Hang on, let me clear the mud out of my eyes...
DiRt itself is a major step forward for Codemasters. Gone are the days of "pivoting". In the older games there seemed to be a central point on the car - sort of a pivot point. It almost felt as though the geography was coming towards you and the car was rolling across it - just like those old car games where the scenery was on a conveyor belt and your car was static, you were just steering over a painted surface. Not any more. Now the cars control as they should and the racing feels more real.
In fact, this is DiRT's strongest point... in hill climbs and while descending you really feel the height and the control it takes to keep yourself on the road. This makes the racing more intense and less random - slip up and you're out of control... focus and you'll be amazed at how well you're racing. Of course all the vehicles control differently and you have a choice of racing anything from souped up pickup trucks, to dune buggys, Big Rigs, normal rally cars of all different sorts, to these strange huge box shaped trucks that can easily roll over if you're not careful. The amount of variety is great.
You'll spend most of your time in career mode advancing through 11 levels of a pyramid. You will rewarded by different achievements as you progress and I was able to unlock 725 points by playing through career mode alone. There are also a Championship and a Rally World mode where you can get a few more points.
The difficulty is Easy. At the outset of each race you can choose between various difficulty options and never are you forced to race the harder options to get achievements - you can get all of them just by racing on medium. You will get more money the higher the difficulty which can make buying cars alot easier, along with the various graphics packs you can get for each car (some of those are very cool).
Finally, DiRT makes two important contributions to the video game world. The first is the graphics. As you may have heard, this game looks sweeeettt. Try not to stare at the countryside as it goes by though, or you'll end up smacking into a tree - best to watch as someone else plays.
The second is one of the best menu systems I've seen in a game (along with some of the best menu music). Hopefully others will pick up on this, although nobody seemed to steal the awesome menu system in Riddick, so maybe they won't. In any event, the menu is slick, interesting and very well done.
All in all, Codemasters did a superior job in giving us DiRT. Next time I'd like to see some more variety in the tracks (in particular the closed course dirt tracks) but that is the only complaint I could really think of. If you like racing you should definitely pick this one up.