DiRT 4 Preview

Click here to read my Dirt 4 preview on GameWatcher.

Yesterday, Codemasters announced that DiRT 4 actually exists and will be releasing this year. This may come as a surprise to fans, who already received a DiRT game just over a year ago. However, Codemasters boasts “harder, faster and longer” stages (yes, they legitimately said that), taking community feedback from previous games and applying it their upcoming title. We had the opportunity to spend a few hours testing out the track generator, aptly entitled ‘Your Stage’.

Despite a number of new additions to DiRT 4, ‘Your Stage’ was the feature that we found the most interesting. This track generator lets players tweak the length and complexity of their rally route before starting the race. Players will also be able to share their generated tracks. While it wasn’t specified at the event, we believe that you will be able to share tracks across platforms (we’re waiting for the developer to clarify this information and will update once we receive a reply).

Upon booting up the game, you’ll have to answer a question: what kind of driver are you? Choosing the ‘Normal’ mode turns on assists and unlimited restarts, whereas ‘Simulation’ is for hardcore players that want a challenge. Thankfully, players will be able to get to grips with the game at their own pace by progressing through the four levels in Normal mode: Gamer, Racer, Pro and Fearless. Whether you decide to play as a serious rally driver or a more casual cruiser, you won’t have to worry about jeopardising your scores as the two driving styles have separate leaderboards. For players that intend on learning routes before tackling them in serious settings, DiRT Academy may prove to be incredibly helpful. Taking place at the DirtFish Rally School in Washington, USA (presumably based off the real driving school), players will have the chance to learn new skills and techniques to improve their driving.

Our demo of the game only featured tracks from Australia. The full game is going to include an additional four locations, including: Spain, Michigan, Sweden and Wales. Speaking of the demo, we only had access to two cars (the Subaru WRX STI NR4 and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI) despite the full game featuring over fifty off-road cars. For all you car fans out there, you’ll be pleased to know the Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 and the Ford Fiesta R5 have also been confirmed. Land Rush is making a comeback to the DiRT series, offering short-course dirt tracks for Pro Buggies, Pro-2 Trucks, Pro-4 Trucks and Crosskart vehicles across California, Nevada and Mexico.

We do need to clarify that we aren’t familiar with the DiRT series. Initially, we had some problems getting to grips with the driving at first, though that is definitely our fault for treating this like a standard arcade racing game. DiRT 4 requires a lot from the driver in almost every aspect, and that is a great thing. From the amount of pressure you apply to the brakes to how energetically you turn the wheel, every tiny movement will greatly affect the ride.

It looks like Codemasters have learnt from previous DiRT games and are heavily invested in refining the overall rally racing experience for their hardcore players. However, they are simultaneously expanding their audience to include new players who may not be familiar with the series. After spending a short period of time with the game, we are already really interested in what else DiRT 4 has to offer, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of its complex mechanics.

System Requirements & Performance

Minimum System Requirements: TBC

Recommended System Requirements: TBC

Release Date

DiRT 4 is scheduled to release on 6th June 2017 and will be available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Despite only being announced yesterday, it already has a Steam page, although we’ll have to hang tight for a preorder option.