX 11 cards this christmas(me included). The DX9 performace is great and the fact that DX11 gains market share is even greater.






    Reply
  • cryogenic
    Dirt 2 uses a DX 9 engine, so I guess this is not such a big surprise, although I've expected more from DX 11 integration, actually **allot** more, considering that the game was marketed as the first DX 11 title out there.

    It's rather disappointing to see such small visual differences between DX9 and DX11 versions, even though I've never expected rather major ones from this title.

    My hope is that DX 11 will become mainstream very fast, and developers will focus on getting the most out of it soon. Congrats to all that got DX 11 cards this christmas(me included). The DX9 performace is great and the fact that DX11 gains market share is even greater.
    Reply
  • frederico
    "And when DX11 finally becomes mainstream, in 6-12-18 months, the current DX11 cards will be nearly obsolete performance wise... truly tragic. But that's the way the cookie crumbles..."

    I think, I'm not sure though, but I think he is somehow trying to say that in the 'future' your DX11 graphics card may need to be upgraded to a more powerful DX11 graphics card. Something that has been happening with every graphics card for the last 20 years. I am not sure I can deal with all the tragedy.
    Reply
  • h83
    I could be wrong, but i think that the only game that will probably show the full potential of DX11 it´s going to be Crysis 2, so prepare your wallets for the PC upgrade...
    Reply
  • LATTEH
    dirt 2 looks awesome in DX 9 or DX11 anyone who buys it will be able to enjoy its beauty
    Reply