DiRT 3

DiRT 3 Review by Honorabili

dirt3

One Sentence Review:
“They could have just released a bunch of DLC tracks for DiRT 2 but this is a more polished game (even if just by a little)”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10

Overview & My History With This Game:
Welcome to the third installment of DiRT. If you’re not familiar with DiRt feel free to read my review of DiRT 1 and DiRT 2. The DiRT series are a highly successful series of racing games based on the rally racing discipline, brought to us by the racing game masters at Codemasters. Like previous DiRT games, it offers both modern and retro rally cars.

Dirt 3 America Fuck Yeah
Dirt 3 America Fuck Yeah

There are different kinds of races such as rally, trailblazer, head 2 head, rally cross, land rush, and gymkhana. Rally is a standard rally race, point to point where you race from the beginning to the end seeing who gets there in the least amount of time, with the help of a navigator. Traiblazer is the same thing except you race super rally cars (700+ HP usually) and have no navigator to tell you where to turn. Head 2 Head usually consists of running on two separate lanes in a closed circuit to see who will get to the finish line first. Rally Cross also involved racing in a closed circuit track, with more open tracks thank head to head, and you are race next to other cars with full contact. Land rush is the same thing except with trucks and buggies. Gymkhana is a stunt discipline which involves doing stuff like making your car jump, do donuts, break obstacles, drift, etc. The current world champion is Ken Block and he is INSANE as seen here:

The game consists of a single player campaign which is rather short and the remainder of the game consists of playing it online in multiplayer matches. Overall, I recommend for you to try the rally, trailblazers, and head 2 head disciplines while playing it online if not you’ll get a bunch of 12 year olds that will do nothing but crash into you if you’re winning, and usually crashing is turned off in the manner that Trackmania does it. This is HIGHLY inaccurate and in real life would result in a disqualification from a race. This is racing, not demolition derby (although that’s fun, there’s other games specifically for that).

Dirt 3 1st place
Dirt 3 1st place

You race both the single player campaign and multiplayer campaign accruing reputation and fame (each mode’s way of saying XP) which unlocks more stuff in the game (mainly teams, not tracks or DLC cars). My beef with the game is that you keep gaining different racing teams and sometimes some cars but you will NEVER be able to unlock the cars and tracks they’re now FORCING you to buy via DLC. That’s really upsetting especially when I found out that I couldn’t get to drive my beloved Lancia Stratos.

Dirt 3 Alpine Renault
Dirt 3 Alpine Renault

I’ll say a good thing about the multiplayer though: it is usually much harder than playing against the computer. It’s fun to talk smack with online players. A lot of Europeans seem to be playing this game as I’m often stuck racing against Germans. =P

Dirt 3 Audi
Dirt 3 Audi

I got DiRT 3 because I had bought an ATI 6870 video card and the game came bundled with it. A DVD did not come with it but instead a code for me to sign up for some AMD promo over at this site which after entering the promo code they provided me with a code that added the game to my Steam account. This seems to be a standard method of distribution these days for bundled games and gifted games, especially since platforms like Steam dominate and soon physical media will be a thing of the past.

Dirt 3 Champion
Dirt 3 Champion

Fun Factor & Replayability:
The variety of cars plus different modes of ranked online playing make this both a fun and very replayable game. The single player mode is rather short and I get the feeling that they are trying to force-feed DLC down our throats (the current trend in gaming).

Dirt 3 Eat My Dust
Dirt 3 Eat My Dust

Fun Factor is definitely high since this game has a TON of historical rally vehicles, which I’d rather play than space age modern rally monsters. My favorite ones are the rally super cars like the Toyota Tundra that were insane machines back then and still today. I give Fun Factor a score of 8 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Fighting For First Place
Dirt 3 Fighting For First Place

Replayability will mainly come in the form of Multiplayer. I have a feeling that eventually if you want to keep playing and having fun you will need to start buying some of the DLC, especially new tracks and cars. The game comes with what I consider to be a very limited selection of tracks. Sure, the reverse of the tracks is available but even DiRT 2 had more tracks. I really don’t like any DLC especially since this game pretty much just came out and they’re already trying to get your money. To me that’s like releasing an incomplete game and then charging people for patches and updates. Replayability gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Flying High
Dirt 3 Flying High

