Our friends over at Codemasters sent over a
copy of Dirt 3 to have a go at. I enjoy racing games, though on the one
hand I was thinking oh, another racing game….charming. I was not
expecting to be blown away by any length. Racing games bore me after one
race round. Not this one, Dirt 3 is what a racing game should be like.
Codemasters crowed about the biggest content-rich racing game to come
from the virtual garages of Codemasters. You know what? They are so
There are a pleasingly great number of tracks to go ripping around on.
In Dirt 3, players start out as a top professional sports driver. There
you are in the fierce competitive world of off-road racing as well as
the spectacular Gymkhana- style driving events. The driving is exciting
with a goodly number of different environments to keep things more than
a little interesting.
Navigation through the game, in my opinion is much easier. The trailer
is gone; instead we have flashy menus to navigate around. The menu
designs are very pleasing to the eye, adding a bit to the overall look
of the design of the game and feel.
Within the menus, you find Dirt Tour, Multiplayer, Single-player, The
Options Menu, My Dirt, and VIP. Before getting to the main menu, players
can put in the online activation code to unlock online play, five
exclusive vehicles and youtube video sharing. The menus are not very
busy, there is a lot of space and text, and then choose racing events by
way of floating triangles. Opening these give way up to four events.
These extra events are unlocked with points and of course the player
earns those points in racing. The only time things slow down a bit is
when changing the look of the vehicle. Going to My Dirt, then to Garage,
then select class, then pick the car to change… for the rest of the game
that is so stream lined it feels a bit cumbersome, though it serves its
purpose and gets the job done. Load times are fairly fast, the visuals
leading up to a race are pleasing to the eye.
Speaking of pleasing to the eye, the graphics are spectacularly
beautiful. Be it a mountain forest track or a snow and ice slicked
track, or the plains of Kenya’s gravel and sand tracks. The looks are
pleasing, so much so it is a shame you can’t take time to appreciate it
more. Lighting from day races on to night racing, everything is
spectacular. Now for the first time also, as I noted…there is snow in
the game. You would think this is not a big deal, but it is a
surprisingly exciting experience. Driving through the snow, racing
faster as is falls, it can become blinding. Even cooler (NO pun
intended) the handling of the car actually changes. Nothing like
blasting along on a snow and ice crusted road to bring up the adrenalin.
Along with the scenery and weather effects, the cars damage models look
spectacular. For this review I just took one race and spent time bashing
into things to see the effects. Even better with all the bits flying off
of a car and the dust and snow kicking up, the game never pauses. There
are not any stutters in graphics at all.
The folks at Codemasters keep things very accessible to all levels of
gamers. There are different racing assists in the game so a novice racer
can get the feel of this heart pumping racing game, and veteran racing
gamers will find enough of a challenge to keep them pushing for the next
race. All gamers get to feel a rush of achievement for doing well in a
race. Then there is the Flashback mode, in other words if you smash up
pretty bad, a push of a button will reverse time and give you the chance
to do it better.
Playing the game with the Xbox controller is pretty tight, but for an
even more in depth experience players can also use an Xbox 360 wireless
racing wheel. I have to say I never felt the urge to get a racing wheel
but Dirt 3 actually got that pang in the back of my mind to do so. For
those long time followers of the Dirt series you will notice the
handbrake has now switched back to the B button ala Dirt 1 controls.
Control lay out is solid.
Multiplayer is here too. So there are plenty of opportunities to race
against other drivers from around the world. Multiplayer has all of what
you can expect in a racing game and more. It seems the world has gone
Zombie crazy with zombie modes popping up in many games. Dirt 3 does it
with a twist and a game of keep away. In Outbreak mode a car starts out
infected and must race after the other cars in the game. If the infected
car bumps another car it to becomes infected. The infection spreads with
a bump from the infected car so players are in a mad desperate dash to
be the last car with all the other players infected and coming after
them now. This mode is good fun and gives some wild ride experiences in
the game. I am really not a fan of zombie modes in games, they come off
as cliché and gee let’s do a zombie mode because everyone else is doing
it and fans want it. Dirt 3 developers pulled off a zombie kind of mode
here with panache and a bit of originality. It is simple in concept but
what a blast to play.
Transporter mode is pretty much a capture the flag kind of mode. Between
all of the multiplayer game modes, Outbreak and Transporter seem to
shine the most in levels of fast paced fun.
Sounds in the game are just as solid as the graphics. Vehicle
interactions with the road sound crisp as it changes from different
surface conditions. The engine sounds mixed with slight buttering
backfires of the exhaust are all pleasing and immerse the player in this
world of rally racing. Thankfully the sound track has been toned down
from the game before and is more in the back ground where it should be.
It feels more like a racing game, rather than arcade game. Well done
indeed. Voice acting is for the most part what one would expect. Some
lines come off rather forced and does not seem natural at all. One in
particular seems just creepy happy all the time. Sprinkling in words
like amigo and such, of course it’s a character, and that may be how it
was written. It’s just seems off.
Dirt 3 has modest game length; the concept over all does not grow
tiresome which is great. It has solid fun gameplay from single player
experience, to multiplayer online or even split screen multiplayer. Dirt
3 may not please everyone out there, what game does really? Dirt 3 is a
solid addition to the series, which keeps rally car racing as the
coolest thing out there.
Have fun, play games