DiRT 4 is the latest instalment in the long-standing rally racing series. Due to release on June 6th in the US and June 9th in the UK, DiRT 4 looks set to be a complete game changer when it comes to the DiRT/Colin McRae Rally series and perhaps even the entire rally driving genre, reaching new heights of driving authenticity.
This instalment is boasting a fantastic new feature that's sure to have series veterans excited. It includes a rather intriguing system known as ‘Your Stage’, allowing for procedurally generated rally route creation, meaning practically endless possibilities for new racing challenges. World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke, who has been on board with the development of DiRT 4, believes rally driving isn't about memorising a track as it is in circuit driving, it's about having an open mind. And, with each track being different, you have to be ready for whatever the road has to throw at you.
The 'Your Stage' feature enables players to relive a true rallying experience, to face new challenges and 'be fearless' as they take on a near infinite supply of unfamiliar roads. And the best part? A unique track is just a button press away. There are a few parameters you can set before the system starts building your very own tailor-made rally experience as well, such as the time of day, weather, length of the track and the complexity i.e. the number of corners, hazards and the general difficulty level. It’s especially exciting for settling scores between your friends as the ability to share your unique routes amongst your fellow virtual rally racing pals means you have infinite opportunities for challenging them to beat your time on your track. This is just one of the many multiplayer/online options.
Contrary to its predecessor, DiRT Rally, Codemasters appear to have provided players with more of an optional approach towards the level of difficulty they want to be playing at. Rally was all about building up proper rally driving skills, relying solely on a co-driver to warn players of upcoming hazards and corners. While this was successful among seasoned veterans of the series and rallying in general, it proved a little too much for newer players to the series. DiRT 4 makes a valiant attempt to bridge that gap between newcomers and veterans, providing the same true to life rallying experience alongside a multitude of other game modes.
And DiRT 4 is bursting at the seams with features and game modes. First of all, there's the basic career mode. Create yourself a driver, compete across various rallying disciplines, and work towards set goals, earning rewards, sponsors and teammates as you progress. Then there's 'Landrush', dirt track racing on a shorter scale in Pro-2 and Pro-4 Trucks, Pro Buggys and Crosskart vehicles. 'Joyride' is all about smashing your rivals' lap times and challenging them to beat your best laps. There's also DiRT Academy which acts as a training school for the game with lessons on shifting weight, when to apply gas, braking, et cetera. This goes hand in hand with some of the most accurate recreations of real world rallying physics known to the racing genre. With professional rally drivers in on the development process, Codemasters have ensured this game feels exceptionally real. In terms of vehicle handling, speed and weight control, this is as close as it gets to the real thing.
DiRT 4 also features five vastly varying locations to choose from; Fitzroy in Australia, Tarragona in Spain, Värmland in Sweden (a classic for rallying), Michigan in the United States and Wales, the British Rally capital. And, with the official license of the WRC FIA, it’ll also feature official World RX locations like Lohéac Bretagne, Hell, Holjes and Lydden Hill.
The confirmed list of cars, as of now, is also pretty impressive, featuring modern and classic cars ranging from Mini Coopers, through to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI, the Ford Fiesta R2, right up to the Seat Ibiza 4x4 T16 and the Peugeot 205 T16 Rallycross. The list is exhaustive and, with over 50 vehicles, including buggys, crosskarts and cars to choose from, you won't get bored anytime soon.
As always, the DiRT series has provided us with yet another solid, professional and ‘true to life as it gets’ rallying experience. Dynamic weather systems are carried across from previous titles, the graphics are to die for and the accurate in-game physics are unrivalled. With the official license of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, this really is the ultimate full package when it comes to providing anything and everything you can expect out of a high-end, top quality racing game, made with genuine passion for the sport. And, with the help of rallying star Peter Solberg and World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke, Codemasters have made sure this will be a rally driving experience you won't soon forget.