Review: DiRT 3
DiRT 3 offers an exhilarating experience with tons of content, making a purchase a real no brainer. Whether you are a newcomer or returning fan to the series, this is the best entry yet. DiRT 3 makes it an absolute pleasure to once again strap in, rev high and put your foot flat on the pedal.
- Worth The Time?Most definitely. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or newcomer to the world of rally, DiRT 3 delivers for everyone on every possible frontier.
- Things LovedThe sharp and gorgeous visuals. Great damage modelling. Lengthy campaign with tons of replayability. New events such as Gymkhana, split-screen and online multiplayer. Extensive library of vehicles to choose from. Dynamic weather system. Many locations to race in. Fantastic vehicle realism and handling. Tuning cars is extremely realistic and allows veterans to flex their knowledgeable prowess. Outstanding presentation and value for money.
- Things HatedThere is really not much to hate, however the limited YouTube functionality is a bit of a let-down.
- RecommendationThere is absolutely no reason to miss out on DiRT 3. For past fans and newcomers alike, DiRT 3 delivers an exhilarating racing experience. With a lengthy career mode, exciting and fresh new events, extensive library of cars and sponsors, fully fleshed out and competitive multiplayer and many more features, DiRT 3 will never make you feel like you have wasted a cent.
- Name: DiRT 3
- Genre: Racing
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Online
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
- Developer: Codemasters
- Publisher: Codemasters
- Price: R599.95
- Reviewed On: PS3
The first thing that should strike you when playing DiRT 3 is just how polished the game is. From the amazing dynamic main menu, to the car set up menu just before a race. Everything is slick and laid out in such a way that the player is never confused or lost as to where options are. Add to that a soundtrack chopped full of well suited music, and you could actually spend a few minutes just staring at the “Press Start” screen. It’s clear that a lot of work went into the smallest of detail.
DiRT 3 can be played in three different difficulty settings, which basically translate to Rookie, Intermediate and Veteran. Regardless of what difficulty you pick, you are able to tweak and tune individual gameplay settings to suit your exact difficulty desires. From cosmetic to actual car damage, to traction control and driving line toggles, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding how you want to play. What makes the difficulty even more rewarding is the fact that you are never hampered by control issues when deciding what to enable or disable. The controls in DiRT 3 are tight and responsive, allowing you to truly experiment and find the sweet spots in the various cars you will be racing. The importance of this becomes even more apparent when you realise how DiRT 3 requires precise and accurate driving. It may surprise you at some points how easy it is to completely lose control of your vehicle, sending you flying into a tree or even off a cliff if you aren’t too careful. While this may not bother some players who only have cosmetic damage enabled, but advanced players will truly appreciate the responsive control scheme when they come inches from the edge of a mountain range.
The racing line is a new addition to the series and it acts as a somewhat invaluable tool while traversing treacherous mountainous terrain. Approach a crest in the wrong way, and you could find yourself in the complete wrong position for the sharp turn directly after you hit the ground. Another invaluable part of your racing experience is your trusty real-life co-driver Jen Horsey, who delivers precise and concise directions and advice throughout the race. One could also opt to have a male voice (the standard voice is a female voice), along the option for more advanced and complicated instructions which can also be activated. One thing that can be a bit disappointing is the fact that you are not able to soak in the beautiful environments that surround you while racing. Small touches like spectators running across the track and loud shouts pepper the courses, giving it an unbelievably real feel, fully immersing you in the experience.
While playing DiRT 3, you will be transported to various elegant and remote places around the globe. One minute you could be racing on an intense track event on the elegant and prestigious streets of Monaco, where the next you will be drifting around sandy corners and baron deserts in the heat of Kenya. While there are quite a number of tracks available to race in, what really makes it special is the dynamic weather system that can make the same track a completely different experience. While you could find it easy to rally on snow covered mountains at first, a race on the same track while a blizzard ensues radically changes the way you have to race, as now when you are behind an opponent, you could potentially be nearly blinded by a torrent of snow. Races depend on weather.
There is also a multitude of different events that you can participate in, all with different approaches and racing styles needed. While classic point-to-point rallies can feel extremely technical and precise, Rally Cross events pit you against another five racers in chaotic and fast-paced lap based races. Trailblazer event puts you in control of a high powered all-terrain racing machine and forces you to brave intense rally tracks without a wingman. Head-to-head events are a frantic dash directly against another opponent in knockout style racing glory. Above all these and many others, is one event that truly stands out and helps define what precision racing is really about: Gymkhana. Made famous by Ken Block, who also lends his voice to help you learn the ropes, Gymkhana could well make up the entire gameplay of DiRT 3 and you would still be satisfied with your purchase.
