Dirt 3 multiplayer preview

If there’s anything that just about everyone loves, it’s a good party. So why not take that good time and put it into our racing games? Dirt 3 is ready to deliver the party to the rally racing crowd with a slew of arcade-style multiplayer modes. There aren’t any time trials or serious races anywhere in sight, just all around great times jammed into the world of rally racing goodness. I got to play three new modes that are making their debut in the third entry to the Dirt series, and they’re certainly not your normal racing game fare.

Ever wanted to take down an alien invasion without ever having to leave your Audi Quattro? Well, Invasion’s got your back. As players race around an open area (in our case, we played in a construction zone in Washington DC), cutouts of aliens and buildings appear. If you ram into the aliens, you get a point. Hit a building, and you lose one. The player with the most points wins. Fairly simple, right? Well, it gets a little more complex when players start ramming each other into buildings and stealing robots from them at the last second and generally being jerks to each other. There’s not a whole lot more satisfying than shoving a buddy off course and stealing his points to take the lead at the last moment.

For those who are more interested in rules that actively encourage car-on-car contact, Outbreak may be the ticket. A zombie infestation mode not unlike Zombie Mode in Halo: Reach, one racer’s car turns green and it’s his or her job to hit as many cars as possible to force them to join the side of the zombies. As more cars get infected, escaping as an uninfected car becomes more and more difficult. Some slick driving is required to survive as the game progresses, so be sure to bring your gymkhana skills. The frantic pace of the mode made it a quick crowd favorite.

While these two modes are fun, the mode called Transporter was easily my favorite. It’s basically a multi-team capture-the-flag mode where up to four teams of two battle it out to snag a flag and bring it back to randomly designated areas on the map to score points. If the driver with the flag gets hit by another team, they steal the flag and now it’s their turn to try to get to the point of victory. There’s a lot of last-second steals and dramatic comebacks, especially when teams learn to stick together. Having one player carry the flag and the other driving around them and taking the beating is hilarious to watch. Even without a teammate present, the pure chaos that’s caused by a whole group of cars chasing after the same, singular goal is wonderful to be a part of.

Despite the fact that the world of rally racing is usually reserved for the most hardcore of fans, Dirt 3 is aiming to bring the more casual racing fans into the fold. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the hardcore guys will be forgotten. These modes are simply new additions to the gameplay on top of the already robust traditional rally racing modes. So maybe, just maybe, with the help of these modes, Dirt 3 will be able to bring together those who prefer the occasionally hardcore stylings of the franchise and those who don’t know how precisely a quick tightening of suspension can change the center of gravity of a Ford Fiesta as it makes a hairpin turn. Hey, we can dream.

Apr 20, 2011

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