Codemasters last year has released DiRT Rally and it certainly amazed us, but it was a very hardcore title which some people didn’t enjoy for that reason. This year, they have released DiRT 4 which improves on the difficulty and it isn’t focused on Rally like the last title. DiRT Rally was something that I haven’t experienced before in terms of gameplay, graphics, and audio, but Codemasters took it to the next level with DiRT 4.
Let’s see how the DiRT franchise has improved with DiRT 4.
DiRT 4 features two different handling styles “Gamer” and “Simulation”. “Gamer” handling style is for the player who wants to enjoy the game and doesn’t want to suffer from the chemistry between driving and terrain and “Simulation” is for the players who want to go all in and be hardcore, it feels like the real thing. Codemasters has made the game for everyone thanks to this model which is ideal for the audience.
DiRT 4 features a bunch of modes and it includes so many things for its fans. Let’s start with the DiRT Academy. The mode helps you learn and practice your driving skills. It’s strongly recommended to start the game with this mode.
Next up, the Career mode consists of Rally, Landrush, Rallycross and Historic Rally modes. The main objective on Rally is to make the best time on the track, in order to get the first place, you will be driving modern cars mainly in this mode. You do have your own co-driver (Nicky Grist or Jen Horsey) who will be giving you directions and warnings while you are driving, you really should depend on him/her in order to finish the races if you do otherwise, you will end up possibly in a tree or in a cliff. If you can’t listen your co-driver don’t worry, the directions and the warnings that your co-driver gives you are on your HUD on the upper screen while you are driving. You can choose if you want the directions early, normal or later to be given to you from the menus. In addition, Landrush is making a comeback to the DiRT franchise and it’s a nice short break from Rally, you will be driving buggies and stadium trucks, the main objective of this mode is to earn the first place. You can also have a spotter who is in a watch tower and give you updates on the track and race. Additionally, Rallycross is also making a comeback to the game and you will be driving Rallycross cars, plus cars from the official FIA World Rallycross Championship, the main objective is to get the first place of course, but you should take the Joker lap at least once. Like in Landrush, you do have a spotter who gives you updates for the track and suggestions. Finally, Historic Rally is Rally, but with Historic cars and very different handling of course, so don’t confuse it with Rally, you will drive cars from the 60s, 70s and 80’s and much more in this mode, just like Rally you do have your own co-driver.
The service area is back for DiRT 4 and if you damage your car really bad, your engineers can fix it, if you damage the car while you are racing, you can stop the car and make the repairs, but you will get a time penalty. In the service area, you can also tune the car whichever way you want.
While you race and earn money, you can build your own team, you can choose your own team car, your sponsors and choose your team members and you can also upgrade your own facilities. The more races you complete the more money you earn and the more sponsors are willing to partner with you. You can choose your own engineers, PR, co-driver, spotters, contractors, etc. You can also upgrade your facilities for more effective repairs, happy time for your employees and much more. You can be the driver and manager of your own team in DiRT 4 and that rocks!
If you finish DiRT 4’s Career mode, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of work for you to do in the game. Next up, is Joyride mode which consists of Smash and Time attack challenges. The main objective on Smash Attack is to smash the required number of blocks under the given time. On Time Attack challenges you will try to complete the required amount of laps under the required time, there are some power-ups which earn you time, but there are some others which make you lose time as well when you pick them up by driving onto them.
The game also features a Multiplayer mode where you can play with your friends or random people online the modes from the Career Mode. Joyride isn’t part of Multiplayer, unfortunately.
DiRT 4 also features a very innovative feature called “Your Stage”. Your Stage allows you to produce a near infinite amount of stages using only a button. You can select any location you want and you can generate as many tracks you want and race in them. You can also share them with your friends and with the community. You can play DiRT 4 to the infinity and beyond and you won’t even get bored!
That’s not all folks, Codemasters has more for you to do in DiRT 4. There are plenty daily, weekly and monthly events for you to take part in. You should get your driving skills sharp and prepare to challenge the community, there are a few tiers which consist of rewards depending on the time you make. If you get to the highest tier you earn a lot of money, but you only get one attempt, if you mess up there is no going back to the event, so practice makes perfect.
DiRT 4 features over 54 licensed cars for you to race, it features R2 cars, F2 kit cars, Group A cars, 4WD cars, FWD cars, Group B cars, RX Super 1600s, RX Supercars, buggies, stadium trucks and much much more. You can buy all the vehicles and add them to your Garage, cars can be purchased from the Dealerships and Classified for a cheaper price. DiRT 4 haven’t beat the record of 63 licensed cars which DiRT 3 still keeps, but, it’s one of the most variable lists of vehicles ever made in the franchise.
The game travels you over the world with 5 locations for Rally modes, 3 tracks for Landrush, 5 tracks for Rallycross and 1 track for DiRT Academy and Joyride challenges. Some locations you will be racing on are Australia, Mexico, USA, Sweden, Spain, Wales, Portugal, France and much more.
DiRT 4 still offers the same relationship between car and terrain, just because the game can be easier (on gamer style), those elements aren’t easily forgotten. The terrain and weather play a big role in your races and you should be very careful as it’s very easy to lose to control of the car (depending what style you are playing). Just like DiRT Rally, you can play every possible weather and terrain, but the physics of the game have been improved. Codemasters has also added the option for manual starts, which means you can hold the handbrake and when you hear GO or you see the red lights go green, you let the handbrake and accelerate, but it can be disabled if players want to. The manual starts are a big deal to the game, as you could start quicker than the automatic one, and the tires can spin depending on the terrain of the track. What I am trying to say is that Codemasters hasn’t forgotten their established elements from DiRT Rally and they have improved and added them on DiRT 4 and players need to keep that in mind. The gameplay of DiRT 4 is pretty satisfying and it’s like you know and love it.
The technical department of the game is just ace! The graphics are so spectacular everything looks so great, the lighting is looking so natural and also the cars are looking wonderfully. The damage model has also been improved and it looks so realistic as ever. The car interiors look superb as well. The audio department is excellent, Codemasters has chosen some eclectic songs to form the game’s soundtrack. The soundtrack is pop, electronic and a bit of rock mostly, it’s a very long tracklist and it feels fresh. The cars sounds are slick, it’s like you are in the car and you own them, it’s a dream coming true, but with the only difference that it’s in the game.
DiRT Rally has impressed me so much, but DiRT 4 has exceeded my expectations. I haven’t thought how could they make this franchise better. The guys took it to the next level. They have actually made a fantastic racing title with the gameplay we all know and love and it’s a game for everyone without compromises, whether you are a player who wants to enjoy the game, or a hardcore fan who wants a hard challenge. The game has a huge variety of things for the player to do, the game won’t get old anytime soon. There are plenty of cars for every car enthusiast out there. In addition, the technical department is impressive and everything in the game looks and sounds great.
I give DiRT 4 a solid 10/10 because it offers so many options and so much variety to the racing fans and it delivers what it promised to the players and that’s really important. It’s the best DiRT game that has ever been released and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the wizards at Codemasters can do in the next DiRT game.
***Reviewer’s note: The game copy was provided by the developer/publisher for the purpose of the review.