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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good... REAL good *UPDATE*
I've been pumped about this game for a while. I loved the first DiRT, liked the second DiRT, and the third, so far, is everything that I expected it to be. The menu layout and overall feel of the game is a lot better than DiRT 2 in my opinion. DiRT 2 focused too much on the "cool" factor and rallicross, rather than actual rally racing. While I like it, it's not what I...
Published on May 24, 2011 by ReToM7

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete without DLC
Like so many other next-gen console games, Dirt 3 definitely penalizes people who buy used. Many cars will be locked, as well as multiplayer, which can only be fixed by paying for the 'VIP' DLC pack. The game will constantly bug you to buy this as well. Additionally, many of the opponent cars in the game are separate DLC if you want to drive them yourself- this game...
Published on April 30, 2012 by CR_DC

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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good... REAL good *UPDATE*, May 24, 2011
ReToM7 "Patrick" (Hyde Park, NY USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I've been pumped about this game for a while. I loved the first DiRT, liked the second DiRT, and the third, so far, is everything that I expected it to be. The menu layout and overall feel of the game is a lot better than DiRT 2 in my opinion. DiRT 2 focused too much on the "cool" factor and rallicross, rather than actual rally racing. While I like it, it's not what I wanted in a game. The cars in this game do not disappoint, from classics to new. While rally racing in general has felt a little boring to me lately (WRC has lacked in the variation of cars, IMO), the level of detail afforded to this project is amazing.

The damage model, weather, environment, and car details are by far superior to the past two games. If you enjoy racing games, you will love this. If you enjoy rally racing, you will love this. If you enjoy mudding and making cars dirty, you will love this. If you have a 2-year old child who likes to eat Cheerios, you will love this. Essentially, anyone who enjoys controlling a vehicle in any capacity cannot help but love this game.

Side note: I am still at the early stages of playing this game, so bugs and issues may come up. I will report and alter review if anything dictates a change. For now, the options seem to make this game work well for any gamer level. I look forward to finishing the career mode.

This is how a racing game should be made. Instead of pretty cut scene videos being passed as the gaming experience, DiRT has always relied on making a game that works well to sell more copies. This is NO Shift 2, Hot Pursuit 2, or any other huge let down of a racing game.

*UPDATE* 5/31/2011 - After playing the game for a while, I'm still really enjoying it. I am going to bring the star rating down to a 4-star on account of Dirt 3 falling into the whole "drift" phase of racing games. This annoys me because while I enjoy drifting and having fun, they make it crazy difficult for people to achieve the medals. I can hit gold after MANY attempts, but platinum... just insane. Anyway, drifting is judged, it's not racing. They should just make a drifting game so I can stay away from it. It doesn't take away too much from the game except that I now know there are achievements I will NOT be able to get. Also, the rally racing is a little disappointing. While I like the way the cars handle and the overall feel of the game, the rally races are all like 1-2 miles long, which isn't much fun. I miss the good old days of the huge hill clibs and multi-mile rally races. It seems like in this day and age, DiRT 3 is no exception to this shortage of content to come out with games, leaving too much room for a full priced release to have DLC in the future. 4-stars now for making a great game that is still lacking.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its back. And it's not playing around., May 29, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Dirt is back and this time, its back with a vengeance. Dirt 2 showed up a couple years back to dazzle us with the mainstream, flashy bigtime rally feel, leaving Dirt1's essential based, hardcore hill climbs behind. Dirt 3 tries to take it up a notch by taking what worked in both games and intermingling them. Does it work? Lets find out.

First of all this review is highly in depth, if you want to know the jist of things, i'll have a small section at the end for you guys, (use "find" Ctrl + F in your browser and type in: "Wrap up" without quotes to get a summary.) Now with that out of the way, we can review this bad boy.

Dirt 3 relies on extreme simplicity, and in a way this is great, the simplicity applies to its racing, and its approach to menus. With that said, Dirt 3 also does some amazing things despite this, because despite its simplistic features and driving arcadey style, it grows on you very quickly. Before I get ahead of myself, lets just stick with the menus for a bit.

