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Dirt 3

Dirt 3 (stylisedDiRT 3) is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. However, the "Colin McRae" tag has been completely removed from this iteration (having previously been removed from only American versions of previous games in the series). The game was released in Europe and North America on the 24 May 2011, and two days later in Australia for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The Japanese version of Dirt 3 was released on 25 August 2011. In September 2011, there were reports that a network security problem on the website of an AMD promo had resulted in the loss of 3 million Dirt 3 keys to the public for use via the Steam platform that have then been posted in various places around the internet. Dirt 3 is a superb off-road racer that adds some great new features and improves upon its predecessor at just about every opportunity.

Dirt 3
Dirt 3.jpg
Developer(s)Codemasters Southam
  • NA THQ
SeriesColin McRae Rally
EngineEGO 2.0
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s)
  • NA 24 May 2011
  • PAL 24 May 2011
  • AUS 26 May 2011
  • JP 25 August 2011
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer
  • ACB: PG
  • CERO: A
  • ESRB: T
  • PEGI: 12
Media/distributionOptical disc, Download
System requirements
Recommended specifications
  • Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • AMD Phenom II / Intel Core i7
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 15 GB Hard Drive Space
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
  • DirectX Compatible Sound Card
  • DirectX 11
Minimum specifications
  • Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.8 GHz / Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 15 GB Hard Drive Space
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 2000 Series 256 MB / NVIDIA GeForce 8000 Series 256 MB
  • DirectX Compatible Sound Card
  • DirectX 9

When DiRT 2 was released in 2009 it boasted a lengthy and varied career mode, numerous multiplayer options, and uniformly excellent presentation. Its sequel loses none of those things and also makes some great additions to the formula. Split-screen multiplayer is now an option, there are more vehicle classes to choose from, gymkhana events and snowy conditions pose fresh challenges, and new multiplayer modes put interesting automotive spins on some first-person shooter favorites. Dirt 3 brings a lot of superb content to the table, and because it offers a plethora of customizable difficulty settings and assists, newcomers and veterans alike can enjoy its excellent off-road action.
Regardless of which difficulty level you play at and whether or not you take advantage of stability and braking assists, Dirt 3 handles like a dream. There are dozens of great-looking modern and vintage vehicles in the garage, and you race them on all manner of surfaces and in changing weather conditions, but getting behind the wheel of one that you haven't driven before is never a problem. The controls are responsive, and while it's certainly possible to mess up so spectacularly that your ride loses panels and becomes deformed to the point that it's unrecognizable, there are gameplay mechanics in place that ensure you don't feel the need to hold anything back. Even as you hurtle along narrow dirt trails and around icy hairpins, Dirt 3's cars, trucks, and buggies encourage you to push them harder by using excellent audio and rumble feedback to let you know that you're not quite on the edge yet.

The main mode sees players earn reputation points in various events to gain the interest of sponsors who provide them with new vehicles. Flashbacks return from Dirt 2, which can be used up to five times in any difficulty, but cost reputation points to use. A new gymkhana mode puts players in obstacle courses, challenging them to perform various tricks to earn points. Featured in the game are various party modes, involving events such as smashing wooden targets, spreading a zombie infection, and capture the flag. Other new features include a Hardcore mode which limits players to the cockpit view with no assists, the appearance of rain and snow, and the ability to upload replay clips directly to YouTube.


IGN gave the game a score of 8.5 and an Editor's Choice award, praising the gameplay and online functionality while criticising some of the design choices. GameTrailers gave the game a score of 9.2, praising the gameplay and presentation, although criticising the limits of the YouTube functionality. GamesRadar gave the game a score of 9/10, praising its impeccable gameplay though noting slightly lower structure presentation compared to the previous game. Official Xbox Magazine gave the game a score of 8.5/10, hailing its impressive car design and smooth handling, while criticising the lack of dynamism in the surfaces and poor social features.
Demanding new gymkhana events in which you're challenged to perform tricks in specially designed arenas reinforce how excellent Dirt 3's controls are. In these exciting sessions you score points for crashing through carefully positioned destructible blocks, and for performing donuts, spins, slides, and jumps. String different tricks together to get the crowd pumped, and you build up a score multiplier; display anything other than masterful control by colliding with something, and your multiplier goes down. It's not entirely dissimilar to performing combos in a skateboarding game, except that the tricks are significantly less complex. Stringing successful tricks together against the clock is still plenty challenging, though, and as a result, gymkhanas are great practice for other events. Once you can make a car dance around a cone and slide at speed through a gate or underneath a truck, getting it around a corner in a race doesn't seem like such a big deal.
Every event in Dirt 3, whether it be a point-to-point rally through a Kenyan desert, a head-to-head race in the Aspen snow, or a circuit-based rallycross event that weaves in and out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, demands precise driving. You can get away with a few collisions here and there, particularly if you take advantage of the five flashbacks at your disposal to correct your mistakes, and it's entirely possible that you might find finishing in first place too easy if you're an experienced player. Turn off some of the assists, crank up the difficulty, and switch from cosmetic damage to realistic damage, though, and you'll find that Dirt 3 is exactly as challenging as you want it to be. At the other end of the scale, if you're new to off-road racing and looking for a way into the genre, Dirt 3 has you covered. In addition to the aforementioned assists and other options, it's the first game in the series to offer a dynamic racing line like those seen in both the Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo series.
That racing line can be invaluable as you learn your way around Dirt 3's 100-plus circuits and stages; position yourself poorly as you take a turn or jump over a crest, and you might make a subsequent corner unnecessarily difficult. Also invaluable in the events where she's available is real-life co-driver Jen Horsey, who always delivers the information you need in a clear, concise, and timely fashion. (A male alternative is also available, as is an option to have either co-driver use more complex and detailed language.) If you listen to her carefully, rally stages that wind through the forests of Finland or around the lakes of Michigan don't seem nearly as daunting. You still won't have much time to admire the impressive scenery or to contemplate the foolhardy fans that occasionally run across the track ahead of you, but you're far less likely to wrap your car around a tree or crash through a barrier and into the crowd.
Many of the events in Dirt 3's lengthy Dirt Tour career mode span multiple back-to-back races at the same location, but the game does an excellent job of keeping the action from feeling stale. After finishing the first of three rallycross events in dry conditions, for example, you might race the next during a grip-changing downpour and then the final in wet conditions after the rain clouds have passed and your visibility is improved. And in point-to-point rallies, racing the same stages in different directions can make for a very different experience, especially if you're under a desert sun one stage and having to use your headlights to cut through the black of night the next. Also lending variety to your career is that you invariably have several different events to choose from. The dozens of events that compose the Dirt Tour are organized into four seasons that must be completed in order, but your progress through each season is anything but linear, and you always have the option to return to events that you want to replay in an attempt to improve upon your position or best score/time.

Watch Dirt 3 game trailer for more details.


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