DiRT 4 Xbox One Review

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Codemasters  Developer: Codemasters  Genre: Racing  Players: 1-8  

Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

When Codemasters decided to make a fourth DiRT game, it was obvious that it was going to have to be a game that appealed to a wide audience. The stellar DiRT Rally was well received for its authenticity, but the DiRT games before that had middle of the ground vehicle handling that mixed realism and fun. With such a differing audience to aim DiRT 4 at, Codemasters certainly had a big job on their hands.

Luckily, Codemasters have done a very smart thing with DiRT 4, and that’s to offer two different handling styles. There’s options for simulation and gamer, with simulation feeling a lot closer to that of DiRT Rally, albeit a little more forgiving than the handling was in that game, while the gamer option focuses on accessibility ahead of anything else. It was a good decision on Codemasters part, and I do hope it will pay off with lifetime sales for them.

Nicky Grist is back on co-driving duties. This is the first time since Colin McRae 2005. Jen Horsey is also in the game.

DiRT 4 also includes an academy feature, which learns you everything from the basics to the more technical side of rallying. You can also play around with the different handling styles in order to see which one suits you, and the game also has various assists which can be toggled on and off. With all of these features, the game definitely does have wider and more immediate appeal than the previous DiRT Rally did.

Like the previous DiRT games, DiRT 4 is more about simply the rallying, with Landrush and Rally Cross events also included. When it comes to the Landrush events in particular, controlling the vehicles proves to be more difficult than the rallying when the simulation handling is turned on, and until you get the hang of it, you may find yourself spinning out and ending up in last place quite a lot. Whatever handling option you decide to go for with the rallying, there are few complaints here. The focus is definitely mostly on the said rallying as well, as content is rather lacking when it comes to the Landrush and Rally Cross events.

Whether you are racing in Wales, Australia, USA, Spain or Sweden, DiRT 4 also has randomly generated tracks in rally events, which is an excellent innovation for the series and, in theory, means that you have an unlimited amount of tracks to race on. Less positively, the tracks sometimes feel repetitively laid out and have predictable sections, which really isn’t a good thing when they are supposed to be randomly generated. There’s also a Your Stage feature, which allows you to alter a few parameters, including the length and complexity of the stage, and then generate a track, and you are also able to save and share favourites.

DiRT 4’s career mode has you rising up the ranks in all the game’s disciplines. When you earn enough money in the career mode, you are then able to purchase your own car and then even set up your own team, gaining sponsors and hopefully living up to their expectations. You can also hire staff and improve various things in a bid for a more efficient team. It’s a career mode that does the job, but doesn’t really branch out from that.

When it comes to the multiplayer, there’s, daily, weekly and monthly challenges, as well as competitive racing in all disciplines for you to get involved in.

Visually, DiRT 4 is rather mixed. The game offers a smooth 60fps experience, and some of the lighting and detailing is truly excellent, although some of the environments are lacking in quality and look rather basic. I do have to wonder if this is the result of the randomly generated tracks, but it really doesn’t matter, nor is it noticeable, when you are screaming along at terrifying speeds.

DiRT 4 also has the return of the Joyride option, which is a lot more of a fun and casual side to the game. There are options such as time trials and others that have you smashing into blocks to earn points. This is definitely a less serious side to the game, and is a nice break from all the normal rallying and racing.

DiRT 4 has its issues, but it’s still a wonderful game that has the potential to woo a very large audience. The two handling modes do exactly what Codemasters intended them to do, allowing you to play for fun or more technically, and this means that the game won’t be too intimidating for casual racing fans and won’t be overly simplistic for those who prefer a tougher drive.