Thrilling gameplay, eye watering visuals, spectacular physics, and flamboyancy; these are just a few of the things that we have come to expect from the Dirt franchise, and the third instalment, Dirt 3, undoubtedly delivers in style. However, it is not all great, and not everything has been improved upon.
The franchise still looks fantastic, and the in-game visuals in Dirt 3 are definitely better than Dirt 2. The calibre of detail on
the cars and on the scenery will make your eyes widen as you’re
driving... but just make sure you keep those eyes on the road, as it is easy to get caught up in admiring the surroundings. On the other hand, the menu visuals and the general layout have Dirt 2 winning hands down. This time around, the menus look very dull, masked with depressing shades of grey and green, slightly rescued by a hint of colour here and there. After Dirt 2 having a fantastic and fluid menu system, you would expect Dirt 3 to provide the same level of attractiveness and atmosphere, but instead, Codemasters have reverted back to a very simple and stripped down layout.
Whilst I’m on the subject of presentation, the Dirt 3 Tour (Career) menus are exceedingly awkward, and it’s an area that Dirt 2 dominates in, once again, as you used to be able to view a big map laid out across a table for your progress to be properly monitored. Dirt 3 now lacks the effortless navigation that the second instalment has, and you have to go searching for your records in individual sections of the event menu – it’s a pain.
The sound effects in this game are once again excellent, and when Dirt 3’s sounds and visuals are melded together, it really does forge a superb racing experience to go with the gameplay. The only problem that I have with the sound is when you hear your teammates in the Dirt Tour mode via the voiceover; my word they, are annoying. The voice acting is very cringe worthy, and it is seeping with cheese. Even though the voice acting in Dirt 2 isn’t too spectacular, Dirt 3 takes it to a whole new level where you just want to mute your television at times, as it grates on your ears and mind. Despite the fact that the voice acting is terrible, you do get helpful information from your teammates, if you’re new to one or more of the events.
There is a satisfying variety of events in Dirt 3, with over half of the game content being dominated by Rally, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Accompanying the Rally events are Rally-Cross, Land Rush, Trail Blazer, Gymkhana and Head2Head. In general, there is a lot more content in Dirt 3 compared to Dirt 2, and when not even including the Multiplayer, it gives the game its longevity. There is a great big negative within the Tour mode now though, in regards to car selection. You can no longer use your hard earned career cash to buy new cars, instead, you are given new cars by teams who are interested in you as your reputation rises. Even though free cars aren’t a bad thing, Dirt 3 makes it a bad thing, because each team has a different car, and these different cars have different levels of reputation rewards, and the higher the reputation reward doesn’t necessarily mean that the cars get better. Because you feel compelled to use the car that gives you the highest reputation reward, it greatly restricts your choice in what car to use and it leaves you feeling a bit sad. If you like racing in a particular car and it isn’t owned by a high reputation team, you would lose out on bonus rewards as a result of using your favourite car... weak.