Posted 1 year ago By - Jay Acevedo
While some wish Rallisports Challenge was still around, Codemasters has been offering great rally racing experiences to gamers around the world with the Colin McRae/DiRT series. DiRT 2 ended up setting the bar for the genre by offering a perfect blend of arcade and simulation paired with an incredible graphics engine and a stylish presentation. With DiRT 3, the tradition of delivering an exhilarating racer continues and die-hard fans couldn’t ask for anything more.
Codemasters’ award-winning EGO engine returns and continues the studio’s track record of delivering outstanding visuals to its racing games. From the spiffy car models to the magnificent landscapes, DiRT 3 is simply stunning to look at. The game also introduces for the first time races under snowy and rainy conditions, pushing drivers’ sense of competition and challenge to new exhilarating heights. Only the pickiest of racers will spend hours trying to find the odd visual jaggy - which will eventually present itself if he really looks for it - but there’s nothing in DiRT 3 worth writing a long complaint letter. Having reviewed MX vs ATV Alive not long ago, the only thing the DiRT franchise needs is a terrain deformation engine to make the experience even more realistic. The varied soundtrack plays in menus and during replays, leaving the sounds of the engine’s roar, tire’s screeching and disembodied co-driver/coach voices filling your ears.
DiRT 3’s career mode spans four seasons, each encompassing a set of sponsored events and a championship before proceeding to the next one. DiRT 2’s cool but annoying RV set-up was scrapped and replaced with simple triangles, making it much easier to surf through. Winning races and achieving certain in-race bonus objectives based on the car used will award players with reputation points. This will eventually lead to a higher driver reputation level and unlock more events and cars further down the road. Codemasters’ flashback feature returns, giving you a total of five per race and completely removing the limit per difficulty level. Using flashbacks will affect the number of reputation points acquired so use them wisely. Accessibility in DiRT 3 is important, which is why before each race, less-accustomed users have the option to turn on certain assists, from limiting car damage to visuals only and tuning the AI competitors difficulty level. Most experienced racers can also tune their vehicles’ downforce, gear ratio and suspension, among other set-ups. Despite featuring a garage, DiRT 3 doesn’t focus on earning money and acquiring cars for future events. Each career event features a certain type of car from a certain era offered by a specific sponsor. Over fifty cars from five different decades are in the game, from the 60’s FIAT 131 Abart to Ken Block’s signature Ford Fiesta.
Modes beneath Career include DiRT 2’s up-hill Rally competitions, sprint-based Rallycross, the off-road Trailblazer and Land Rush events as well as Head 2 Head and Gymkhana; the latter being the first time to ever be presented in video game form. Set in arenas packed with props and obstacles, drivers tackling Gymkhana are brought in to chain moves, pull stunts, etc... In other words, show off to score maximum points, whether its on open or concealed areas. Gymkhana is certainly the most addictive and challenging mode among all, but also the most frustrating one. With the game having such precise and responsive controls, its rather infuriating to see the transition not applying to this particular event. I’m not sure Gymkhana is for everyone, but patience and lots of practice will be required to be successful. Fans of the sport will surely go nuts over it though. Once unlocked, the DC Compound brings players to drive around and complete multiple tasks as well as collect hidden packages. An interesting diversion to say the least.
The fun continues online as DiRT 3 brings solo/team play for up to eight players in different competitive events (all of the above including Gymkhana) but also via various “party” events, just for fun. Destroying robot cut-outs for points while avoiding buildings in Invasion, capturing and bringing the flag to the marked location in Transportation and the hilarious Outbreak zombie mode, these game types won’t wow the hardcore but will serve as a neat distraction in between serious events. For the said hardcore, there’s also a specific mode (simply known as Hardcore) where players are brought to complete races HUD-less, with no assists and in a forced cockpit view. All disciplines (excluding the Party ones) can also be experienced via local split-screen or system link if online play isn’t your thing. There’s also time trials and single events to partake, along with their own leaderboards and downloadable ghosts for an additional challenge...provided your console is connected online.
Speaking of online, in order to access the game’s XBL/PSN features, players will need to redeem the VIP Pass code found in every new copy. The VIP Pass will also grant access to the game’s YouTube tool, which allows 30-second replay uploads to a linked YouTube account immediately after a race. The option is quite limited and since there’s no other way to save and share full races with other users, it becomes a disappointing consolation prize for anyone expecting more. As of this writing, pricing on the VIP Pass for pre-owned copies wasn’t revealed but expect it to go around $10 or 800 Microsoft Points.
DiRT 3 is more streamlined and more diversified compared to its predecessor but just as solid, fun, gorgeous and immersing as well. It may not be the most innovative racer of all-time, but then again, it didn’t take Codemasters six years to develop, justifying by making the number of cars, tracks, modes and options available that only a handful of players will ever care for. Needless to say, this bad boy will keep you busy for hours and give some decent bang to your buck, guaranteed.
Now, about GRID 2...
+ Streamlined menus, top-notch presentation
+ Gorgeous visuals, car models/damage
+ Online “Party” modes are cool
+ Gymkhana mode is fun...
- Extremely limited YouTube feature
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Release Date : Q3 2011
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Codemasters
Category : Racing
ESRB : 0
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10