Brum, brum, as they say in Codemasters’ midlands-based world of speedy motorcades! Can Codies keep up their mastery of all things diesel-burny with Dirt 4, or is it a mucky stain that even the most efficient of washing machines couldn’t get out? Gentlemen - and ladies - start your engines!
From your first moments on the grid the attention to detail is obvious.
Alongside career you’ll find sack loads more - there’s a wealth of online options under both the competitive and multiplayer monikers. Competitive floats a weekly supply of challenges to undertake and work your way up the leaderboard, plus there’s a divisional, FIFA-style mode that will suck many in. Multiplayer fleshes things out nicely with an assortment of head-to-head modes, but clean drivers should beware, as you’ll come across plenty of corner-cutting hacks like yours truly!
Special mention has to be saved for the literally game changing Your Stage creation facility. Here you’re left to your own devices to create rallying stages and events, which can then be shared online. The track design initially seems limiting, as you can only alter a few sliders - track length, difficulty, etc. - but the game’s superb algorithm chucks out some fantastic stages in just a few seconds, something that just wouldn’t be possible with a full fat design suite. There are endless options here, too - even with the same slider settings, the generate stage option throws up another, completely different track, giving the game real legs when it comes to longevity.
The audiovisual side of Dirt 4 also impresses for the most part; as mentioned earlier, the car models are beautiful, from the authentically placed sponsorship logos to the ever-changing vehicle shell. Crashes often result in bits of the car body falling off, with the wake of crashes ahead affecting you as you pass.
Unfortunately, the off-track visuals are on the more basic end of the spectrum - trees and crowd members look very simplistic, which is a shame, but undoubtedly assists the game in running smooth as silk. Backend elements are also on the unglamorous side of things, with simple, easy to understand menus and options that are functional, but definitely bland.
The Your Stage creation facility offers up endless possibilities, giving the game real legs when it comes to longevity.
Dirt 4 contains the standard array of radio-friendly hits from the last few years, much like EA Sports’ many offerings. If you like that kind of thing, you’ll love being in the menu screens, if not, you’ll be jamming the A button as quickly as possible to advance to the race. The on-track audio is spot on though, with firing engines, screeching tires and colossal bumps and smashes as you take out yet another tree/sponsorship board. Just be careful not to turn the volume up too loud, as your spouse/family/neighbours might find Dirt 4’s tones grating in time.
As we reach the chequered flag, we have to hold our hands up and praise Codemasters for producing another excellent racing game. The sheer wealth of options available in single and multiplayer are backed up brilliantly by the endlessly entertaining Your Stage feature. Though the presentation might be bland in places, and crosskart events can be painful, it’s impossible to overlook how good the actual rally racing is. Grab your helmet and race suit, get in the car, and go get dirty!