Codemasters have the reputation of making brilliant racing games. Rarely have they set a foot wrong with each of their racing releases and Dirt has been widely praised as the greatest rally series ever made. Dirt Rally, released in 2015 seemed to feel like a shift for the series, seemingly designed for enthusiasts. It was incredibly accurate, difficult and had the adrenaline fuelled feeling of real life rally driving. Although it was brilliant the difficulty put off many casual gamers. It did feel like the game Codemasters always wanted to create, so with a smaller audience does Dirt 4 shift back to a friendlier field? It does, sort of.
Dirt 4 has two different settings to play on, these being Gamer and Simulation. Each still have various driving aids and levels of skill and offer a similar challenge, yet each feel vastly different. The Gamer setting makes the cars feel softer, brake easier, and harder to lose control even when using the handbrake harder in hairpins. It does still give a reasonable challenge, so it’s not like your ten-pin bowling with the bumpers up.
For the Simulation setting, Dirt 4 is a radically different beast. The physics become extremely realistic and the car behaves accurately. You are required to drive with precision, be patient, it feels very much akin to what we witnessed with Dirt Rally. The game is extremely enjoyable in either mode, but it feels like Codemasters have looked at Dirt 3 and Dirt Rally and thought, why not have both? The handling for both is sublime and the controls are perfect, with triggers for accelerator and braking feeling positively weighty.
Career mode has the usual flavour contained in modern day racers. Create a driver, get a contract, perform well and earn credits and sponsors to move up in classes whilst travelling to all parts of the world. You eventually have your own race team, competing with the best, it is nothing abnormal. As you progress, faster cars increase the difficulty and the tracks become more difficult to dominate. There are the usual Rally events, but also Landrush featuring bigger heavy trucks, buggys and crosscarts. There is also Rallycross pitting you against seven opponents, it is awesome stuff.
There is a huge array of vehicles to work your way through, offering an insane amount of gameplay. Dirt 4 is huge and will give fans hundreds of hours of value. Your Stage is another mode option that generates rally stages at the press of a button. You adjust sliders for length and difficulty, choose the terrain and the game does the rest creating millions of different tracks to partake on. An infinite number of tracks is seemingly possible. Community challenges are also presented, giving you various quests to complete. There is just so much game here to keep you occupied it is insane.
Dirt 4 is stunning. The car models are brilliant, the tracks and backgrounds are beautifully detailed. The dynamic weather is stunning, as is the use up lighting. We expect driving games to wow us this generation and Dirt 4 does not let you down. The sound is also great, the cars all sound realistic and the throaty and the turbos and shifts sound delightful. Overall the game is presented perfectly. There seems to be no technical hitches or frame rate drops throughout, Codemasters know the craft very well. Damage is prevalent and also looks spectacular!
What I have played thus far of the multiplayer has been a great experience. Games are quite easy to find and queuing is minimal. Lag seems quite minimal also and racing against human opponents is a real thrill. Unfortunately, due to renovations going on at home during the review my net has been out for the majority of the time.
Dirt 4 truly is an amazing package and it is a must buy for fans of the racing genre. Whether you prefer simulation or a more forgiving racer you are served well here. The game looks stunning, and plays brilliantly well either on sim setting or gamer. There is just so much gameplay and variety offered that car lovers have no chance of getting bored. Outstanding.