DiRT 3 is a game that's all about rallying. Driving off-road, at high speeds, in wind, rain, snow, or shine, it's all about being able to stay in control of your car through the bends and dips, if you want to finish first.
On the middle to hard difficulties, DiRT 3 is realistic with a capital R, with each race being a battle between man and machine, as you struggle to keep your car going in a straight line. However, easily the game's strongest asset is just how adaptable it is. Before you start each race, you're given the option to enable a number of assists, and change the difficulty of the people you're racing against. The game never penalises you for doing so, but with auto-steer, auto breaking for corners, a full racing line for you to follow, and several other option you can enable, you can bring the game down from a hardcore-only experience to something even the newest drivers can enjoy - making it fully accessible for children. With its over the top rallying action, which sees cars crashing, flipping, and otherwise coming a cropper at least once a race, this is a game kids are bound to enjoy, so long as they have the assists turned on.
As a rallying game, there's little for parents to be concerned about in DiRT 3, with nothing in the way of bad language, sex or violence. Parents may want to keep in mind, however, that some of the game's background tunes contain references to date rape and drugs ("the people that crack killed"), although again, there's nothing too serious here.
While DiRT 3 does come with a split-screen multiplayer mode, what's here is disappointing. It's limited to only two people, you can't use weather effects (which means no racing in the rain for you), and you can't play in split-screen online, against people around the world. Still, it's nice that it's included - but it could have been better. The game also allows for online play across a number of competitive, and co-operative racing modes.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 3