It's time to get dirty once again in the third installment of the DiRT racing series, and if you know Extreme Gamer, then you know we're fans. So let's see if Dirt 3 can live up to our high expectations.

The DiRT series and its "Colin McRae" roots has been consistently evolving as a brand. From its more simulation-seq roots to the hard-pounding mainstream beast it has become, DiRT and its precursors never disappoint. For a detailed review on DiRT 2, check out our review from 2009 -- link -- a game that still gets play time on my console as one of the few racers I kept returning too after its push had faded.

Heading into DiRT 3 you will notice that Codemasters didn't shy away from its "edgy" look. A triangle pinkish teal vibe for DiRT 3 is a little odd, but it works. The menu's and look of DiRT 3 has a certain "cool" swagger that the Codemasters has slowly mastered in the evolution of the series. Beyond the graphics, Hardcore fans don't hesitant of the neon origami because DiRT 3 does a great job bringing out the best aspects of one of the most respected sports in the world.

DiRT 3 isn't only for the "Hardcore" racing group, casual gamers can enjoy everything DiRT has to offer without being familiar with the the sport. Appreciatively there are enough assists to accommodate all levels of gamers. Although, the "Rally" genre isn't for everyone, gamers who love the added spirit of the unknown will love how unique each race feels. Additionally, the little things like your avatar review view mirror dangler and rewind (flashback) feature are included, which brings this more into that casual market. Colin, we've come so far.


30 Seconds of Fame
A new 'YouTube' feature has also been added to this years edition. This allows you to share videos of your finest DIRT 3 moments on the worlds most watched internet video service. While its a great bullet point and a cool feature to include, it's only going to appeal to those gamers who spend a fair amount of time on 'YouTube.' Secondly, the clips are only saved in clip-its of 30 seconds, which in itself is severely limiting. Oddly, replays cannot be saved so, you'll have to do this on the fly. While I respect the ambition to develop a “social networking” feature, it feels like a little short sighted.

A Rally-Good Workout
Turning the key to the career mode, called 'Dirt Tour,' you will meet all the associates that will help you in become a world ranked driver. An important step is earning reputation points by podium finishes which also improves the quality and quantity of rides you have access too. For races you will be taking on your typical rally races, rally cross races and its big brother, landrush events. Head-2-head match-ups and the list goes on. However, Codemaster's spices up DiRT 3 with a new mode called Gymkhana. Introduced by the one-and-only 'Ken Block' you will be shown the ropes to this “extreme” free-styled format. Broken into a few different sections of extreme driving (most of which are self explanatory) you will get the drift of Gymkanas' nature, and those actives are; smashing blocks, jumping, drifting, spinning, and donuts (drifting while keeping the nose of the car close to the centre of the donut.) Gymkhana events are much like freestyle motocross events where it's up to the player to string together a clever and daring display of driving.


Allowing you to move around a four wheel car with excellent precision are the responsive controls. Although, for the first time I felt DiRT was slightly floaty. This could be caused by a number of reasons, but the first thing I noticed was the light feel of the vehicles. However, this is subjective and beyond DiRT's questionable float, the controls are solid and handling each car is done with ease. Yet, I would still like things to be tightened up a little more. Thinking back to the first batch of 'Colin McRae' games, DiRT's grip on realism is falling further away from its foundation, something that could be done intentionally.

Along with the questionable "social" aspect DiRT 3 introduces race objectives that encourage you to earn more reputation points by meeting each objectives. The objectives are the standard achievements like hitting a certain speed or finishing so far ahead of your competition. Even though we are seeing this more-and-more in racing games, it blends in perfectly with off-road mayhem in DiRT 3. Although, the objectives associated with each ride unintentionally dictates the ride you will drive, the list available vehicles is huge. However, you never really feel an ownership with a single car like previous games.

Thank You for Listening
In the review for DiRT 2 I listed a wish-list for DiRT 3, and I happy to report that someone has been listening (or so I would like to believe.) The main change I wished for was more varied weather effects, mainly the addition of snow! Well, both issues has been addressed. While the climate forces could still be a little more dynamic, snow in all its icy glory is in. As a Canadian this makes me happy because I usually always come out first in snow-capped races. Adding on to the atmospheric addition, DiRT 3 has stepped up its game in track/level design. The tracks now have more international flair and are far more interesting to speed across. In DiRT 3 you will race through Finland, Norway, LA, Kenya, Monaco and more. The world of DiRT has never been so inviting.


Beyond the Neon Triangle
Breaking down the graphics, DiRT 3 is a looker. However, I did encounter a few bugs like in-game stuttering and the occasional disc-freezing issue, although it should be noted this review is done prior to a patch. Beyond a few bugs, DiRT 3 is by far the crowning edition to the series (even if I liked the DiRT 2 "Trailer" interface a better.) Codemasters certainly know what they are doing which continues right on over to the sound design, again up to the high standard we expect. "Impactful" is the best word to use when describing the production values in DiRT 3; this game has the mojo.

Online DiRT 3 has enough content to keep you racing beyond the single player tour. The new jam session party style mode is an eye-catcher that is good for a short dose of fun. This tags along with Gymkhana online, another good clean fun idea that actually translates quite well online. While those modes are good for the causal driver more hardcore options exist that will be of interest to the loyal DiRT fan. The only qualm is the 8 MP player support, while it is appreciated that DiRT has multiplayer, I would to see those numbers reach up to the double digits.

As expected Codemasters continues to perfect their off-road racing craft as DiRT 3 claims another podium victory. The new Gymkhana free-style event and the inclusion of snow is enough to grant DiRT 3 a pass over the previous edition, even though the old 'Colin McRae' influence is all but covered. The series has really established as one of the premier racing series and should not be missed by any racing enthusiasts.

  • Break out the snow tires, we got snow!!
  • Environments are more detailed and varied
  • New Freestyle Gymkhana mode
  • Visuals and sound still remain at the top of their game
  • Cars feel a slightly floaty
  • New menu interface isn't as striking
  • Some occasional disc freezing (pre-patch)
  • YouTube uploads are limited to 30 seconds
Quote: "The new Gymkhana free-style event and the inclusion of snow is enough to grant DiRT 3 a pass over the previous edition, even though the old 'Colin McRae' influence is all but covered."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 05.26.11

Similar Games: DiRT Showdown (6.0) | Colin McRae 04 (7.0) | DiRT 2 (8.8)


DiRT 3




US Release
May 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1-2
System Lnk 2-8
Online 2-8
HD 720-1080p
5.1 surround
FF Wheel
D/L Content