With the release of DiRT 4 right around the corner, we were given the chance to test the full game before release. DiRT Rally was a phenomenal game, and trying to rise above it is no easy task. So, Codemasters has to try something new to push the envelope further. The question is can the Midlands-based developer do that?
DiRT Rally is widely considered a game for the simulation purist crowd leaving a lot of the DiRT audience in the dust. This has meant that Codemasters lost some of its current customers and brought back its original audience from the Colin McRae era. With such a split, it’simportant to bring the two audiences together.
Codemasters has – thankfully – included an extensive control scheme in Dirt 4, where if you’re a hardcore Rally Driver that prefers to take punishment over accessibility then that is still available. If you’re wanting to get back into the Rally genre but DiRT Rally was too much of a sucker punch then you’ll be happy that they have incorporated driving aids and varying opponent AI difficulties for those that prefer to have fun.
Tutorials could have been better in Dirt Rally too – they were essentially videos showing you how to maneuver rather than real-time tutorials, but in Dirt 4 there’s fully-fledged tutorials which really help you to master the tracks.
The meat of DiRT Rally was the championship mode through various events, and in Dirt 4 there’s even more to choose from, including Time Trials, Online Multiplayer (with Rallycross), Online Challenges, tournaments, and more.
What’s highly intriguing is the new track generator. Considering the complexity of Rally stages and tracks, being able to generate a random track, time trial it, then upload it to the server for others to beat your time is a fantastic idea and one that will bring longevity to the title. Gran Turismo 5 attempted something similar but the tracks were very plain and bland whereas DiRT 4 has added many more features.
The inclusion of RaceNet is a familiar sight but including the ability to have cross-platform leaderboards is an interesting endeavour. There’s always talk about who’s the best player base, the Microsoft crowd, the Sony crowd, or the PC crowd. Now we’ll finally see for real. Whether the online multiplayer will be crossplay is yet to be known, but having that extra competition is welcome.
Baja and other similar events were ejected in DiRT Rally, but have made a small return in a Landrush mode for Dirt 4 where you can drive along arena based mud/sand tracks in stadiums. Similar to a Motocross event but with Buggies or Trucks.Codemasters has brought historical cars to the game too including the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, the Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2, and our favourite of all – Colin McRae’s Subaru!
All of these can be driven on five different routes and stages (Australia, Spain, Michigan, Sweden, and Wales) on surfaces from gravel and tarmac to the dreaded snow. Every track feels and play differently and the new tyre model will reflect that.
With all of these new features, additions, and tweaks it looks like DiRT 4 is ending up to be a solid game, but just how solid will it be compared to DiRT Rally? Look forward to our review in the coming days to find out.