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Dirt 4 Review: Rally Racing’s Standard-Bearer

DiRT 4 Your Stage

There’s nothing quite like trying to drift around a sharp turn, fight with your car to keep it on the track and, somehow, manage to pull it off unscathed.

It’s little victories like that within a race that add to the overall joy of completing and, hopefully, winning the race. Dirt 4 is full of those little victories in a game that offers so much on the course that keeps you wanting to come back for more while giving you enough options off it to keep you fulfilled.

Right at the start, Dirt 4 wants to make you feel as comfortable as possible on the sticks. It gives you the option for a more casual (Gamer) or hardcore (Simulation) experience.

After that, you’re taken immediately into a tutorial — the Dirt Academy — to get the hang of rally racing, which is recommended for those who’ve never played a Dirt or rally-racing game before.

Dirt 4 offers a variety of modes to enjoy no matter a player’s specific preference. There’s the fun career mode for those that prefer the single-player route while multiplayer races are available for drivers that want to see how they fare against racers around the world.

Speaking of the game’s career mode. While it is pretty fun and enjoyable, it can get redundant to those who like some story elements in a career mode. Other than improving facilities and hiring a crew to work on your cars, there’s no real off-track activities which can bring the experience down for some.

The game also offers competitive events that bring various new challenges daily, weekly and monthly to take part in. Freeplay allows players to create custom championship events and share tracks made via the “Your Stage” feature with friends while Joyride simply allows time trial races.

In addition to all of that, there is the aforementioned academy to help brush up your rally-racing skills.

Visually the game is as good as you’d expect a Codemasters title to be. The cars look stunning, and the environment looks great in full HD. The audio is one of the most realistic experiences in a racer. From the sound your vehicle makes when it backfires to the sound of splashing through standing water, you really feel like your in a real car on a real track.

Driver customization is pretty much nonexistence, but making your vehicle your own is what Dirt 4 is really all about off the course.

From the exterior look of the plethora of cars to buy — new or used — to the tuning of the engine, you make your car run and look exactly how you want. If you want to have a custom “brand” associated with your team, you can do just that. Entering in tournaments with your own special look on your vehicles gives off a sense of pride that only racing games seem to give you.

On the track is where the game provides seemingly endless amounts of enjoyment no matter your play style. If you play with the “Gamer” style you may find it a bit easier than “Simulation”, but that’s to be expected. However, the two styles are just a base as you can fine tune the style to your liking.

You have to find the right tuning to make your car work for you. The lower-end cars will likely need more work to find a happy median than the more expensive vehicles, but that’s all part of the experience.

If your one of those players that uses a wheel set up, Dirt 4 is a perfect game for that. You will find yourself fighting with your vehicle at certain points of the race, but pulling out of the fight without crashing gives such an exhilarating feeling.

Whether your driving on the tar tracks in Spain or the dirt path course in Michigan, each course has a different feel to it. Your drifting goes further on dirt than pavement while you’ll have a much better grip on the roads. The course type adds another level of important strategy to your races.

Your co-driver who calls out upcoming turns and dips in the track is as helpful as any “sidekick” in a video game. Without them by my side, I would’ve totaled more cars than a demolition derby driver.

Dirt 4 is a game that offers so much to the player, but comes up just shy of being a perfect game.

On the track it’s an incredible experience that any racing fan would enjoy, especially with the Your Stage feature adding extra hours of rally-racing fun. Off the track, though, Dirt 4 comes up short with features to keep you entertained outside the vehicle.

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