If you are a fan of sim-racing and Rally racing it’s time to get excited, because Dirt 4 is hitting shelves this week. Dirt 4 is set to be one of the very best games in the series, yet more than that it’s also bringing Rallycross racing with it.
Dirt 4 follows a long lineage of racing sim games from the Codemasters brand, serving as the 6th title to carry the Dirt moniker. The series began in 1998 as a title series called ‘Colin McRae Rally’ the collaboration with Rally racing legend of the same name. The titles slowly transitioned into the Dirt name, with the first being coined ‘Colin McRae: Dirt.’ The Dirt series was a smashing success and as you can see now the rest is history.
Now Dirt 4 is looking to up the ante once more, with a better physics engine and a plethora of new modes that will keep the game entertaining for hours on end. The biggest addition to Dirt 4 is the introduction of a custom stage creator. ‘Your Stage’ allows the user, you, to build a custom stage that is unique to you. At least to a degree. A Rally stage is a point to point race that typically varies in length. What Codemaster has done is give you the option to select that length, and then pick how difficult you want it to be. Once you have done that Dirt 4’s internal algorithm will automatically generate a stage that is unique to your game. If you don’t like it, just do it again. And again. You can keep this up until something emerges that suits your fancy.
While ‘Your Stage’ is unique to you one of the best features is the ability to save it and share it with your friends. This gives Dirt 4 an element that will almost certainly keep it from getting stale like so many racing games before it. The tracks can be generated across 5 different countries, Australia, Wales, Sweden, Spain, and here in the states. Each Country offers a diverse set of challenges that is unique to only it, eliminating the repetitive nature of your typical auto-generated course. Another win for Dirt 4.
Dirt 4 continues to use the same Ego gaming engine as before, but it has been significantly revamped, giving the system much more vibrant colors. This leads to an overall more immersive feel to the game, something every sim can benefit from. Codemaster has re-worked almost all aspects of Dirt 4, resulting in better mud slinging, water splashing action shots that really capture real life rally racing.
The Physics engine comes in two different settings, Simulation, and Gamer. Simulation gives you just that, the feeling of driving the real thing. It’s said to be the real deal, offering great feeling through a proper sim setup. The physics are even better than in the past, making it even more important to use proper driving techniques, something that Dirt 4 gives you ample time to practice. Gamer mode on the other hand, allows you to catch a break while still enjoying the game thoroughly. It’s not nearly as hardcore, giving the cars a much more responsive feel. For the casual player, or someone using a controller and not a racing wheel, it’s a nice touch that still keeps you immersed in the racing experience.
Dirt 4 carries a variety of modes with the Career being by far the biggest. In Career mode you get full control over not just your racing destiny but the entire team. This entails managing your money, buying facilities and upgrading your sponsorship. These things can get a little tiresome for those that just want to race, although they are crucial aspects to that of a real career in racing. They other modes offered come in the form of TORC style racing called Landrush. This equips you with trophy trucks and buggies ready to bash wheels and mob tracks. A definite addition for the casual fan, but it does offer a nice change of pace for the casual user. And finally Rallycross.
The Rallycross mode is a carry over from that of Dirt Rally from 2015. However, just like the rest of the game it has been extensively overhauled resulting in an entirely new feel. Rallycross delivers an adrenaline shot to the arm with short punchy races that are nothing short of action packed. Most users will find themselves torn between traditional stage races and Rallycross events, a beautiful dilemma to have. Lastly, comes the Academy. The Academy is where you will find yourself trying to hone your skills to tackle any stage that is currently giving you the fits. It’s a relatively open playground, but does offer some structure when you really wish for it.