Codemaster’s latest game in the series aims to bring a more inclusive offering than last years DiRT Rally, which was brutal to say the least. Bringing back some modes found in the previous games in the series and variable difficulties, DiRT 4 does its best to find the balance to include hardcore and casual fans alike.
As good as DiRT Rally was last year, it felt very alienating even to someone such as myself that’s played every single DiRT game from the very first Colin McRae Rally. While not a Hardcore simulation fan nor a beginner, I put myself somewhere in the middle, Dirt Rally was just too punishing. DiRT 4 from the off rectifies this by giving players 2 choices of handling style, Gamer or Simulation depending on preferences. Then after a quick tutorial Rally, are given an advised difficulty to play on which can be switched whenever, and fine tuned in the settings, making the game accessible to everyone.
Speaking of which, there’s a really informative tutorial mode for new comers to sink there teeth into, heading in to the DiRT Academy menu you can head in to a free roam session with lessons being accessible from the pause menu, here you can learn everything from basic and advanced techniques, to learning how to drive over different surface conditions and how to handle track features like jumps and water splashes, with plenty in between.
There’s four disciplines at the core of the game Rally, Land Rush, Rally Cross and Historic Rally. keeping to the idea of the game going back to its roots, yet giving variety with the re-introduction of Land Rush seen in previous titles, Those that prefered to ‘hoon’ around open arenas and smash through foam boards won’t be disappointed either, while not as prominent as in previous titles you can find a joyride section in which you can free roam around the DirtFish Academy, or take on either block smash or time attack challenges.
DiRT 4 also features a Career mode, here you can either concentrate on pure driving, taking contracts from various teams to race for them. Or after levelling up a little, you can create your own team. Managing your staff, sponsors and facilities from the My Team menu. You can choose from a handful of pre-set liveries altering the colours and add sponsors to your cars based on contracts having to keep them happy and fulfilling their requirements to get paid, adding to your coffers to be able to pay your staff who are also contracted, and can be hired and fired as you progress through your career. Facilities provide bonuses to your team from extra garage space, more sponsor spots on your cars, right down to accommodation and catering to keep your staff happy.
There’s also a Free play mode, which is where you can create your own championships and also where you will find the new Your Stage, a fantastic addition to the game which essentially makes the available rally stages almost infinite. You simply select one of the five locations, add a stage then alter the two sliders to determine the length and complexity of the stage. Press the X button to generate, which takes seconds, and if you’re happy with the resulting overview move on to set your time of day and weather then confirm. It’s that simple. These stages can be saved and shared with your friends.
Multiplayer offers up the same options as Free Play, with the addition of setting difficulty parameters and whether the game is public or private, you can even create Your Stage’s here too, this is the more casual side of multiplayer, and from the few games I’ve had, was a solid experience. Competitive multiplayer has its own menu, and features daily, weekly and monthly events, with plenty of events on offer, there should be enough here to keep players coming back.
Visually, as expected, DiRT 4 looks great, loads of track and vehicle details, down to the dynamic damage vehicles take if you so happen to crash or clip a fence post or three. The audio is absolutely superb, with cars sounding as they should, and an amazing soundtrack filled with a variety of music from various genres.