By June 20, 2011 Read More →

Video Game: DiRT 3 (PC)

Dirt3_13Codemasters takes us back to off road racing with the new DiRT 3. Now there are new roads and tracks and more even more off road vehicles than before. There are many different kinds of races in the game. Rally and Trailblazer and point-to-point races, with car starting at the time. Although sometimes you might catch up the car in front of you before the finish line, or sometimes you might be overtaken if you’re driving doesn’t go too well. Rallycross and Land Rush races are driven on tracks with eight cars at the track, while head to head race is like WRC Super Special Stage with two cars running on the same track and with the same lenght but with different starting positions.

In addition there are also many Gymkhana challenges were you have to perform different kinds of tricks, trying to imitate the ones on the Ken Block Gymhkana videos. In these challenges you perform drifts, donuts, spins and jumps on a parking lot or some other place with enough room to play. It’s a quite a lot fun, but can also be quite challenging. Rallycross was once again my favorite with a possibility to have long and accurate drifts through corners, although on a tarmac track it isn’t always the fastest way around the corner.

By competing succesfully you collect rep points, which opens up more races and more tracks. You don’t need to buy new cars, they come available as you proceed. There is no car tuning with new parts. Only thing you can choose is your cars livery. Before every race you can change the car’s setup, by changing the gear ratio, downforce, differential, suspension, ride height and brake bias settings. It takes a while to find the favorite settings for different conditions (tarmac, gravel, snow) to suit your driving style the best. However, changing the settings in the right way can impove your driving dramatically, and makes it easier to succeed in tough competition.

Before every race you can also change the opponent difficulty level and what driving assistants you need. If some races feel too challenging, you can change the opponents to an easier level, so you don’t need to drive that same race too many times. And you can always come back and try them again later. On the other hand, when you are racing on your favorite arena with your favorite car, you can change the opponent level to harder, to make it a bit more challenging. Nice thing is that you don’t have to win every race to proceed if you collect enough rep points from other races.

In DiRT 3 you have a really wide selection of cars to drive. You don’t buy cars for yourself, instead you get to choose your favorite ride from the collection of cars offered before every race. As you proceed you get more cars to choose from. There are rally from five different decades and some special off road vehicles, like 800 horsepower monsters for Trailblazer events. Racing takes place on different kinds of tracks and roads in Europe, USA and Africa.

There are a lot of tracks and roads and sometimes they are driven in opposite direction, so you don’t get bored very quickly. On the other hand, it takes time to get to know them. You get to race on tarmac, gravel, mud and snow. It might be raining or snowing and sometimes you have a nighttime race. The versatility of the racing in DiIRT 3 is surprisingly wide. First you might race with a 1960’s rally car on snow in Norway, next you take a 800 horsepower car on gravel in Finland and then you go perform tricks on a tarmac with a Fiesta. So you have to be able to modify you driving style frequently.

Only thing in DiRT 3 that disturbs me, is that there isn’t any real target in the game, that you would try to reach. You get more cars and more races available as you proceed, but you don’t really know what they are before they open up. So they don’t create that need to keep playing to reach them. Luckily, the car handling is marvellous once again, as it usually is in Codemasters racing games, and that makes playing Dirt 3 a whole lot of fun. So eventhough there would be only one track and one car to drive, you probably would still keep playing it quite sometime. If you liked the previous Dirt game, you probably are going to like this one also. And if you haven’t play off road racing games before, this is a good place to start.


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