Gone is the trailer, while I liked the trailer, it was slow, dirt 3 prides itself on navigating menus quickly, there's career, options, my dirt etc. all at the main menu, move up and down and you're all set to go. Before you get to the menu, be sure to put in your online activation code to unlock youtube, 5 cars and more bonus stuff like playing online, after that, you put in your name, your spoken name, (code masters is still one of the only companies that allows you to select an actual spoken version of your name or nickname) and your youtube credentials. This will allow you to directly apply things from races to youtube. Cause a 8 car massacre or just kick some royal butt and you can upload it straight to the internet. Yay, now all your friends can see how awesome you are, or how much you suck. Now, the menu is a lot like dirt 1, its a spacious nothingness with floating text, that gives way to floating triangles (pyramids) When you select these, they open up into four events, the three satellite triangles from left to right to top, unlock (in that order) based on points earned in events, selecting a triangle, opens up its list of events shown in right facing rhombuses, that describe the events, select the event, select your car, and you're good to go. This entire process is streamlined and will take if you're rushing a good 10-20 seconds. (main menu to race load) When you've beaten all of the races in a triangle, it will turn gold, and its on to the next triangle. When you've earned enough points, the middle triangle will open, this is the finale of the Pyramid, race it to finish off the Pyramid to turn the whole thing gold. From here on out other Pyramids may appear as you progress, but this menu is easy to get, easy to navigate, fast and easy to use. The one minor gripe I Have is livery selection. When you want to change the look of your vehicles, you have to do it in My DiRT > Garage > select class > Car to change > highlight livery to use > View car. It's a bit irritating but its not horribly detracting. The menu before the race is straightforward as well, speaks for itself and pretty much doesn't need much of anything, its good, it works. Moving on.

Loads in this game are infrequent really, the menu doesn't have any lag and the load to a race uninstalled takes about 20 seconds. The visuals for the load are nice, showing the car you'll be using, but aside from that, its a bit bland, only showing the same foreign beige space the menu resides in. The loads aren't excessively cumbersome, and are completely nonexistent on chosen menu reload during race (choose restart race). Its instant back to the starting grid. However this does not happen if you complete a race and then choose restart, as it will return you to the staging area where you can set up your car. This offers a bit of load, but nowhere near the time it took to initially load the race.

On this 360 console, Dirt 3 as a whole is a wonderfully put together game, the scenery looks very real, the dust, damage, snow, cars, and lighting are all very highly detailed, with minor jaggies throughout. Mostly the shadows in particular. The colors are rich, the bloom is relatively low, (take a look back to dirt one to compare) and the game plays wonderfully. I have had a few hiccups, but I have not had any serious frame rate slowing. Dust, crashes, bits flying off, and several cars on screen does not seem to bother the xbox's graphics or processing units enough to lag the picture. Great job, its immersive and looks excellent.

Handbrake has been switched back to B. If you're wondering why the Handbrake doesn't work, that's why. Odd choice going back to dirt 1 control scheme, but I guess its not too bad. Most companies use A for handbrake but its not a problem. Change views with RB, go with RT Stop with LT. Turn with Joy L. Simple controls, easy to use. Joy R can be used to pivot the camera in any direction (useful in cockpit) and Y can be used to look back.

Sounds in this game are great, the car's interaction with the road on every surface is wonderfully portrayed and mixed, the engine notes are top notch and both co-drivers are great on either setting The soundtrack has been scaled back top be less "In-your-face" than Dirt 2 as well, sporting a large number of songs and musical genres, but only playing them basically when replays are being shown. This in my opinion settles things down in the menu and keeps things feeling more serious than an arcade romp through the woods. The mood here is one of focus and coming into a race, and the music and tone is good at conveying that. However, the game feels less fast paced and fun this way, but its a trade off. The main problem here is the voice talent. You talk to a guy, your team manager, and your mechanic. I like the mechanic, he's pretty down to earth, gets ticked if you ding your car up a lot, but conversely is very happy when you don't. The manager is okay, she has that "I'm acting feel" to her voice but its fine. Its the last guy I have issues with. The guy is hyper happy, always positive and says amigo and a few other chosen names in the Spanish language. None of it sounds realistic, none of it really makes sense, it seems very 90's or earlier, and its feels out of place in a game like this. I want to punch myself when he talks. But its a small gripe at best, aside from that single blemish, this game's sound is truly spectacular.

