June 11, 2017
Developer and publisher Codemasters is back with the DiRT series, which evolved from the Colin McRae rally series way back on the Playstation 1 in 1998. Twelfth in the overall series, and the sixth to contain the DiRT name. Rally legend McRae passed away in 2007, but his name was used up until the release of DiRT 3 on console. The series has come leaps and bounds since, across all four generations of consoles since, currently on Playstation 4, Xbox One & PC. Between DiRT 3 and DiRT 4 there have been three games all offering unique opinions towards rallying.
Build up to the game
DiRT 4 was announced early in 2017 in January with June as the expected release date, which Codemasters has managed to abide by.
Norwegian Rally and Rallycross legend Petter Solberg has been a key asset to Codemasters in the sense of handling and the noise of the cars, and his feedback has been crucial for the developer to make DiRT 4 such a brilliant game. No wonder, as Solberg is an all time great, winning with the works Subaru team in 2003 in the World Rally Championship before moving to Rallycross and winning the 2014 and ’15 championships with Citroen in 2014 & 2015.
As per any racing game, there is a career mode within the game, and DiRT4’s has quite a unique aspect. With career you create your own driver from scratch and can select the particular disciplines in which you wish to compete. You can choose sponsors and develop your team with own livery development as well as a garage full of cars that are suitable for each individual series you can participate in, from rallying across the three types of surface—asphalt, gravel and snow—and Rallycross, which is a combination.
DiRT 4 has the official FIA Rallycross license, with 5 areas at which the events are based; by all means this can be done in single player, but is a substantial part of the career mode, very enjoyable and and with settings that can be amended corresponding to your driving skills. There are two types of handling: a fun arcade side, as well as a hardcore simulation mode—driving on the simulation mode in career gives a true reflection of how difficult it is but when finding the sweet spot it makes it so exciting to play.
The DirtFish Rally School is based in Washington and gives people a way to learn the skills of a rally driver via joy riding and time attack events, to then put towards Career and Multiplayer modes. It gives you a chance to develop skills to maybe push the levels of difficulty in career and quick modes as well as pushing yourself up the global leaderboard to become the very best. Events in this mode are rather enjoyable, especially the time attack scenarios across the area, and jumping up objects and smashing cardboard boxes—who doesn’t loves causing carnage to the environment!
RaceNet has once more been developed further by Codemasters for this game, which sets an array of tables and events to partake in. You have access to this via the game as well as the website and this will give you the facility to view cross-platform leaderboards, with specific tournaments that can be completed throughout the game’s life span. DiRT 4’s challenges are tiered in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly which can be quite competitive and enjoyable to complete. Each individual event is different, and will never be same thanks to the stage creator they have on the game. You can take part in events with up to eight people online in terms of racing, but in terms of offline play the game has no split-screen facility.
Sound and Visuals
DiRT 4’s visuals are outstanding: the lighting in particular is brilliant, and the shadows in the morning and at time of sunset in the forest areas cannot be beaten. The cars’ characteristics in terms of damage to certain extent is limited but throughout career and Rallycross modes, you have a select amount of time to fix any problems with your car such as dampers to help handling. The cars look slick and through mud for example it doesn’t brush away, if it is wet on a gravel stage, the car becomes caked in mud. Driving at night is difficult but when you master how to drive the sense of accomplishment makes you push even further to great success.
The Co-Driver—which had work from the professional co-drivers of Jen Horsey and Nicky Grist—sounds clear and specific with how the information is given, such as the tighter the turns are the smaller the number is shouted to prepare yourself in advance. The cars sound so realistic, the engine revving if you don’t shift as well as the popping of the exhaust gives you a true version of the cars. The natural noises, for example jumping through the air whilst landing and going through water puddles, sound excellent.
DiRT 4 is most definitely the best game yet in the series, returning to the good old days of the early 2000s of Colin McRae 2005, the buzz that all the game modes give as well as the noise that in first person gives you the feeling you are in control. It is wheel supported which is a true challenge, albeit a pad still gives you a thrill. The sheer amount of features in the game truly does not limit what you can do. The stage creator always gives you something new, and will be never be the same—choose a destination, difficulty and length of the stage, and off you go.
The first game reviewed with The Pit Crew Online and we score it highly, albeit a few things it does lack which holds back a perfect ten. The fact that we have no split screen for offline racing for people that wish to battle in their own living room and that when it comes to livery creator in career mode it is very limited in what can be amended. The Rallycross only has five of the series’ destinations, but at the end of the day these are small drawbacks. The variety of what can be done in career and online is astonishing with the sound, always advise to turn it up to hear the exhaust pop going around hairpins. Visually it’s amazing, which with graphics nowadays is hard to stand out amongst rivals, but definitely the best looking off-road game.
A solid 9/10 rating.
Chris Lord, F1 Correspondent