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DiRT 3 Review

DiRT 3 Review

Despite modestly going about their business for years with the Colin McRae franchise, it wasn't until the arrival of DiRT 2 that people started to take notice on a global scale. Before, the franchise had been all about the rally experience, but DiRT 2 added in a lot more of the North American events like the X-Games. With DiRT 3, the team wanted to refine the experience and really listen to what the users wanted and it's a decision which has culminated in the best DiRT experience to date.

Starting off as a no-name driver, you have everything to prove. And with the assistance of your own little crew, you'll be able to do just that by racing through different seasons. These consist of three different competitions, which in turn have their own events, and a final. The only way to progress is through unlocking enough points to move forwards and you can only access the next season once the previous one has been finished.

It's a decent progression-based system, but it never really expands that much. You can of course repeat any race which you've already done, but it all feels a bit similar. Once you do a season, you then do the next season, which has an identical structure. The only difference is that of course, you get some better cars to pick from and the tracks are a bit longer/harder. You still have the three competitions though and then the final. It's because of this, that sometimes the career mode can feel a bit stale a short or even stunted - it never really expands how it feels it should. Even the wide range of cars from different decades doesn't help to rectify this.

The events themselves have a nice, even distribution and Codemasters must be commended for listening to their fans. Rally has a much greater focus and there's of course the addition of Gymkhana to the mix. You won't often find two of the same type in a single competition though, with rallying being supplemented by trail blazing, some land rush or even the odd drift challenge. It's nice to have such variety, but perhaps it would have been better if the game grouped events together (before World Tours), for you to do at your own leisure, instead of trying to make you instantly into a master of all. If you really get into a drifting groove and then go straight into land rush event, it can be a bit of a shift and some might find it awkward to adapt.

The handling of the cars can hardly be faulted though, Codemasters has really outdone themselves in this department, which is quite easily the most important one. It's difficult enough to make cars react how they should on unpredictable rally terrain, but with the revival of different weather types like rain and snow, Codemasters had an even more difficult job on their hands. Driving on snow is a hoot and you will gain a real sense of satisfaction from nailing a solid snow rallying time, as opposed to beating out the pack in a land rush event, which is more traditional for racing games. Ironically, the only time that the handling feels a bit off is during events on tarmac, where the cars feel a bit too slippery - this isn't the case in Gymkhana though.

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