DiRT3This critically acclaimed sequel to 2009’s million-plus seller, DiRT 2, has sharp graphics throughout the immense racing world..so much that viewers can have as much fun as the players. Players get excitement, high replayability, and endless challenges with double the playing space of the previous installment.

DiRT3 features rallying, a.k.a. rally racing, gymkhana, as well as other racing types, styles, and modes including Trailblazer, Land Rush, Rallycross, and Head 2 Head. Rally racing occurs on private or public roads while requiring interval, “staggered” starts and staged checkpoints – ideal for precision driving.

Gymkhana adds even more cerebral challenge. Obstacles add more challenge to increasingly complex courses, which require players to learn some amazing moves. Courses are set in set in Africa, Europe, and the U.S. Stunt driving, drifting, reversals, spins, figure “8”s and other moves all factor in. The courses have great layouts, so players can usually go full speed, especially if they know the course well.

Staggered starts and other rally racing elements add new learning elements for players new to the sport, but the game still has a great pick-up-and-play accessibility. The graphics provide helpful colored lines to let players know when they need to speed up, slow down or slam on those brakes.

The striking sound elements compliment the high production visuals well. Audio assistance helps as well as the co-driver speaks which turns/directions are coming up. Turn off this feature for a higher difficulty. Some voice sounds get a little cheesy, especially the one suggesting you upload the race just finished.

The performance system works very well. Players earn reputations, so there is no currency, which means achievements are much more satisfying. Other statistics enhance the experience, but it’s great to not see a money tally every time, which would have been a major distraction in this authentic racing experience.

The one player career mode speeds players through the professional races. Online gameplay works through the VIP pass/access code. The feature obviously allows competitive multiplayer races with players all over the world as well as the ability to share content. Players can upload their gameplay videos directly on YouTube, but the interface here is a bit clunky and could be smoother.

The considerable, ongoing downloadable content, available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, includes the following pieces:

  • Colin McRae Vision Charity Pack, which includes McRae’s classic 1970s Rally car plus five liveries
  • The X Games Asia Track Pack includes racing environments in Tokyo, Japan
  • The Monte Carlo Track Pack including eight rally stages with new snow and foggy environments (all profits from Charity pack sales are donated to the Colin McRae Vision Charity.

More of everything plus ongoing downloadable add-on content puts this racing game at a high performance level for players of all ages. Real world peripherals like racing wheels really enhance the experience.

Recommended (*** out of four stars) and also available on PC and XBox 360.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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