Review – Dirt 3
Developer: Codemasters Southam
Platforms: Xbox 360 (reviwed), Playstation 3, PC
Rating: T for Teen
ESRB Rating Descriptors: Lyrics
Players: 1-2 (offline), 2-8 (online)
Official Site: http://www.dirt3game.com
Get It Now: Amazon.com, GameStop.com
The Scoop: Codemasters brings us the third installment in their acclaimed rally racing series, Dirt 3. This time, they’re bringing some new features and improvements to the series to freshen things up a bit.
The Setup: Dirt 3 allows players to race in venues and locales around the world, including the Summer and Winter X-Games, in a wide variety of vehicle types. Races can be as simple as a point-to-point time trial or as hectic as an eight-player circuit race. Dirt 3 also institutes new weather scenarios and a brand new event called Gymkhana.
What’s Hot: The Dirt series has always been praised as a racing game that has been accessible to racing game fans of all backgrounds. Dirt 3 is no different than any other of the entries of the series. Players can become a master of the driving controls in just a few races. As with other Codemasters racing titles, the difficulty and assists can be tailored to accommodate any racing fan’s wishes.
Gameplay is as good as ever, too. Tight controls allow for precision on the track, dirt, snow, etc. Being able to pull off a power slide or maneuver around a tight corner might take a little time to perfect, but it is quite gratifying when you succeed.
Wait, did I just say “snow”?
That’s right, weather conditions make their debut in the Dirt series this year. Snow and rain will even have the most confident Dirt players question their skills as they take the track. You won’t be able to get away with some of the things you do on a dry track when you take to a track that glistens with a fresh coat of snow or a quick shower. It adds a bit more skill and concentration on the player’s behalf in order to dominate a track already dominated by Mother Nature.
If you just so happen to underestimate the power of Mother Nature or completely have a mind numbing moment while behind the wheel, feel a bit at ease knowing that the Flashback system is back in all its glory in Dirt 3. For those new to the series, the Flashback will allow you to rewind a few seconds back during a race to correct yourself after a mistake. It’s great to have when you don’t hit a turn right or end up getting spun out by your competitors.
Dirt 3’s single player campaign, the Dirt Tour, is broken down into four “seasons”. Each season contains three race events and a season finale. To move on in a season, you have to earn enough progress points in each race. You can earn up to a maximum 50 progress points for each event, which in some cases can allow you to skip certain event styles that you don’t find particularly fun. Each race event has a finale, in which upon its completion will unlock the next event in the season. The season finale is usually the biggest race event in the season. Do well in the season finale and you’ll move on to the next season of your Dirt career.
The single player campaign does a good job of mixing events up. There are many different paths to getting to the end of an event, which will appeal to a lot of gamers who just don’t like certain event types. For rally racing fans, it might give the vibe that rally isn’t as big a part of the game as it’s been in the last two editions of the series. I can say with complete honesty that your fears need to be put to rest. Rally is still a huge part of the game. However, the game also includes the debut of another event: Gymkhana.
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