The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The Dirt series ostensibly encompasses the large world of off-road
racing in all its forms. This philosophy was whittled down slightly with
fewer vehicle types year after year since the franchise’s 2007 debut,
and Dirt 3 is the most focused entry yet. The addition of Gymkhana and
the prominence of various rally racing events – with trucks,
co-pilotless Trailblazer runs in head-to-head finale events, or even in
multi-car races – makes this the most thrilling collection of Dirt
racing to date. But there’s a price to be paid for the abundance of
rally racing, as the series loses momentum in its career mode.
love Codemasters’ decision to focus on rally racing and offshoots like
Gymkhana, even if it’s at the expense of some of the series vehicles,
like semis, and previous events, like Hill Climb. The rally racing,
whether it’s with or without a co-pilot (Trailblazer) or even with other
cars (RallyCross), is an exhilarating interplay of timing and subtlety
between your cars’ acceleration, steering, brakes, and e-brake that
makes every turn either a chance to make up lost time or a race-ending
disaster. This is where the rewind tokens come in handy.
appears both as a free ride playground (complete with specific, but
optional, tasks) and a part of the career via fun events like Sprints
(tackling tricks like drift slides under tight gaps in a specific
order), freestyle matches where order isn’t important, and freeform
contests. Online Multiplayer also includes Gymkhana among the more
traditional race types, with capture the flag-esque Transporter events
and infected-style Outbreak races. The addition of Gymkhana is great – I
particularly like how the free ride area at London’s Battersea Power
Station keeps growing as you unlock new sections.
But even with
this exciting new content, the game misses an opportunity to improve its
career mode structure. Your career managers are nothing more than
laborious voiceovers for the simple progression path. Losing the camper
hub makes the HUD even more unexciting, and the rudimentary car upgrades
have been stripped out. Players’ attachment to their cars is lessened
since damage doesn’t have to be repaired between rally stages, and the
sponsorships you earn are really nothing more than new liveries. Thus,
there’s not a lot of career management going on. What was once an
interesting and evolving part of the franchise – that feeling that you
were living an actual racing career – has been neutered.
has made a good name for itself with this franchise’s heart-pounding
racing and arresting graphics – which are even more striking with the
inclusion of night driving and falling snow. The renewed focus on rally
racing and the addition of Gymkhana keeps it in good shape, even as it
pares down some of its previously interesting career aspects.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.