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:
You can now customize the difficulty of the game per race much better than before. This level of scalability lets you set the handicap at which to play and makes the game a lot more enjoyable, especially for both beginners and hardened racing game veterans. I wish they would have made the crashing and damage a LOT more realistic. If it weren’t for that I’d give it nearly a perfect score. Difficulty gets an 8 out of 10 and Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Ford
Dirt 3 Ford

Value:
I got this game for free so it was an amazing value to me. Rather than say how much it costs, from now on I’ll just say what’s the most I would pay for it. That amount would be $20. I would also say pay more for it if you are a BIG FAN of rally racing and would love to play a game with lots of modern and old rally cars.

Dirt 3 Hyundai PM 580
Dirt 3 Hyundai PM 580

Sound:
The sound effects are realistic, just like in the previous games, maybe slightly better. I give sounds a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:
The music is amazing but again, I guess Codemasters doesn’t read my reviews for all their games: you can only hear it in the menu and never during the racing. That kind of makes the game boring for most people who are not dedicated racing game players. The techno/electronica music is wasted like that. Other than that I give the music a score of 9 out of 10, especially the electronica. Rock music shouldn’t be in a game unless it’s heavy metal or it’s classic rock and the game is about muscle cars.

Check out one of the best songs (South Central – Demons) from the game here:

Stability/Reliability:
This game actually ran really well, even on my machine with a damaged ATI 3870. Even when the video card crashed, the game kept running fine 99% of the time. It never crashed at all, not even while alt tabbing like crazy. I ran the game on a ten dollar video card and even alt-tabbing with this piece of shit, the game never crashed. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:
You can customize them as much as you want so even playing with a keyboard is a breezes. I played DiRT 3 at E3 2011 with different controllers and the game supports a large variety of them. Max score of 10 out of 10 is deserved.

Graphics & Performance:
The game runs like a beast even on my oldest computer, with still really good looking graphics. Before I mentioned that the previous Codemasters games had a problem with some buffering of the game engine, but now that problem is basically gone. I know it wouldn’t happen at all on a brand new computer but this IS Obsolete Gamer and I do test stuff on old machines too. The game was even very playable on a 2005 medium-range gaming PC. I give both the Graphics and Performance a score of 10 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Monaco Victory
Dirt 3 Monaco Victory

Conclusion:
If you’re going to upgrade soon, most video cards out there on sale by ATI (AMD) pretty much all qualify for the DiRT 3 promo so you might as well get a fun racing game for free. If you don’t plan to upgrade, like I said above, try to get it at a discount or simply get it if you’re a racing game junkie. Multiplayer can be challenging especially if you don’t feel like paying for DLC (like me). I will continue to play Codemasters games so long as they keep their DLC in check.

DiRT

Dirt cover
Dirt cover

DiRT review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“One of the best rally racing games out there.”

 

 

Overall Score:

8 out of 10

 

Overview:

This is the 6th game in the Colin McRae Rally series. Colin McRae was a world champion in rally racing and he passed away in a helicopter accident. Both DiRT 1 and 2 are made in his honor.

Back to the game, DiRT is a refinement of the previous Colin McRae Rally games. There are many different styles of racing available, all off-road. You have traditional Rally, where you race alone with your copilot/navigator that is giving you instructions as to how much distance you have until the next turn and the severity of the turn. You have Hill Climb, which is the same thing, only that you are alone without a navigator, so it’s harder if you don’t know the course. There is a mode where you race on a racetrack with about 7 other racers at the same time, whether in super rally cars or buggies or pickups or SUVs. A neat mode is one called Cross over where you race a track composed of two tracks and you alternate with your rival through a cross over section. The races either consist of who can get the best total lowest time or who can get first place at any cost.

