Author Topic: [Video Game] DiRT 3  (Read 1708 times)


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[Video Game] DiRT 3
« on: July 20, 2013, 03:43:33 PM »
I picked this up during the Steam Summer Sale, not really knowing what to expect from it. It was cheap and it's been a while since I've played a racing game, so... why the hell not.

First, the game is beautiful. Top notch graphics? I don't know, not necessarily, but I'm having a hard time coming up with any gripes concerning graphics. It runs at a silky smooth frame rate on my machine even at max settings. It runs so smooth, in fact, that at times it almost looks like a pre-rendered cut scene.

All of the animations are satisfying, including the way spectators scurry off the track and hurdle barriers when you come around a bend, or the way tires in the crash barriers pop up and roll away if you smash into one. Vehicle damage is satisfactory, but more impressive than that is the way the cars become covered with the various environmental effect such as snow, mud or sand.

Weather effects are also well done.

The tracks are well designed and pretty to look at. There's plenty of detail in the background that aids the illusion that you're really racing on a real track in a real city - such as fireworks bursting in the distance (which even reflects on your cars paint - awesome).

There are a variety of cars and you will pilot nearly all of them, which in my opinion is completely pointless. This is thanks to the idea that you're a "driver for hire" and the more popular become, the more teams want to put you behind the wheel of one of their cars.

Each car in each class performs nearly the same so really giving you the option to choose between an Evo or a Peugot something or other before a race just comes down to which car you think looks cooler.

You'll jump from piloting your run of the mill rally cars to tube-framed stadium trucks (which are my favorite to race in) to sprint cars designed for rough terrain to other various types of racing vehicle, and back again. You don't own your own vehicle but you have access to any vehicle you've unlocked for single race mode.

This is one game where i honestly would have preferred the traditional "buy a car for each class". Since the game's tutors are always kissing your ass and trying to make you feel like the fucking MAN all of the time, it would have just made more sense to tie that all into a grass-roots beginning style racing game, but whatever. There are two other entries in this series, so maybe they tried that already. I don't know.

Anyway, the sound effects are satisfactory - nothing to write home about, but I don't find any faults in them. If i had to pick nits, I'd say that the engine sounds sometimes reveal themselves to be electronically synthesized (which they are, in most games) which kind of bothers me. It's forgivable in a game like GTA IV as that game isn't really ABOUT the cars... but if you're going to make a racing game, engine sounds are one of the most important things.

There's a small variety of event types to help break up the monotony, and it works pretty well. Rally, Rally Cross, cross-over races (where you and your opponent start at opposite ends of the track and eventually meet up (if timed right) at a jump or overpass/underpass), trail blazer (rally style sprint races with very fast, nimble cars - my favorite event) and a few other variations mostly based on vehicle type.

Then there's two events that I personally can't stand.

Drifting and Gymkhana. I think both are fun to WATCH, but to participate in... it's frustrating. There's no good camera view for drifting in this game.  The chase cameras are both too close to the ass of the car and don't swivel soon enough or wide enough to really give you a sense of just how fast you're going when you approach a curve you're supposed to slide through. The first-person cameras don't help the situation either because even though you can look left and right, it's disorienting. It can all be fun when you pull it off, and maybe for some people these problems are non existent, but I just didn't have fun with either of these events and would avoid them unless I needed the points to unlock a new tour.

The car handling is also sketchy. The cars seem to pivot on a central axis, almost as if they're like slot cars and the front and rear of the car are turning around the CENTER of the car when you go around turns. This is very hard to get used to if you've ever driven a real car on loose surfaces. The oversteer feels wrong, and the understeer feels wrong. Trying to make a quick adjustment to squeeze through a narrow chicane just feels off - slight movement of the steering doesn't so much as turn the car gradually as it angles it nearly instantly. It's sort of hard to describe, but here's an image I found that someone made featuring another game made by the folks who brought us DiRT 3:

Central-pivot is when the object(cars in this case) basically has an invisible pole in the center and the car turns/moves from the pole. Instead of steering witht he front wheels steering its done at center making what you see on the screen(front/hood/whole car) different from what you feel.

Some people cant tell so its not a problem for them but for people like me its a pain in the ass because the cars behave so inconsistently that I have zero confindence whether or not I can take a high speed turn at full throttle and if I do go at full speed is my car going to spin out or is the line im taking, even though it looks correct, going to lead me intot he wall or gravel trap.

This is a problem throughout the entire game, but it's especially irk-some for me when the game requires you to drift/slide. It just feels terrible to me. Real cars do not handle like this.

One nice thing, though, is that the AI fucks up. A lot. And totally without your input.

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

It appears to be scripted in a lot of cases, though. Meaning, sometimes an AI vehicle will crash exactly the same way at the same part of the track every single time, if you have to restart the race - so long as nothing has interfered with their race thus far.

For example, I had to restart a race at Monaco a BUNCH of times because the first turn was such a cluster fuck that I couldn't get through without severely damaging my car. Three times in a row, the same car took the turn too sharp and hit the inside wall, coming to a complete stop and causing a pile up. I noticed it the first time because I was right behind him, and when he hit the wall and spun out, I rammed into him. The second time I barely missed him, the third time I was on the outside of the track and watched it from a distance. I restarted the race maybe 7 times and it happened 3 out of the 7 times.

Still not convinced?

Right around the 19 second mark, the car in front of the camera car blows a tire just off and jump and rolls.
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Different race, different player, almost identical crash at the exact same location on the track:
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Different race, different player, different cars, same track, same jump, same crash:
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

I just have to wonder why. I've seen enough NON scripted crashes throughout the game that it feels like there's no reason to force an AI to wipe out. Sure, it makes things interesting and I'm honestly not complaining (you'll probably won't see repeats of the same crash unless you restart a race several times), it's just weird.

Another cool feature is the "flashback". Basically, if you fuck up, you can "rewind" the race and try again from any point. You only get a few chances to do this, but honestly it's a pretty nice feature considering you can catch a bad break thanks to a car part laying on the track and go hurtling off a cliff at any point.

Overall, fun game. Not even remotely a simulation and the central-pivot physics piss me off, but it's a lot of fun to play and gorgeous to look at.



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Re: [Video Game] DiRT 3
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 12:31:57 AM »
I do like it's UP stages, the mill they run the stadium tracks through is a 5 minutes walk from my house.
Added bonus trailblazer cars are slutty as fuck.

I end to pick it up every coupe of months and get a few hours of enjoyment out of it.

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Re: [Video Game] DiRT 3
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 01:38:59 PM »
Is it as boring as DiRT 2 where you end up playing the same race over and over and over on the same track just reversed? I lost interest in the whole series once they dropped the Colin McRae name. Obviously due to his death, they lost some serious insight into how the game should feel, and play.

Was it worth buying?


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Re: [Video Game] DiRT 3
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 02:50:08 PM »
Well from the TL;DR review....I'd say yes?
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Re: [Video Game] DiRT 3
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 06:55:54 PM »
The tracks do get reversed but a combination of different racing styles and weather keeps it fresh between events.