Category Archives: Quick Thoughts

Previews and short reviews of game and media content.

F1 2012: Quick Thoughts

The car handling feels good, the dynamic weather is convincing, and the options for difficulty and control are fully featured.

Flashbacks are really handy in a game where the car is on a knife edge all the time.

It’s perfectly playable with a controller, but it’s absolutely fantastic with a wheel.

The tutorial – themed as a test for young drivers – is helpful for players without previous F1 game experience.

I’m desperate to find more time to play it. If you’re not ensnared by the likes of Borderlands 2 this week, you should give F1 2012 a try.

Quick Thoughts: DiRT 3 Monte Carlo Pack

I’ve driven through all the new Dirt Tour events added by the Monte Carlo DLC, and while I’m not sure it’s enough for a properly qualified opinion, I do have some musings based on my short time on the mountain roads.

Monte Carlo's roadways

Monte Carlo feels a lot more narrow than this looks.

First of all, Monte Carlo is properly narrow. There’s a few narrow roads in Dirt 3’s base courses, but these winding roads have a wonderfully imposing and slightly claustrophobic feel to them. A cliff side and short walls or guardrails border the track at almost any given point, and since these are very high speed stages, the fear of flying into the abyss over one wrong notch of steering input feels rather tangible.

Passing’s also a royal pain, as should be the norm for rally stages. This might require adjustment when playing with a group of diverse skill levels.

I’ve tried cars from the 60s, 70s, 90s, and Pro class, and the DLC seems to works best with the more stable cars that revel in attacking the road. Being able to attack the stages at top speed with an overabundance of grip really accentuates the danger at hand amongst a never-ending backdrop of snow and mountains. The 60s Mini is lovely for this, and any car in Pro class will be extremely tense and exciting.

Monte Carlo's winding roads

These roads are winding, and they certainly don’t favor RWD cars.

The transition and feel between wet snow and tarmac definitely feels right, but appearance-wise the snow-covered roads look off in bright light. It’s likely their flatness, but a flat road of wet snow looks more like a road in disrepair than the intended slick road the driving feel is communicating rather well. The night versions covers up most of the visual issue, thankfully, although the limited night visibility adds less stress to these stages than I initially anticipated.

If there’s any other major gripe I can properly level, it’s the price. Eight stages in a new area for $10 feels quite expensive, much like Dirt 3’s $6 car packs. Realizing that the DLC adds 25% more rally stages to the game only highlights the disappointing lack of track variety all throughout, and the Monte Carlo stages only share the problem of reusing too many familiar sections over all of its stages. That’s a shame giving the joy in Dirt 3’s driving. Perhaps if the Power and Glory car pack and Monte Carlo track pack were combined and sold for $10, the deal would feel completely satisfactory. Right now? The cost only brings up twinges of disappointment.

Still, this track pack feels entirely like Monte Carlo, and anyone who loves Dirt 3 and rally should be able to overlook such shortcomings easily.