Gymkhana comes down to three important elements: Speed, Precision and Execution. When participating in Gymkhana events, you will have to spin, drift, jump, smash blocks and perform donuts to wow the crowd and rack up a massive score. String multiple different tricks together and watch your score soar as you gain more and more multipliers. Repeat tricks or lose control of your car and the crowd will become bored, and you will lose multipliers. All of these events take place within a set time limit, so it is always challenging to see how much you can squeeze out of every little second. Gymkhana is also a great way to learn how to control a rally car like a professional. You will find that after being able to drift under two massive trucks, a simple sharp left turn does not seem so daunting anymore.
DiRT 3 also boasts a lengthy campaign, named DiRT Tour. In this mode, you will be able to partake in four complete seasons, with each season composed of four main events with various events comprising them. What is really good about the career mode is that it is anything but linear, with you being able to partake in any event as long as you have earned enough points from a previous event. You can also replay events at any time to try and improve your medal ranking and time. Player progression is measured with Reputation Points, which are earned for winning races, using less Flashbacks during events, and for completing team-specific objectives. Teams are not such a big deal in DiRT, as they are in other racing simulators. You will receive team offers when increasing your Driver Reputation level, meaning that more cars become available for you to drive. Each vehicle has different objectives associated with them, and these objectives can be performed during events for bonus Reputation. Objectives include reaching certain top speeds, finishing at a certain speed or in a certain time, taking no damage or drifting for a certain amount of time. These challenges sometimes help you determine which car to choose for an event, more than the actual specifications of the vehicle itself, as more reputation points mean more cars.
Aside from the DiRT Tour, there are a number of unlockable events that help the longevity of the game. As a start, there are world tours for each specific discipline of racing that can be unlocked by doing well in respective events. Additionally, there is the DC-owned London Battersea power station and its surrounding area. This playground can be used to hone your Gymkhana skills and have a ton of fun while doing so. There are various challenges that can be completed within the ground that will reward you with Reputation points. These challenges can include completing big jumps, performing tricks around certain objects and finding hidden logos. Visiting this playground can serve as a change of pace, and a place where you are free to do anything you want. Many hours are bound to be lost within this amazing compound.
In addition to the classic online multiplayer modes, DiRT 3 offers some unique takes on multiplayer events. Transporter is a capture-the-flag style event, while Outbreak is like vehicle tag where your car turns bight green when hit by an infected player. Invasion, which also makes an appearance in the campaign, is a Gymkhana themed event where racers will have to try and hit alien cut-outs while avoiding building cut-outs. This mode demands speed and precision, making it an exciting event to play with other players who are frantically trying to accomplish the same objective. Aside from online play, split-screen is also available, letting you and a friend compete in all the events present in the single-player, as well as mess around in the DC Compound. The only real gripe is the small degrade in overall graphics when playing split-screen, though this is so small that it is not a real issue. You will also be able to tweak difficulty settings and assists just as before, allowing you to always play how you want, when you want.
In terms of visuals, DiRT 3 is absolutely stunning. Cars are beautifully rendered, and it is such a delight to see mud and dust realistically splash across your car and stick to your tires. Environments are realistically recreated, and it is a bit of a shame that you cannot always take everything in while racing. Audio is just as spectacular with every gear shift resounding through the air, where every drift makes you feel that a new set of tires will be needed soon. Audio feedback is also amazing when changing driving surfaces, as you will immediately notice the difference of grip when converting from dirt to tar, letting you know just how well your tires are keeping up.YouTube functionality also makes an appearance, allowing you to snip a maximum of 30 seconds from a replay and uploading it directly to your YouTube account, adding a title and tags automatically. While this feature is well received, it is a bit disappointing that you can only record a maximum of 30 seconds, and the time it takes to record is sometimes a bit lengthy. An example of this feature can be seen in the video below.
DiRT 3 is a spectacular sequel, and improves over DiRT 2 in any and every way possible. The new events, such as Gymkhana, serve as a great escape from traditional racing events, not to mention they help to keep the game alive way after the career mode has ended. There are twice as many tracks and routes to race and each of them take place in spectacularly animated and rendered environments. So whether you are a long-time fan of the series, or a newcomer to the world of rally, this should be a game you are playing. Racing fans rejoice, the pinnacle series of rally racing is back and better than ever.