Finally! okay sorry for making you wait, here we go. Dirt 3's driving is great, its not a Sim like GT of Forza, but its not really Need for Speed arcade either, if anything its kind of like Need for Speed Shift, if you could take shift 2's driving style and make it work right. Dirt 3 has a very easy to pick up style of play, and on low difficulty settings is very easy to drive and play with. However, on advanced, this game's totally different, the car is harder to handle with no assists, can be wrecked (this must be turned on in difficulty) every corner turns into a battle, its you and machine vs. the course, and in rally, that's all that it should be. Cars are in general pretty tight and get a little more loose around what I like to call their sweet spots. When a car hits its sweet spot, it will require very little coaxing to turn it or keep it straight, Faster or slower than this area and the car will become either much more loose or tight than you are used to it being, and thus may cause you to crash, but don't fret, if you do there is always this:
Flashback returns: Just like in Dirt 2, you can rewind the race to "flashback" to before you made a mistake. If you do this, you're docked a bit of EXP for using a flashback and get to start from there. Penalty and reward, right there in a nutshell for you. Obviously as you progress in your career, you get to use faster and faster cars, and get better and better deals. Dirt 3 drives like a champ, the controls allow for a wonderful almost sim like experiance on the hardest difficulty like dirt one provided, while still allowing a lot of easiness if you need it like Dirt 2 did. The driving is best when assists are off, but it will get frustrating at times, so don't be ashamed to turn down the AI if you need to. Turning in and out works like it should, drifting works better than it should but hey its fun, and cars take a lot more mechanical damage in dirt 3 than they do in 2, meaning that bump might have been well, bad. Dirt 1's damage model makes a stronger return, becoming considerably more unforgiving with damage but still not quite as hard to oversome as Dirt 1, 3, does allow for extensive damage to engine components, Suspension as well. Tires can be popped, making you ride on rim, and cars can still be drivable, but, "well, you're not winning with them" damaged.n Every aspect of the driving in Dirt 1 and 2 has been mixed and refined, to the point its pretty much perfect for the type of game it is.

From what I can see, Dirt 3 will last a week or more playing intermittently, but I'm sure I haven't played enough to unlock all of the events, and has a lot of features that will keep you playing, But as it stands, Dirt 3 should last a while and should be worth the current price.

Dirt3 doesn't move too quickly, but its doesn't move at a snail pace either. The events are kind of short in the beginning but they do get a bit longer as you go, as with any racing game. To further point out things, Dirt 3 has added a "fun mode" which is basically the X games with vehicles, Gymkhana. Donuts, drifting, smashing stuff, burnouts, jumps, you name it. It breaks the monotony of Dirt 3 if it wears on you, otherwise, its just fun crap to do. Dirt 3 doesn't wear itself out, and that's an impressive feat. Keeping you playing for that length of time at the same level of happiness is always a good thing.

As a whole, multiplayer by codemasters pretty much stays the same, its dedicated server, its fast, fun and awesome, and as always its completely community driven. Some minor changes were made however, Jam session isn't race by race anymore,and runs for several before coming back, but playing ranked is about the same. Multiplayer runs well for the ones I played, no lag problems. One thing I miss is voting. One great addition, Couch battles. Yeah SPLIT SCREEN. As everyone axes it, go head to head with your buddy while everybody else on every other game has to go online to do it.

