The Colin McCrea Dirt game series from Codemasters was becoming quite samey by the time Dirt 3 was released. After both Dirt 1 and Dirt 2 were released, there wasn't really much else Codemasters could add to the series, or so we thought! Then came along Dirt 3 which offers something traditional rally events and a new feature - Gymkhana! which focuses mainly on the element of drifiting. More about this later.
Firstly the gameplay Dirt 3 has to offer is of a very high standard as usual for any Codemasters racer with much needed weather effects added to each event including rain and snow. These weather effects were frist introduced in Codemaster's debut F1 game released the previous year and was such a pleasure to see these effects carried over to Dirt 3.
The car handling and the graphics are as beautiful as ever, although the handling can be a little too sensetive at times and can become quite a chore at times. But practice does indeed make perfect as you will learn the more you play the game.
The new Gymkhana events in Dirt 3 is the one and only down point about Dirt 3. The events are quite simply - boring with a capital B. People will have their own opinions on these new events and some may actually love them, but for long term fans of the Colin McCrea series Gymkhana is completely pointless and useless too. If drifting your car around poles scoring massive combos is your thing you will no doubt love them, but for those who just want to race will hate them. Simple as that really!
Overall, Dirt 3 is marginally better than Dirt 2 when focused on the rally driving and there is a lot more rally driving to be had in this sequel than in Dirt 2 as well. But the difficulty of some of the events and Gymkhana could make Dirt 3 boring for some.
@ About, features, gameplay @
The dirt series is for the rally enthusiast, it really isn't a game for people who just enjoy a crash or two online with a dirty car, it's for people who really love rallying. But for some reason, dirt 3 is completely different to the other two. For starters it has gymkhana which I fun event where you really are able to slide about and crash into thinks - performing stunts to earn points. You can also do downhill bobsleigh runs as was seen on Top Gear. And not to mention the little gimmicks in the game too, like your avatar being a cuddly toy that hangs from your rear view mirror.
The achievements for this game are not that easy. I have 700G without DLC and that's because I spent hours completing the game on regular difficulty just getting the silver medals. You can go up to the extremely hard platinum ones too. Another feature that I do like in the game though is the new "YouTube" recorder which lets you upload to YouTube straight from your Xbox 360. Although when i did this it took about 20 minutes for a 4 minute clip.
You also have online multiplayer which allows you to play with multiple friends in different events. You can do a standard race or kick back and relax with some gymkhana. A very good variety compared to previous DiRT games and not to me ton the rival WRC 2.
In the game cars are fully customisable where tuning is concerned and you can save set ups within a game save. I found that some of the tuning features are a little bit unrealistic because since when does increasing down force improve handling... On ice? At 100MPH? It doesn't make much difference.
@ Graphics, sound, cars, realism @
The big new feature in dirt 3 is snow and when you're driving on it, you can sort of feel a difference to dirt, but I don't think code masters are quite there with it yet. The car feels more slippery but when you hit a block of sheet ice and your car skids, it still has a great deal of grip. On Tarmac the car still manages to powerslide without handbrake and on dirt it's just right. I think code asters have just focused on dirt (pardon the pun) too much when the new snow needs to be fixed.
The graphics aren't forza 4 quality but it's the little details that matter. Official exhaust pipes and branded upgrade parts are all the things that make the game more credible, like real world vehicle manufacturers. Not to mention realistic engine noises and excellent power slide squeals.
@ Overall @
Finally dirt has become a game for fun as well as enthusiasts. Gymkhana for people who don't want to race and be serious, and races for people who do! Perfect balance but I think with easier achievements and better tuning options it could be 5 stars.