Dirt 3 is of course the third game in the Dirt sub-series of rally games that all started as Colin McRae Rally. Although the game started off as a simulation, slowly it’s moving away from trying to be the real deal and instead is focussing more on fun – something which sits with me just perfectly.
The main mode you’ll be playing is the Dirt Tour. Here you work your way through standard rally races, head to heads, rally cross where all the cars compete at once round a tight lap and a more extreme version where you ride about in big 4x4s. And of course there’s the much flaunted Gymkhana showcases where Ken Block shows you the ropes and it’s up to you to show your skills as you smash through blocks, jump and donut round the course trying to look as cool as possible. Codemasters also want you to show off your skills to your mates as they’ve included a YouTube upload function. Whilst it’s a cool idea, it only lets you save smaller snippets of what you’ve done and takes a while to encode and upload. Don’t think you can just save and go at the touch of a button.
Cars also feel a lot lighter this time around and it’s very easy to over-steer if you turn off the brake assistance beginners will much need. You may in fact crash so much on your first race you’ll want to give up but give it some time, get used to almost tickling the controller to get round those corners and you’ll get the hang of it. And the good news is that if you happen to wipe out big style on the last corner of a race, there’s a handy rewind function where you can turn back time and try things again. You have five per race – the incentive for not using them is more points at the end of the race which will improve your rank and attract better teams that want you to race for them.
Presentation’s awesome this time around. This is by far the best looking and sounding rally game ever made with beautiful landscapes to razz around, great car destruction and meaty engine sounds. Couple the tour mode with single player races and multiplayer versions of everything online and split screen and you have the definitive rally game. Dirt 3 gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.
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New: Buy DiRT 3 from Amazon.com