This is where things might get sketchy for you, you don't buy cars in this game, they unlock by livery, basically meaning that you can't use certain vehicles until you have unlocked their first livery, every time you gain EXP, you gain more towards your next driver level, when you level up, you gain more opportunities with more companies, the better companies you unlock, the better and harder missions in race to beat for EXP become. Basically as you level up you earn more vehicles and liveries. In past dirt games you bought them. In many ways this is intuitive, but in many ways this is a poor choice. You can't specifically target certain vehicles, if you like the Fiat Punto Grande Super 2000 and plan on using it online all of the time, you can't buy your favorite livery for it to use. You have to reach a certain level for it to unlock, AND you don't know what any liveries look like in the future either. In addition the game doesn't like you to play favorites. When you play a a freshly unlocked car or livery, that livery or car's team will give you more exp to do a challenge than a previously obtained one at a lower level. Netting 200 EXP for doing 91 MPH on a track vs 400 or more for the same thing. Sure your ride looks cooler riding faves, but you level less quickly. In my opinion, this was a very poor choice, though it makes sense, it just makes the game feel less personalized, like you have to play it their way. But what balances this out, is multiplayer, playing in multiplayer earns EXP towards one driver level, yep the career and online driver levels are integrated, and therefore using your faves is okay because in a few short races, you've earned back all you missed in career mode by using your favorite Castrol sponsored Celica versus the kicker one. Makes you happy.

DIRT 3 is a good length, great paced game with quite a few unlocks, it also boasts great sound, and great driving gameplay, while looking wonderful with virtually no graphical issues to speak of. It does have some annoying voice acting and a minor-ly problematic unlock scheme, but all in all its fast fun for single player, online multiplayer or even multiplayer in the living room. Dirt 3 has it all, and takes the best from Dirt 1 and 2 and intermingles it for one awesome rally experience that everyone can take a piece from and enjoy, whether they're first time racers, sim racers, arcade racers or just chewing on the controller enjoying the vibration function, Dirt 3 has something everyone can enjoy. Five stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised!, May 30, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
First, a little background on myself; racing games are all I play. I have been playing racing games since I was a kid, everything from the original Driver and Grand Turismo titles to my previous all time favorites, Richard Burns Rally(PC) and Forza 3(Xbox360). I play with a MadCatz wireless wheel because I'm not about to dish out $300+... In real life I am involved in the local rally community and am currently building a road course STi, so I know a little bit about how cars should behave on gravel and tarmac surfaces.

I have to admit that I never bought the previous two Dirt titles based solely on customer reviews. I haven't been able to play an arcade racer since I was 14, the physics and goofy gameplay turn me off where the expert physics of Forza 3 can keep my tuning and racing for hours on end. While Dirt 3 may still have its arcade-style (keep in mind, I don't even like European-style rally-x in real life) races to please the younger crowd, the stage rallies ooze realism and clearly have a lot of effort put into the physics engine. I'm hooked!

- Near RBR-quality stage rally simulation for the Xbox360!!
- Awesome car selection; race everything from the same cars you seen on WRC stages to classic stage rally car legends, even the trophy/stadium trucks are a hoot!
- Track selection; I'm not that far along in the game, but I've already been blown away by the rally stages...lots of effort to detail here! Nice cambered corners, ditches to hook, power poles in trouble spots, realistic crests, etc.
- Huge event range; stage rally, European-style rally-x, drifting, gymkhana, trophy truck racing, etc. I haven't even tried playing online yet...
- Graphics; looks and runs great on my 50" TV.
- Menu soundtrack; love it or hate it, but if you're a dubstep/modern techno fan you'll enjoy the menu music.
- Car tuneabilty; gear ratios, shock damping, ride height, differentials, and brake bias are adjustable and actually make a huge difference on-stage.

