Dirt 4 welcomes anyone who wants to race rally cars. Coming off Dirt Rally, a game that had enthusiasts in mind with its unnerving difficulty, we return to the series where everyone is welcome to test their hand at rally racing. As someone who enjoyed Dirt 2, I found it harder to get accustomed to the difference found in Dirt 4, as Codemasters implanted the DNA of Dirt Rally. The result is a competitive, highly competent racer that asks you to enjoy your time.
Whether you’re new to racing games or a guru of the genre, Dirt 4 from the get go gives you access to two driving modes at the start: Gamer or Simulation. Each handling model handles differently, even going so far as saying both feel like different games. The choice is far deeper than assists and how much damage taken, no, each mode handles differently but features the same assists. Simulation gives your similar handling to what you would find in Dirt Rally, but with some needed touch ups that bring a better experience. Gamer handling takes away the challenge of focusing on your cars needs and instead pushes you into the race to focus on getting 1st place.
To start, you’re dropped into training at Dirt Academy, which provides some of the most detailed lessons plans I’ve seen in a game. Seriously, you’ll learn everything you need here and you will succeed if you’ve followed the training lessons here. Of course, this is optional, you can jump right in and pick up everything as you race, but, I recommend spending time at the Academy.
Codemasters has been making racing games for a long, long time, and once again these British developers know how to keep me smiling while my adrenaline is pumping as I’m taking corners. Each car, each class handles and drives differently – mastering each class is rewarding.
There are enough cars available that it’ll be hard to get bored of any one car quickly, each one also has its own learning curve. The best way to learn the strengths and weaknesses is by the racing them in career mode, which jumps around the globe. Each race adds to your level and grants you money to purchase more cars and gather sponsors, as you get more of each, the difficulty to unlock cars and new tracks goes up.
Dirt 4 also lots for you to do. Career mode will have you managing your team to success, repairing your car, dealing with PR, etc. In addition, you get four other modes to spend time in, Rally, Land Rush, Rallycross, and Historic Rally. Rally has you getting from point to point, Land Rush has you racing buggies, and trucks, Rallycross involves eight racers facing off on officially licensed FIA World Rallycross tracks, and finally, Historic Rally involves racing with classic rally cars from point to point.
Tracks in Dirt 4 are procedurally generated, you select your length and complexity of a track, set the weather and time of day and voila – off you go to the races. If this doesn’t work for you, simply try generating a new track that suits your needs. I preferred playing on tracks designed by the developers, I always will, too, however, I quickly grew to like the new system, which can provide an infinite number of tracks to explore.
Dirt 4 provides a place for new and old comers alike to come together and rally. With the inclusion of two distinct handling models for hardcore rally racers who want precision racing to gamers who enjoy a good race without too much thinking. Cars handle beautifully, braking is precise and the adrenaline from taking turns at high speeds doesn’t get old. To be bold, exciting, and accessible is a hard task to complete, but here we are with some of Codemasters best work and here I am, aching to get back into the driver’s seat and knock out a few more courses.