Dirt Showdown isn't exactly what you would call a typical racing game, it blends the world of GRID (another Codemasters game) with parts of the rally world seen in DiRT and adds some of the greatest raw vehicular combat seen this generation. Featuring dozens of modes and a great single player campaign that never gets boring. This game is all about explosions and arcade-y action. So although this carries the DiRT name, don't expect long rally stages that require absolute precision and a ton of practise. Instead, you can expect the main focus of DiRT Showdown to be fun over realism and rally racing.
Gameplay has been tuned to perfection, it’s not a realistic simulation game anymore, rather it is closer to something like Burnout Paradise. Making tight turns and 180's is as easy as pressing the circle button, and steering in the direction you'd wish to go. The cockpit view has been removed, favoring an on the hood view and a chase cam view. Personally I didn't miss it at all, because in real life the cars are usually completely gutted for these sorts of races, and after one or two impacts it would be impossible to see anything. You now also have the ability to boost, which is again similar to what you see in Burnout Paradise, although it doesn’t replenish itself as quickly.
The single player campaign, "Showdown Tour", is broken up into 4 sub-sections starting from "Pro" to "Legend", and within each section there are 13 events. These events range from the obvious racing levels, but with a small twist that is similar to a Tony Hawks-like tricks event, to a Sumo-like challenge which is by far my favorite of the bunch. For example, in a standard race, you now must win a race, but also attempt to get the best time in each section of the race. So like the previous rally titles, the track is split into a few sections, but everything else is new. You have however many laps each race provides you with to get the best times in each section, and win the race as well.
The sumo challenge is a basic car combat level, where you must try to damage and destroy your opponents’ cars, and at the same time try to survive as long as possible. The good thing about this mode is that you don’t have any special weapons or power-ups, you simply use your car to bash the other guy, and rack up points for T-Bones, or head-on crashes etc. This level, as well as a similar one, which involves staying alive longer than the number one AI player, take place in a small arena-based level. It’s simpler than what you’ll see in Twisted Metal for example, but it is incredibly fun. There are also other types of races available.