Codemasters Dirt 3 review
It's been a long time since Codemasters made a pure-bred rally game, bad news for diehard fans of the motorsport, but no bad thing for fans of driving games in general. This latest outing in the Dirt series finally drops the long-running Colin McRae moniker. Such a change is long overdue - even putting to one side the driver's death in 2007 - with the game steadily moving away from the sport he excelled at.
If there's one name that's synonymous with Dirt 3, it should be Ken Block. He too is a rally driver by profession, but he's far better known for his YouTube stunt-driving antics and generally considered to be 'the man' for bringing urban sports appeal to motorsports. You may have seen him on Top Gear, if not check out the video below. The Block-inspired 'Gymkhana' events are Dirt 3's big new feature. Here you have a series of obstacles you are free to slide around, jump over and smash through, all for points.
Ken Block is the big name here, you may have seen him already on Top Gear
Block himself takes you through the basics, or rather he doesn't as his advice is more about the nature of the obstacles than actual practical notes about how fast you should be going or whether to use the brake pedal or the handbrake. Still you can pick it up pretty quickly, and as long as you think ahead a little you'll be pirouetting your car around obstacles in no time at all.
As well as the freestyle points events, there are also speed runs, with tricks that must be performed in a certain order, and some fun modes where you have to smash all the targets in a certain time. See some of our efforts below.
Here's part of our run through a Gymkhana sprint event
Driving games have undoubtedly suffered in popularity over the last few years, arguably because the driving in open-world games such as Grand Theft Auto has improved so much, and causing chaos in a car is great fun. Gymkhana helps bring some of that fun into a serious driving title, its undoutbtedly a welcome new variation for the driving genre, adding variation to the usual point-to-point and circuit racing, and going well beyond the now-standard drift challenges.