DiRT 4 Review

Dirt, speed, and adrenaline

If you love rally simulators for the unique sensations of driving on dirt and gravel with the voice of a co-driver, I am pleased to inform you that DiRT 4 will fully satisfy your innate desire to push the limits of automotive technology.

This time, Codemasters decided to cater to both hardcore enthusiasts and casual driving fans. You can choose between the Gamer and Simulation modes, along with a decent amount of options that determine the behavior of the car and the skill of the opponents. Choose Gamer mode for impeccable grip that allows you to fearlessly enter any turn, while Simulation mode will be a serious test of your driving skills. The first mode is well-suited for beginners, but DiRT 4 truly shines in the second mode.

Off-road racing adventures

The main innovation in this part of the series is procedurally generated tracks. Instead of copies of real routes, the game randomly creates its own in one of the following five locations: Fitzroy (Australia), Powys (Wales), Michigan (USA), Värmland (Sweden), and Tarragona (Spain). The reason for this is quite understandable – rally games are limited by the number of real tracks, and this approach adds much-needed variety. However, this means that DiRT 4 lacks the previous attention to detail.

As you race on the hilly roads of Australia, you will notice how the car gets covered in dirt as you struggle to keep it on the bumps, while the Welsh forests will greet you with the splendor of luxurious views and gravel drumming on the undercarriage. In Sweden, you will have to storm snowy mountains, and the paved Spanish roads will slide up or down.

If you want to get your blood pumping even more, you can try the Rally Cross and Land Rush modes. Here, you start in the midst of a hurricane of roaring engines, battling opponents on the same track. Both of these modes (Land Rush is roughly about buggies and dunes) take place on circular tracks, and there aren’t many of them. Procedural generation doesn’t work here, so you’ll have to make do with a modest selection of territories with tiny arenas. If you’ve seen one of them, you can consider that you’ve seen them all.

Rally racing action

The best mode is Historic Rally. Here you can ride on generated tracks with classic vintage models like Lancia, MG, and even old Mini Cooper S. The magnificent collection of classics will make you nostalgic for the rally era of the 80s and 90s, but the variety of the car park will help dispel the nostalgia: from RX supercars in rallycross to Peugeot 298, buggies, and trucks.

No detail has been overlooked. Switching to the cockpit view, you will see how the pilot shifts gears and even releases the clutch. Behind the wheel of a buggy, your view will be limited by a tiny front windshield, and everything will be covered in dust from all sides – a not very comfortable enclosed space. In Australia, you can notice a helicopter watching the race, and in Wales, I even saw drones hovering over the road.

In the online mode, there are weekly challenges along with a solid multiplayer, although at the time of writing the review, I had problems finding available sessions. Joyride offers time trials, and Freeplay allows you to play with sliders, generating your own routes.

High-speed excitement

Perhaps the only disappointment can be called the career mode. It is completely forgettable, and all you will do, apart from the paperwork with team management, is finish and press X or A to move on to the next screen faster. If in Dirt Rally you couldn’t start winning right away, then in DiRT 4 from the very start of your career to its completion, you will easily take first place. Most races are a series of races, and sometimes it is very tiring to drive the same track for the fourth or fifth time in order to progress through artificial stages, where as a reward for first place, you are shown the same picture of the podium.

In any case, there is plenty to do in DiRT 4, so it will keep you entertained for a long time – especially since the tracks are randomly generated. It would be nice to see more variety in locations, but no one will deny that such things are not done overnight.

I have seen games that are more visually stunning, but the sound here is simply amazing: from the growl and roar of the engine to the timely remarks of the co-driver. And the music tracks will make you want to download them to your player.

In the end, DiRT 4 manages to kill two birds with one stone: it is both a challenging racing simulator and an excellent introduction to the world of rally. It helps that racing is at the forefront – nothing compares to perfectly timed braking and a cleanly executed drift. In this regard, Codemasters have done everything right, not shifting priorities to one type of player at the expense of another. As a result, the game will not cause wild enthusiasm in either group, but it will surely captivate any racing enthusiast for a long time.

DiRT 4
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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