Skip to main content

DiRT 3: Super Review

Can Codemasters break its run of 9/10 racing games and nail that perfect 10?

Time to get DiRTy

No matter. These are minor complaints and, compared to any other racing series you could mention, DiRT 3 is way out in front to the point where its competitors aren’t even eating its dust any more - that settled long ago. We’re looking at undoubtedly one of the finest games on the market - not just racing games, but video games in general. Show this game in action to anyone and they’re going to be amazed. It's like a CG movie of an off-road highlights reel, which is exactly what a modern racing game should be.

Above: I'm racing against a freakin' bobsled down a snowy forest track. Oh, and that's how you do trees

However, while scaling back the cringeworthy dude-speak (still slightly evident) and the festival presentation has undoubtedly made it more credible for hardcore rally fans, it does seem to be at the cost of some cohesion. The most surprising thought that came to my mind while I was playing was how much I want to play DiRT 2 again - for the atmosphere, the sunshine and the more involving career structure.

DiRT 3 is more serious. Its about racing beautiful machines in hostile environments, battling the elements and each other while playing to the crowd at the same time. It oozes classic, score-chasing videogame immersion without even acting like a videogame, leaving you focused solely on the fragile relationship between your car and the surface of the road. The result, whether you stay on or not, is magnificent.

20 May, 2011

Is it better than...

No. They're about equal. DiRT 2 is just as good-looking, just as fast and just as fun to play, buthas arguably superior structure and presentation. DiRT 3 has new weather effects and times of day, YouTube uploads, split-screen two-player and brilliant Gymkhana action and the rallying is indeed better this time round. Oh, and DiRT 3's Monaco races are verging on Race Driver GRID, so it scores extra points for that.

Yes. Comparing the two just goes to show how far ahead of everyone else the DiRT series has become. At least DiRT 3 has a single player career mode. It doesn't have bikes, mind, and everyone knowshow much better bikes make games. But seriously, if it's MX vs ATV or this, there's no contest. DiRT 3 is infinitely superior.

WRC:Yes. Even if you long for a dedicated rally game and couldn't care less about this Gymkhana nonsense, the gulf in quality is massive. You'll have more fun just playing the rally stages here and racing against people online than playing through the entire WRC game. Not that it's bad (far from it). Just that DiRT is better.

Just for you, Metacritic!

The racing action is peerless, with Codemasters' racers still clearly in a class of their own. But the style has perhaps swung too far from the Americanised festival atmosphere and it's much more sober as a result. Still absolutely worth your money, mind.

More info

DescriptionCodemasters updates its stupendous Rally franchise with new weather effects and gymkhana stunt fun. Expect this to be one of the most breathtaking racers ever made.
Franchise nameColin McRae
UK franchise nameColin McRae
Platform"PC","Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Teen","Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"12+","12+","12+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Justin Towell
Justin worked on the GamesRadar+ staff for 10 whole years. Imagine that. Now he is a contributor, specialising in racing games, retro, and Sanic.