DiRT 3 by Codemasters review

All-terrain rally driving and Gymkhana stunts
Photo of DiRT 3 by Codemasters

Formula 1 may be the racing sport that attracts the most glamour and TV coverage – but when it comes to the sheer joy of racing at speed whilst pitting man and machine against nature, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of rally driving.

DiRT 3 is the latest in the series that began as Colin McRae, and Codemasters have put every effort into upgrading the game for the Extreme Sport crowd. So the front man for DiRT 3 is Ken Block, who earned a reputation online for creating BMX-type stunts for rally cars – and a so-called ‘Gymkhana’ mode has been introduced in this version of the game so that you can create drifts, spins, jumps and doughnuts in locations as varied as sunny Monaco and the dour, industrial Battersea Power Station.

Massive range
Once you get past relatively long load times and hordes of adverts, there’s an array of skill levels and a range of gameplay styles that include Rally Cross, Land Rush and Trailblazer. This means there’s a game style to appeal to all car racing lovers. Sixty per cent of the racing remains pure rally, with the main Dirt Tour divided into four seasons. You’ll be driving on all types of terrain (gravel, tarmac, dirt and snow) while dealing with rain, sleet and night conditions.

Graphics are sharper than in DiRT 2, and you’ll especially appreciate Kenyan sunsets and Norwegian snowscapes as you hurtle round treacherous tracks. Multiplayer isn’t ignored either, as there are four new ‘Jam Session’ party modes that include a Zombie tag race where you have to ‘infect’ other competitors. Build your reputation by pleasing the fans, choose rally cars from the 1960s to the present, then upload your achievements effortlessly to YouTube (although your clips are unfortunately limited to 30 seconds).

Company: Codemasters

  • Mastering Gymkhana stunt tricks.
  • YouTube uploads are very limited in length.


Codemasters prove they're still the rally kings with the latest in the DiRT franchise, finally providing an American crossover with the intro of the Gymkhana mode, plus fun party modes, improved graphics and hazardous weather conditions.