The game has a damage engine, which is relatively realistic (compared to most other racing games). If you damage your transmission, your car will have problems shifting. Damage the cooling system and you risk blowing the engine from overheating. Turbo cars that damage the turbo will suffer a performance hit, and so on. Damage really comes into effect when you play a 3 stage or higher Rally mode race where you will have a chance to repair your car at the end of the 2nd race. You have a finite time to do repairs so it’s better to take care of the most critical damages first. If you don’t know about car mechanics the game has a help system in which two of your team mates will give you a description of real life effects of having damage on real systems. I wish they would have implemented a more severe damage system that makes you rely on having a good team of mechanics and implemented a mini game of managing your employees, but that’s not the case.

DiRT has most legendary Rally cars of recent years and classic cars as well. You will find the Lancia Stratos and the Fiat 131 Abarth as well, as well as the special Colin McRae Ford Escort and the Subaru 1995 Impresa, which he also used to become a legend in. Apart from countless Fiat, Peugeot, Suzuki cars, you will also find the classic Subaru Impreza and the old (and better) Mitsubishi Evo rally cars. The game has some fun cars such as the racing semi-trucks and the 1000-1500 horsepower Toyota racing pickup as well as some old prototype rally cars which are simply amazing. In this sense DiRT 1 is better than DiRT 2.

As far as that comparison goes, DiRT 1 has a LOT more real life tracks compared to DiRT 2, which was a disappointment to me when I got part 2. You will find yourself racing famous tracks in Spain, England, France, and classic Rally trails in Japan and Germany. Of course, DiRT also includes Pikes Peak, one of the best Rally/Hill Climb courses in the world of off-roading.

DiRT has most of the rally world racing personalities racing against you but for the most part they are just names, other than specific people having the tendency to win over others. DiRT 2 added voices and little popup portraits that interact with you as you race with them.

I would say get DiRT 1 if you want more of a classic rally experience.

The game has a multiplayer mode, whether to play via LAN or online. I played it online when the game first came out, but when I replayed it in 2009-2010, it doesn’t work for me anymore, making me think that it has been discontinued in favor of allotting gaming servers for players of DiRT 2 instead.

The game doesn’t let you mod cars, as these are race cars, not street racers. You mainly buy other cars and liveries (think of them as skins) for them. It’s nice to eventually get all cars added to your garage and it’s also interesting that they included the history of the cars, which get narrated to you by your team mates.

DiRT is available on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

Fun Factor:

I always enjoy most racing games as I enjoy racing fast cars in real life, whether on a desolate road, off-roading, or around a real race track (go-karts and similar stuff too!). DiRT will test your reflexes and you will be thoroughly entertained if you enjoy taking a car to its limits and keeping it together in one piece. Some game modes are more enjoyable than others and depending on what kind of challenge you want, you can just focus on those (although sometimes you are forced to do specific races to complete the career mode ladder). Overall, DiRT is a fun experience. Fun Factor gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The game allows you to adjust the difficulty through 5 different settings per race, and you will get audio ques if you are doing too well since it is too easy or it will advice you to lower it if you keep losing. If you are a pro at racing games, you will want to play it at the top or 2nd from the top difficulty, always. Since you can keep adjusting it, you can just variate it from race to race depending on how bad you want to win or how bad you want to make the challenge for you.

What I like about the physics of this game is that it actually takes very well into account the traction and suspension system of the car you are using. Knowing your car will make a huge difference in determining which one to use for the courses you are competing on. You can always make it harder for yourself if you want to artificially manipulate the difficulty for you by selecting a car with crappy suspension AND high horsepower to weight ration for a bumpy track and you will be fighting for your life to control that monster.

Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

 

 

Value:

You can get DiRT through Steam for $20. Considering how short the game is, I wouldn’t recommend getting it for that price, although you can sometimes pick it up on there for half off. When Dirt 2 came out they were giving you Dirt 1 for $2.

