DiRT 3: 'A tarmac playground of destructive automotive joy'

Time to hit the Gym(khana) and get pumped with Codies' latest rally-'em-up!

Getting behind the wheel of Dirt 3 was like meeting up with an old friend.

In this case, a fire-breathing, 300bhp Audi Quattro friend that can spit you into the horizon at face-blistering speeds.

The petrolhead readers among you will know that this particular Audi is a bit of an old-timer in the rally world, and the first taste of Dirt 3's partial return to its roots.

Although the flag has now been passed entirely to rally fruitloop Ken Block, Codemasters are keen to stress that feedback of their last game has been taken on board.

The 'woah, gnarly' attitude has been toned down, truck racing has been all but removed (there will still be buggy racing) and there's a newfound focus on retro rally cars. While they wouldn't go into specifics, they said that if you can think of a car, chances are that it'll be included in the game; Peugeot 205 T16, Metro 6R4, Monte Carlo Mini, Lancia Integrale, 90s Imprezas and Evos will sit alongside the current crop of off-road motors.

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Despite this small step backwards, Dirt 3 is definitely a progression of the series. For example, you've graduated beyond your rusty old RV from Dirt 2 and are now a fully-fledged rally driver, complete with F1 2010-style agents to help forge your career.

According to Codemasters, a career that will put more emphasis on actual rallies (about 60% of the events) to accompany the Rallycross, Trailblazer and Raid races we saw in the last game.

Better still, Dirt 3 will offer 100 different routes (compared to just over 40 in Dirt
2), a day/night cycle and progressive weather (again, as seen in F1).

But the best we've saved 'til last - the Gymkhana events offer a tarmac playground of jumps, donuts, drifts and destructive automotive joy.

Better still, you can even take part in them with seven other players online! Needless to say we're getting pretty excited about this one!