Steam Sales Review #37: Dirt 3

When I was just a boy Need For Speed came out.  Holy crap what an awesome title this was.  I zoomed around the tracks, took names, and chewed bubble gum.  I’ve stayed pretty loyal to the Need for Speed franchise largely because other racing games are just not that friendly.  Maybe you have seen my F1 Formula 1 2012 video in which I try and drive a Formula 1 car… not that easy.

Regardless to say I’ve been playing around with Dirt 3, brought to us by Codemasters.  Good game?  Find out!

The Brief: Race Car Game

Not only is racecar a palindrome… but it’s also one of the biggest gaming franchises in history.  People flock to play these awesome racing games and are willing to doll out a tonne of money to get the new and best one.

For the most part race car games have not advanced.

If you go back to the very first arcade racing games and compare them to today’s racing games… they are roughly the same thing.

Mmm these slick graphics

This isn’t a bad thing.  This means in large part the people who made racing games got it right the first time.

For this reason however racing games have more or less become a niche market.  This niche market however is huge and attracts millions of gamers who are frantically waiting for the next race car title.

Over the years instead of working on gameplay, something almost every other genre was weak in, racecar games have tried to beat each other by putting in more race tracks, more race modes, more car selection, and RPG models.  The end result is Dirt 3 and the like.

Synopsis

Little did I know, or most people know, racecar driving as a sport isn’t just one type.  Well you have your stock car racing like NASCAR.  You have your formula 1 racing with 300 kilometer per hour speedsters.  You have your street races.  Then you have what Dirt offers, rally racing.

Dirt 3 takes a simple formula, advance through various tracks at various levels and move forward through a career.  Unlocking all cars can be done by completing the entire campaign on hardest difficulty.

Worth noting is multiplayer… because unlike most Steam sales I review… this one still has it.  It becomes important to unlock all cars first because for whatever reason this game still has a pretty solid multiplayer community.  The matchmaking using Games for Windows is surprisingly fast and has great connections.

There are three basic types of races in the game.

Mmmm first place…. on easy

The first is rally.  Rally is a race in which cars have scattered starts so if you’re doing really well, you might pass someone… if you’re not you’ll get passed. It is a race type designed so that people can move through the track independent of each other and truly the fastest most efficient driver wins.

Rallycross is a full on race in which passing cars is the goal.  You can smash cars off the road to bully them around and take the lead.  But be careful at high speeds or you might pay the ultimate price.

Head to head is a style in which two cars are on two separate tracks, a higher and lower one.  Often times one car will jump over the other for some awesome cinematographic effects.

Gymkhana is a rated race in which you have to do jumping tricks with your car.

There is also snowcross which can only be done with pickup trucks in which it gets really slippery and you can fall off the track.

As said, unlocking goodies from the campaign is important.  There are multiple circuits you will compete in and you will need so much “Reputation” in order to unlock each one and unlock cars.

Performing better (first place) in matches gets you higher amounts of reputation.

Matches can also have challenges.  These often revolve around hitting the top speed for the track.

Over time you will unlock new cars and find new teams to run for.  Before each run you can customize your car to your driving preference style.  My style revolves around drifting so I want those front tires locking first.

The graphics engine for the game is amazing.  Actually so amazing so that my game crashed on max settings a few times (FML)

Strengths

  • Challenge for Hardcores
  • Beautiful Game
  • Great Introduction

When I plugged in this game I initially selected Intermediate thinking, hey I’ve played a bunch of racing games I’ll be fine.  BOOM last place every time.  Holy crap is this game hard.  For the fans of racing games this will represent a challenge and keep you busy.  For casuals like me there is a casual difficulty to teach me how to drive (while constantly making fun of me for being at such a low setting).

The game is slick and clean looking.  Cars look like how cars should look and the proper reflections show off as you drive around the beautiful tracks.  The tracks themselves are varied and across the world.  You will be amazed by how beautiful this game is on max settings.

A look at the track that you will have to race in.

I was pretty amazed by the first fully voiced introduction to the game.  You are forced to go through it and hear how everything works.  This works at least ten times better than say…. screwing up and not really getting to see all of the features of the game.

Weaknesses

  • It’s a Racing Game
  • No Music/Bad Music
  • Micro Transactions

Let’s lay it all down, it’s a racing game. If you didn’t like racing games in the past, you probably don’t like them now.  The genre has never and probably will never change.  Game developers keep cranking out roughly the same old games every single time and people buy them because they enjoy them.  But hey that’s very similar to NFL games, NHL games, MLB games and FIFA games.  Sports in general have a hard time getting beyond the rules of those sports to have some kind of diversion.

When I was playing the game I was like… damn this game has really great awesome banging rock music.  Then I turned off my own music and came to the sudden realization that the game doesn’t have music.  Look, I spent some time driving for a living and I can tell you that nothing makes you do a better job than having some banging music motivating you.

Can’t get enough of that first place, ooo yeah

I understand why it’s done like this.  They want to have that racer voice telling you what to do as you are driving “MAKE A LEFT MAKE A RIGHT.”  It’s not entirely necessary.

And honestly, why the hell do all of these cars have two drivers?  Is this a rally car racing thing I’ve never heard about?

If you’re wondering why this game needed “Games for Windows” it has entirely to do with micro transactions.  Basically as you go through the game unlocking cars a lot of the time you will have to purchase them with money.  The same will happen for tracks.  So the game value bumps up quite a bit when you start to realize that the full game is over $100…

Concluding Thoughts

Dirt 3 is a great racing game.  If you’re a fan of the genre, you probably already own this game.  If you’re not, give it a try.  If you give it a try and don’t like it, NEVER buy ANOTHER racing game ever again.

If you’re pot committed to this one you are probably going to have to spend some extra cash to get everything.  This to me makes the game very unattractive to anything but a casual race car gamer.  It’s a great game… just probably too expensive for what you get.

I hate reviewers who looked at this game as a $40 purchase and gave it a 5 star rating… when in fact it’s closer to $100… yeez.  Uninstall!

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