- Some arcade-style gameplay during circuit races, many early rally-x races are won by avoiding the monstrous pile-up caused by all the AI racers ramming each other into the corner. Tapping other cars doesn't seem to have much of an effect on them, but when they tap you it is fairly hard to maintain control.
- Graphics; this is a SLIGHT complaint! If you catch the guy in front of you on stage, the dust he kicks up is pretty splotchy and makes it hard to see (in real life the dust gets crazy, so it's not like you'd be able to see any better...). The helmet cam is a good idea, but for some reason feels "off" compared to the hood view, it's just a little too distracting. Maybe if I "remove" the avatar hanging from the rear view and give it another try I will like it more.
- Most cars are fairly hard to drive out of the box, which might make for a few low ratings. Hint: turn down your steering sensitivity, run the differentials fairly loose, and move the brake bias forward. Gravel and snow are hard to drive on in real life, do everything smaller and further in advance than on tarmac, use the brakes and the car's weight to turn the car.
- I wish the cars were more tunable... They were right to have the car setup locked (all cars are already built to perfection), but I would have liked to see a tuning system closer to Forza where I could alter my alignment geometry and tire pressure...
- Why the heck didn't RallyAmerica hop on this?!? I would have loved to see more American rally stages in this game!

I just hope they release more games like this so that America can catch rally fever instead of the JDM-Y0 drift insanity that has been going around lately...
5/5, if you like racing games, buy this now! I had to go to 3 different Best Buy locations to find this one on the shelf during Memorial Day weekend.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Codemasters has found my sweet spot - UPDATED 6-1-11, May 31, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
First, some perspective so you can judge if my review is relevant to your gaming interests. I have a Fanatec GT2 wheel with ClupSport pedals which I use on both my PS3 and Xbox 360. I cannot drive a car using a joystick, never could and never wanted to. I'm looking for immersion and, with the right game and sitting in front of my 65" TV with surround sound, I can experience it. The most important thing to me is that I feel the cars respond accurately to my wheel input. Of the games I've played: Dirt - controlled terribly with my previous wheel (Logitech DFGT); Dirt 2 - once I adjusted to the feel of off-road racing, felt great with both the DFGT and GT2; Need for Speed Shift and Shift Unleashed - these games are seriously flawed as I could never get them dialed in with either wheel, even after updates; F1 2010 - controlled beautifully with DFGT (alas, I found F1 racing not to my tastes but the game was great technically - by my standards); Gran Turismo 5 - handled spot on with DFGT and just the slightest issues with GT2; Forza 3 - hands down, the best driving experience I've ever had. When in cockpit view, the hands on the wheel of the car move in unison with my hands and the cars respond as I would expect them to. When I reached 100% completion I had over 124 hours of driving time in the game (never hired a driver).

I have never raced a car in my life and the only off-roading I've done was in my Jeep CJ5 and Wrangler, which were low-speed experiences. I don't get hung up on whether the game is a true simulation as I have no clue what racing, on track or off-road, really feels like. If the game feels like what I think it would feel to drive a 2008 Nissan #23 XANAVI NISMO GT-R (probably my favorite fast car in Forza 3 - it just tracks so beautifully) or a 1993 Mitsubishi Pajero Dakar (a fun vehicle from Dirt 2 - competitive in spite of its age and size), then it works for me, pure and simple.

Technical - I drive with no assists in Dirt 3, as in Dirt 2. I'm not a great driver and I do use the lowest AI difficulty settings but I want to feel the track as it was designed and judge the speed of the curves without a suggested drive/braking line. I use the automatic transmission simply because, as immersive as the experience may be, I've never developed a feel for shifting a virtual car like I have for a real car. I also do not use flashbacks. If I spin out that's part of the experience so I get myself back on the road and keep going. I use the hood view as it provides me the best view of the road (in Forza 3 I alternate between hood view and cockpit view depending on the car I'm driving).

Review for Xbox 360 - if you have a Fanatec wheel you will find countless game and wheel settings online to try. I truly believe that the optimum settings vary with each driver so I won't list mine, unless there's some demand for them. What's important is that, with some trial and error, I have found settings that work for me. As my son said of Dirt 2, what you're striving for is controlled chaos and I'm just about there now. I work harder in race at controlling cars in Dirt 3 than Forza 3 but then I'm racing off-road rather than circuit race tracks. The best comparison is when I'm on tarmac in Dirt 3. The cars float just a smidgeon more than I'd like but I don't know if that's a controller-tuning issue or what's to be expected when you take an off-road vehicle and put it on pavement at high speed (my Jeeps would never win any awards for road handling). So, with one and a half hours of actual driving time invested so far, I find the cars sufficiently controllable to satisfy my standards, although I'm still playing with the game's wheel weight setting; my upper back was aching last night from the tension of steering the cars over multiple runs.

