DiRT 4

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 21 - 2017

Time to get DiRTy again.

 
It’s been a good few years since the last numbered DiRT game, but that doesn’t mean that the DiRT games have been quiet. The last offering in the DiRT series was DiRT Rally, and it seemed to represent a return to serious rally driving over the more extreme sports styled previous titles. The problem was that Codemasters had made the game a little too serious for many gamers, appealing to the hardcore armchair rally professionals over the more casual crowd. With DiRT 4, Codemasters have made a conscious effort to make the game more accessible, hoping to please both the veterans and newcomers. But does this compromise prevent DiRT 4 from reaching the heights of rally perfection?

 
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At the very beginning, DiRT 4 players are given a choice of whether they want to play an arcade racer, or a simulation. The choice between having driver aids that will ensure the player can rocket through rally stages at unbelievable speeds, or the realistic physics which provide a much more challenging experience that will have the player listening carefully to their co-driver, is entirely up to the player, but they are able to try out each type of handling to see which fits better to their level of skill or playstyle.

 
This choice is where the accessibility mostly comes in. Offering the player two different types of game within this single package is perhaps not the most eloquent way of bringing the more casual crowd into the DiRT experience, but it does work as a stepping stone. Besides, there are a few other things the player can do in DiRT 4 if they are looking for a fun distraction over the frustrating but incredibly satisfying simulation mode.

 
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So, players have their basic rally mode, point to point races against the clock. This can be in both regular, with a lovely choice of modern vehicles available, or historic, which involves driving with the deathtraps of yesteryear. In something new to the series, the tracks are procedurally generated. While there are only a handful of different locations, the randomly created tracks ensure something different each time around, and endless replayability. The downside to this is that the tracks don’t stand out from each other as in previous games, leaving them feeling a little bland to look at. Not that you are here to check out the scenery. Add to this the different weather effects and lighting, and there really is a new experience in every stage played.

 
The career mode is quite involving in DiRT 4, with the player being given plenty to do in between races as they manage their team. This involves spending hard-earned winnings on the likes of new staff or research, and buying new vehicles for different races or expanding storage to fit in more cars. It’s a nice addition to the overall game and leaves the game feeling more complete, although for some players it will be more important to just move from race to race. Either way, the choice comes down to the player in how much they invest in the game outside of racing.

 
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There are ample tutorials and learning tools for those who want the most out of the simulation rally experience, and it is quite amazing how in depth these go, which will be perhaps eye opening for those players who usually hit the throttle and hope for the best. The seriousness of DiRT Rally is still here, but it has just been slightly diluted with the option of fun. It really is down to the player how serious they want to be.

 
But for fun, there are also Landrush and Rallycross modes. The handling options remain, but these are much more light-hearted modes where precision is pretty much thrown out of the window in exchange for craziness and frustration. Landrush introduces lumpy, bumpy circuits that are raced around with aggressive AI racers in buggies and trucks. It is as metal as it sounds. The Rallycross offers the same tracks, but with more traditional rally cars. In these modes, the tracks are not randomly generated, so the player is stuck with the tracks included. Both modes are a nice distraction, but are limited in their appeal.

 
As would be expected, the production value in DiRT 4 is satisfyingly high. Visually, the game looks great, and the soundtrack is nice and varied. But it is the little details that make the biggest difference, such as the glorious sounds of the engines, or the animation of the driver. The different settings in which the racing takes place each have their own flavour, and it all comes together into a great looking and sounding game.

 
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DiRT 4 is packed with things to do for the rally driving fan, and is easily accessible for both the newcomers and the veteran drivers. Most of all DiRT 4 is easy to enjoy, while still being brutally unforgiving. It straddles the line between supremely frustrating and ultimately satisfying with great skill. If screaming around blind corners in the fog, on loose dirt tracks, with someone screaming directions in your ear sounds like fun, pick up DiRT 4 now.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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