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SMASH FABGET AND; GET BEHIND THE WHEEL AND GO DEMOLITION CRAZY IN THIS THRILLER.

DIRT SHOWDOWN Xbox 360, PS3 pounds 39.99 While the Dirt series has always let you get mucky on some of the world's most challenging off-road tracks, it has also always prized simulated skills over arcade thrills.

Dirt Showdown represents the flipside to the coin - it's a brutal, arcade-style racer that's as full of bumper-crunching crashes as it is death-defying stunts.

Handling is far more forgiving than with previous instalments as Codemasters' knack for crafting tight tracks is paired with an exaggeratedly dangerous take on rallying.

Demolition events are the game's highlight. Recalling the heady days of the original PlayStation's Destruction Derby games, drivers face off in arena, drifting and boosting into each other while whittling down each car's strength.

The bulk of single and multiplayer modes are fleshed out with addictive Hoonigan, Smash Hunter and Gymkhana trick and precision racing events, chasing scores with daring driving while trying to keep your car in one piece. While more conventional events are on offer, such as Lap Attack, Eliminator, and Domination races, the exaggerated nature of the tracks always ensures the action remains boisterous.

Multiplayer modes include local as well as online play - a rare and welcome addition these days, especially when such fun can be had from seeing your rivals' wincing faces.

And it's the class-leading visuals that make Showdown as satisfying as it truly is, and cars are caked in dirt and grime, only to crumple like crisp packets after a collision.

It's arguably not quite the equal of Dirt 3, lacking that game's depth and subtlety. However, it's also arguably a lot more fun, with its pick-up-and-play controls making it far better suited for a thrilling joyriding session.

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BRUTAL: Crunching crashes are the order of the day
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 8, 2012
Words:291
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