Does it meet my expectation of what driving a car fast off-road would feel like? A resounding yes! Again, it may not be a true simulation but that doesn't matter to me. When I race I feel the adrenaline pump and there's a smile on my face. I usually know when I've had a good run and when I've been a bit too sloppy. It's as real as I need it to be and, most importantly, it's F-U-N.

I rarely watch replays in Forza 3 but in Dirt 3, as in Dirt 2, I frequently do. The graphics are equal to the best I've seen (I don't game on a PC so I can't compare to that platform) and the action lends itself to viewing multiple times. In the middle of a rally run you may not realize how much air you caught coming over that hill but in replay you can just enjoy the view. I've impressed myself on more than one occasion. :-) The only thing missing is the ability to save a full run for playback but if it's important to me I just capture a replay with my digital camera. Not perfect but it works.

I had read online reviews about the menu interface and brought an open mind to the game. I can now say, although I don't know exactly why, that I like it. In the abstract, the idea of triangles floating on screen sounds a bit bizarre but it works for me. I won't say it's terribly intuitive but I like the aesthetics of it. I do miss the table in my RV from Dirt 2 that laid out the world but change is good, right? As for the music, I generally turn off music in all my games but, go figure, I like it in Dirt 3. Until I don't I'll keep it playing.

As for load times, which some online reviews have complained about, have they ever played Forza 3? I can take a bathroom break while a Forza race is loading and I never had an issue with it. Dirt 3 races load faster than Forza 3 races.

I love that they've eliminated money and purchasing of cars. Perhaps I got burned out with GT5 and its 1,000+ cars but I really like that I don't have to think about that. Just let me get in a car and drive. As for liveries, it's all good. I generally don't play around with those. I dabbled in detailing in Forza 3 but aside from changing the body color now and then it was nothing I had much interest in.

Some online reviews say that there is always an optimum car to select for each race which means there are cars you'll never drive. That's not how I approach the game. This is my hobby. I'm in no hurry to rush through the game or shorten the experience in any way. When I'm presented with four cars for an event (each with different bonus objectives, btw) I start from the left and race each car until I place 1st with each one. Not only does that allow me to experience each vehicle but it allows me to learn each course a bit better with each run. And I continue to level up in the process. Unlike Dirt 2, it doesn't appear that a race's XP decreases with multiple runs, though I may be wrong about that.

I have not gotten to gymkhana events yet. On the surface, it does not appeal to me (I've never been much for drifting in Forza 3 or GT5) but I'm open to it and will give it a try. Good or bad, I don't anticipate my reaction to it impacting my review. Rally racing is what I enjoy most and Codemasters has nailed that for me.

As stated earlier, Forza 3 has provided me the best overall driving experience and I look forward to Forza 4 (if head tracking pans out I will probably get a Kinect just for that) but for unadulterated fun I have to go with the Dirt series, of which Dirt 3 is the best so far. Everyone's tastes are different so it can be risky to recommend a game to countless unknown readers. I can only hope that my review helps you judge for yourself whether Dirt 3 is worth the purchase price. For me it definitely was.

Happy racing!

Update: I'm not sure if load times are less than Forza but Codemasters breaks them up by offering different views of cars and landscapes rather than have you staring at a static screen with a progress icon spinning. That makes the wait seem less even if it isn't.

A reviewer laments the shortness of the races but I actually consider that a plus. In Forza, once you hit the 6-race events, races average 12 to 14 minutes each so you're looking at well over an hour to complete an event. In my busy, hectic life, I like being able to complete a race event in 4 or 5 minutes. But, if Dirt 3 proves similar to Dirt 2, later seasons will have more races in each event so the time commitment will increase.

Raced on snow for the first time. I was pleased that it felt much more realistic than GT5's snow racing, which is terrible. I live in the snow belt and drive a Subaru on snow-covered roads. It really isn't that bad if you have the right setup. Heck, we plow lakes and race around in circles on the ice.

