DiRT 3: The perfect balance of arcade and sim racing?
7th Jan 2011 | 19:30
Codemasters want you back in their life.
They know they went a bit weird with DIRT2; talking with that ridiculous Mountain Dew-swigging American accent, living in a 'trendy' trailer, and sending you off to extreme (dull) truck events in Serbia.
They're over that.
They know you just want to race awesome rally cars across real rally circuits. They know you love snow as well as dirt and sand. But they also appreciate that sometimes you secretly fantasise about messing around in a maxed-out Ford Focus like that chap Ken Block.
You know. Really white teeth, does Gymkhana. YouTube him, you know what we mean.
Codemasters have made DIRT3 for you. This third outing is 60% pure rally, with stages taking place across traditional rallying countries like Finland, Norway and Kenya.
They've brought back snow. Real, proper snow that deforms and influences your handling as you drive through it. They've even reintroduced the co-driver who can either be a stern chap or a stern lady.
Hill Climbs in insanely powerful cars? In. Group B rally cars? In. It's all the stuff we really wanted, none of the tat.
Hands-on, it feels better too. Cars are heavier, tougher to wrangle (although we were sat inside the notoriously powerful Audi Quattro S1), just as they should be in real life. It feels spot on, both realistic and fun.
However, the DIRT series still has its cheeky grin, courtesy of the Ken Block (him again) endorsed Gymkhana sections.
This mode is all about something called 'hooning'. You're in a custom-tuned Ford Focus, inside an arena (Battersea Powerstation) filled with obstacles to play with.
Smash through foam barriers, do doughnuts around diggers, leap off massive ramps - just have fun. There's no time limit, and no 'dude' called Chad Brohammer screaming at you about "Wouldn't it be sweet it you caught some awesome air now, guy" - it's you messing about and completing challenges at your own pace.
Once you're done, upload your replay to YouTube and brag. Easy. Welcome back DIRT, all is forgiven.