More Reviews
REVIEWS Slender: The Arrival Review
Few games can offer genuine scares in the horror genre. Can Slender: The Arrival prove otherwise and it can offer more?

Pillars of Eternity Review
Obsidian Entertainment creates a retro Infinity Engine RPG funded by Kickstarter. Is it as good as previous Infinity Engine games, or does the novelty quickly wear off?
More Previews
PREVIEWS Dirty Bomb Preview
Looking for a more competitive, challenging online FPS multiplayer game? Splash Damage is introducing just that by dropping a Dirty Bomb on the free-to-play game market.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
Release date: 04/01/15

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Release date: 04/07/15

LATEST FEATURES 6 Helpful Tips for Pillars of Eternity
Simply put, Pillars of Eternity can become maddening if players aren't careful.

Top 10 Active Video Game Kickstarter Campaigns
There are lots of indie projects going on right now, so we did the dirty work for you and found the best.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Top 50 Pokémon of All Time
Can you believe there are now six generations of Pokémon? Six!! That's a crazy amount of different creatures to collect. But which are the cream of the crop? Don't worry, Magikarp isn't actually one of them.

Read More Member Blogs
The perils of the Hype Train…
By shandog137
Posted on 03/09/15
The recent release of Evolve and The Order 1886 really got me to thinking about the disparity between the perspective of sales-driven publishers and the quality-driven purchases of consumers. The “Hype Train” is nothing new, but the way it is utilized has been creating far more...

DiRT 3 Review

Jesse_Costantino By:
GENRE Action Racing 
PUBLISHER Codemasters 
DEVELOPER Codemasters 
T Contains Lyrics

What do these ratings mean?

Neither rain nor snow nor mud nor dark of night shall stay these four-wheeled couriers.

You walk into your garage, keys in hand, ready to hit the hills for a drive. Do you take a seat behind the wheel of your classic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and go for a recreational cruise, or do you instead start up your more modest Lancia Delta and head to the grocery store via the unpaved back roads?

click to enlargeHow you answer this question will probably determine what you think of Dirt 3. Codemasters’ latest racing title isn’t a sexy, stylish, or precise racing sim. Instead, Dirt 3 aims to capture the grit and intensity of European-style off-road racing. It’s a game all about getting the broad strokes right rather than obsessing over the tiny little details of physics and handling.

This is the third go-around for Codemasters’ reboot of their long-running Colin McRae Rally series. With the passing of Colin McRae, the series has left the old name behind—and with it, Codemasters also put away the series’ rally focus. As a result, Dirt 2 was a compelling, if somewhat rough and unfocused, detour into much more American-style off-road disciplines.

But with Dirt 3, Codemasters has toned down the dude-bro Americanisms of its predecessor in favor of a much more polished, balanced, and compelling package of European racing styles. Sure, the commentary is peppered with enough “amigos” and “hombres” to make anyone over the age of fifteen cringe, but the racing itself is better than ever.

The Dirt Tour mode puts you through four seasons, each with four tours broken into a variety of disciplines. If you’ve played the series before, most of these disciplines will be familiar, but everything is so perfectly balanced that no single discipline feels like a throwaway. There are six racing disciplines, two of which are point-to-point (Rally and Trailblazer), three circuit styles (Landrush, Rally Cross, and Head 2 Head), and a new trick-based style (Gymkhana).

click to enlargeOf all of these, Gymkhana is the biggest surprise and sure to be the most divisive addition. In it, players perform a series of tricks like donuts, spins, and drifts in order to earn points within a set amount of time. It plays a lot like classic Tony Hawk or SSX, but uses Codemasters impressive new physics system. If, like me, you play without any driving assists, then learning the ins and outs of the tricks will take time but is incredibly rewarding. It took me a while to warm up to the new discipline, but after a few hours, it ended up being among my favorite race types.

You also won’t have to worry about managing a garage or a team. You don’t earn money, and you’ll never have to buy a car. You simply unlock new cars as you progress. These are mostly cosmetic liveries, though you will occasionally get a moderately more powerful car from time to time—including classic rally cars from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Codemasters clearly just wants to get you racing and doesn’t want you wasting time fiddling with knobs, tuners, and auto dealers, nor make it possible for you to win races by dumping money into car upgrades.

You can still make some tuning changes to your cars, but I played through to the end getting gold medals in all events on the second highest difficulty without changing a thing. Chances are that you won’t need to bother either. It’s a welcome bit of streamlining for a series that has no business pretending to be a sim anyway.

Codemasters has also nearly perfected their assists and difficulty scaling. In addition to the aforementioned driving assists—ranging from mild things like ABS to more drastic things like Auto Steer—they’ve also designed a Trick Steer assist that helps with the Gymkhana tricks. For those who don’t want to spend the time learning to do a perfect donut, just flip on Trick Steer and take to the parking lot.

click to enlargeThe AI also scales to any difficulty you select and provides either a lot or a little challenge as you feel appropriate; you lose nothing by knocking the AI down a few notches, but for those of us looking to challenge ourselves, the AI at higher settings is no slouch.

In terms of its visuals, the game hits some high highs and some low lows. Codemasters has pulled out all the stops for its lighting and particle work. There are lots of visual details that put this title above many of its racing peers; however, the framerate frequently takes a hit. Weather effects add great variety to the way individual courses play—as does the variable time of day—but some of these effects can also lead to unwanted performance hits. But at no point was I ever frustrated because of these performance issues. This isn’t a racing sim, after all, where every single frame matters.

Codemasters has also improved upon the online play of Dirt 2 for the sequel. Split-screen co-op as well as online play allow you to play any discipline you wish. For those disciplines where you’d ordinarily be racing alone, you’ll be racing against ghosts of your opponents. This was an elegant solution in Dirt 2 to the inherent problem of multiplayer rallying, and it works even better here.

My only gripe with the online implementation is that the leaderboards for time trials are buried deep within the menus. In the wake of recent EA racers like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Shift 2, we have come to expect more upfront leaderboard implementation. Time trial junkies are sure to be disappointed.

Dirt 3 is the reliable weekday car that you aren’t afraid to take into the mud every once in a while. While it doesn’t have the precision or style of some of its high-end peers, Dirt 3 has more than enough personality and moments of exhilaration to make up the difference. You might parade out your copy of Gran Turismo 5 when guests visit, but it’s Dirt 3 that’ll keep you up late nights.
A- Revolution report card
  • Great new physics
  • Returns to its European roots
  • Streamlined racing experience
  • Dozens of hours of single-player content
  • Tight trick controls
  • Buried leaderboards

More from the Game Revolution Network

comments powered by Disqus


More information about DiRT 3
Also known as: dirt 3

More On GameRevolution