Although I miss the in-race banter of Dirt 2 (driving can get lonely at times) I do like the fact that when I hit a car in a Rally Cross event, I don't have to listen to an angry driver telling me I'm going to pay for that.

Dropped my wheel weight from 50 to 30 and it made a big difference. I'm very happy with the controls right now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the answer is yes, you do want to buy it, June 8, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Dirt 3 is the perfect balance between realism and fun. Sometimes I'm whispering "I'm amazing" to myself as I slide around a tight corner, considering buying a rally car because I swear I'm gifted. As long as I don't look at the time trial leader board, I can keep thinking that.

The rallying itself is a bit of a less-is-more ordeal. It's true there are a lot more stages, but you do repeat a lot of portions in different ways. However, the varied weather, time of day, and car handling make up for it. The sheer terror of Group B at night is wholly different from the calm Sunday afternoon drive of a 60s Mini.

The other events are nicely mixed in with the standout being gymkhana. I was not looking forward to 'Tony Hawk's Rally' but it's not like that. Gymkhana events are quite enjoyably varied but the best is the DC Battersea compound, which is basically a playground in which to completely destroy your car. Yes, it's awfully childish, and that's exactly what makes it so entertaining. You'll spend 20 minutes in there and have no idea where the time went. (I'll tell you: you spent it jumping, rolling, flipping, spinning, crashing, drifting, and flying into the river.)

I could go on about what it does better than the previous Dirt or Colin McRae games, or express a lament or two about what I miss from older games, but I won't. Rally is great. Gymkhana is great. Everything else is good enough. I don't regret my purchase and I probably won't stop playing it until Dirt 4 comes along.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete without DLC, April 30, 2012
CR_DC (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Like so many other next-gen console games, Dirt 3 definitely penalizes people who buy used. Many cars will be locked, as well as multiplayer, which can only be fixed by paying for the 'VIP' DLC pack. The game will constantly bug you to buy this as well. Additionally, many of the opponent cars in the game are separate DLC if you want to drive them yourself- this game really feels like they're giving you an incomplete product that you can buy extra DLC to fix. I get that companies want to sell DLC, but this is ridiculous. Adding new content after a game is released is one thing, but making a game and then locking off 1/4 of it as extra DLC is too much.

As for the game itself, the gameplay is pretty good- the drifting stages are a bit out of the spirit of rallying, and the rally stages themselves are really short (and customization is almost non-existant, aside from a few basic settings). I'd be hard-pressed to call this a real rallying game.

Many other people seem to like the menus, but I found the whole 'extreme sports' feel to be pretty hamfisted. I really hated the inane narrator commentary (which is never-ending and impossible to turn off)- the clean style and lack of a crammed-in story in a Forza type game appeals much more to me.

I usually like rally games, but this one has some flaws that probably won't bother many types of users, but will be grating for others. Good mechanics and graphics are nice, but the constant jamming in your face of all the DLC content you're missing (not including the used-buy penalty), the juvenile feel and commentary, and the lack of any length or depth to the actual rally stages is a deal breaker for me. This game is to rally racing what jackass is to documentary film-making.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The series just gets better and better, December 1, 2011
cured (Southern California) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Codemasters have done a great job with the series. The gymkhana stuff took a little getting used to but, as I've gotten better, playing gymkhana levels feels much more like a bonus level to just goof off and have fun than it is stressful for having to worry about getting everything right.

For those unfamiliar with the series, there are a number of different types of races to engage in and progression through the game counts on you being good enough across several different race types (if not all of them), to succeed and move your way up to the harder competitions.

Races include rallycross, where you start a race against other cars on the starting line at the same time, first racer wins. Simple enough.

Then there are rally races, where you start about 10 seconds before or after another driver and the goal is to just master the course without regard to where the other drivers are. Best time wins. It's kinda neat catching up to a driver in front of you because you know your time is good at that point.

Landrush is like rallycross but for dune buggies or sport trucks. Lots more jumps involved and more grinding and bumping of cars is what you'll find here.