You can pick up DiRT for $15 through gogamer.com which is a much better buy. You can get the PS3 version from then for $19 as of the time of this writing. You can check out all the versions of DiRT from gogamer at the following link: http://www.gogamer.com/searchresults.htm?keywords=dirt&categoryId=&x=0&y=0

ebgames.com has the Xbox 360 version for $20 as well.

I would say pick up the game for sure if it’s around $10. Maybe like around $15. Otherwise, unless you LOVE rally racing, it might not be worth the money, and if you were to spend more money most people would just opt out to buy DiRT 2 instead. Value gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve played the campaign for this game three times through and the game is still fun to me. I love most of the cars in the game and I don’t really mind that this is now becoming an old racing game, since it was great from the start.

I’ve memorized most of the tracks in the game which make the game much easier for me (this is a tactic to be employed in all racing games, if you want to dominate). The tracks are classic though and some of you will find them in other racing games as well. The tracks feel realistic as to their layout, so I enjoy racing them over and over.

Although I have DiRT 2, I find myself playing DiRT 1 more. It’s a nice game to load up once in a while if you feel like getting your car dirty! Replayability gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Sound:

The sound in this game is simply brilliant. The cars do sound like real off-road race cars and you will hear the crackle of the engine as you floor the living hell out of your car. The ground and dirt pebbles sound wonderful and real if you have ever gone off-roading in real life. Even hitting a tree or rock at a high speed sounds “wonderful” (although your car will perish… sometimes). Sound surely gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

Like other Codemasters racing games, music is basically absent during racing, which I assume is done on purpose so that you can focus on racing and not grooving. I wish they would incorporate a an option to have it be interactive music (like Need For Speed 2 had) or have it be persistent as well. You mainly only get the hear constant music in the menu, which has a great song, and after each race with like victory music, which is nice itself. Music gets a score of 6 out of 10. The songs are GREAT but they are sparse.

Graphics:

This game might be “old” now but it sure is eye candy. Although I’ve also played part 2 and GRID, and this game came out first, sometimes I find myself staring at the background and it seems like as if you are almost racing in the real location (in some instances). Codemasters are real code masters when it comes to making the best looking, fastest running game possible. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game used to hang up for me while loading rarely when the game originally came out. The latest patch/build makes this hardly ever happen though, which helps in this category.

The problem I have is that there is a lag problem, which I still believe is linked to the cheat prevention system the Codemasters games have which will make the game lag sometimes randomly, usually the faster you are going. This happens sometimes and this is sort of like a killer to have in a racing game. For DiRT often when this happens, the game will lag and then speed up to catch up with the action which can be dangerous, especially when racing. Since that bug is annoying, it hurts the game in this sense. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls for the PC version are fairly standard, using the arrow keys to drive. You can remap the controls to your liking so that you get a better interface if you are so inclined. I usually map my brakes to the letter Z. I like to drive with both feet in real life, even in an automatic car to have direct control over the brakes, for me the most important part of real racing. Because you set your own controls, if you don’t like the defaults, and they are responsive, Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs great for the most part but it does have the annoying lag bug I have discussed above. I’ve played this game on 3 computers, each one faster than the previous one. It ran pretty well on all of them, even when it first came out. Performance gets a score of 7 out of 10, mainly because of the lag bug.

My history with this game:

I thought I’d give this game a try since so many games had come out that were great of the Colin McRae Rally series. I played the first one and I thought it was great for its time. This game follows that tradition.

I’m a fan of Codemasters racing games. I always buy their stuff, no matter what (when it comes to racing games, YES). I’m looking forward to them making DiRT 3 and Grid 2.

I enjoy how they release their racing games for PC and also for consoles. I see that they are basically developing for console, but that’s where the money is for racing games, the ones that sell. Sure you have a lot of enthusiasts solely using PCs for simulator racing games but the number of people who do that is very small compared to the number of people who will have a PS3 or Xbox 360 and will play games like DiRT, Grid, Grand Turismo, Need For Speed, Burnout, and some others. The only part that bothers me sometimes is that the PC version comes out 4-6 months later, which is annoying. I hope they come out with both console versions and PC versions pretty close to each other in the coming future.