The trailblazer race is like rally, in that you're racing against yourself and the clock, but in this case you're given an extremely fast car tailored for going at insane speeds through a mostly straight track (the turns are murder sometimes, though).

And then there is the gymkhana portion, where you're given a series of obstacles and you can perform stunts around them (drift around poles, drift through long corners, drift underneath semi trucks, spin in a circle in a confined are, break through barriers, things of that nature.

Everything works well in this game. The only drawback are the loading times between menus but that's a rather small complaint. The soundtrack is great, the graphics are superb, the path to advancement is very easy to grasp and very well laid out and the races are FUN! With the ability to quickly rewind from a bonehead maneuver you may have made, as apart to restarting the whole race, it's easier to keep yourself in the action. An added bonus is sometimes when you rewind, the drivers will screw up in front of you...they don't always drive the same way!

The Forza Motorsport series remains the best franchise for racing simulators geared for realism but a game like this seems to marry the best aspects of the sim world with the fun of an arcade racer. There are nuances to learn to be a more effective driver but the game can be very forgiving and crashes won't wipe you out of race contention all the time. It makes for a fun experience for good and bad players alike.

Highly recommended, especially if you liked any of Codemasters' other racing games.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than 2, Almost as good as 1, July 17, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Basically, they made the game more mature than the last one. Not as much "EXTREME" graphics stuff. There's voiceovers from your team members at the end of each race, and that only gets annoying when one guy keeps telling you to upload clips to youtube. Menus are a little strange to navigate at first, but not terrible.

But you probably just care about the racing, and you can definitely ignore the other stuff enough to enjoy the racing. They finally put Group B cars back in, a big plus in my book. And in general, the rally cars are actual rally cars (No Pontiac Solstice here). I didn't feel too much of a difference in driving mechanics compared to 2, but make sure you turn off the assists in the difficulty menu. There's also a much better ratio of Rally events to stuff that's not. Still a few truck and buggy races here and there, but you could beat all the seasons without doing any if you wanted to.

And they finally have real DLC in this game too, both cars and tracks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dirt Noob, June 9, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I've never played either of the first two titles in the series and I bought Dirt 3 because I saw a commercial and it looked cool. So, from the standpoint of someone who has nothing to base the review on other than what's in front of me, I'll say this: Awesome!

I grew up with Need For Speed and I've tried Forza (which I suck at), so it's nice to get a game that I can get better at without hours and hours of frustration. The ability to easily change difficulty before a race is nice. The Gymkhana stuff is a little hard to get used to at first and I'm still having trouble doing spins correctly, but overall, the ability to just chuck my car around Battersea is pretty cool when I want a break from racing. The race goals that come with each car selection are also a nice touch since they provide something to work toward other than finishing first, or at least not last. Longer tracks would have been nice, too since I feel like each race is over really fast.

The snow tracks aren't really as cool as they make it out to be, but it is fun to have the different surfaces since the cars do behave a little differently. I would have liked at least a little customization. The selection of cars from years of racing (plus the download stuff which is pretty sweet) makes each race a little different, even if you feel like you repeat tracks a lot. Different cars are better for different races and goals and the old cars certainly give the game a slightly historic feel.

I haven't found any real quirks in the game, just that medals are hard to get if you're not very good at the Gymkhana stuff. That takes some getting used to. Load times are pretty quick, the graphics in general are great, and the controls are basically what you're used to if you've played any racing games. Overall a pretty solid game in my opinion and one that I'll probably be playing years down the road for the fun factor alone.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Racing in the Market as if now!!, May 29, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I played this game and I was quite impressed at how the cars behaved to inputs at different speeds, and road conditions. You don't need an expensive wheel to play this game properly. Don't get any of the new NFS series. I was also blown away by the graphics of this game. It has a solid multiplayer system in which you can either join other people's custom games or make your own with numerous modes that it has to offer.
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Dirt 3 - Xbox 360
Dirt 3 - Xbox 360 by THQ (Xbox 360)
$59.99 $44.99
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