Posted February 11, 2017 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

DiRT 4 Preview

Upfront I feel I have to say that I was terrible at last year’s solid and gritty DiRT Rally, and as my hands-0n time with DiRT 4 has proved, I am no better now. Despite playing DiRT 4 in ideal conditions, on a PS4 with a great racing rig set-up with a nice Thrustmaster wheel with full force feedback, I spent a lot of my time bashing and crashing into fences, scrub, dirt, and just anywhere that wasn’t really the assigned track.

However, my lack of skill and failure on several levels to become any good at DiRT 4 (even on its less realistic, more ‘normal’ setting) should be taken as a ringing endorsement for its realism, which was one of the best features that impressed Tim in his review of DiRT Rally last year. DiRT 4 builds on the success of Codemasters’ passion project from last year, merging its best aspects into a brand new full-fledged sequel in the DiRT series, that promises not only realistic physics and handling, but variety and a comprehensive experience too.

There are several modes right off the bat in DiRT 4, as newcomers can get to grips with the intricacies of rally racing and co-diver calls with DiRT Academy before dipping into the career mode. There are also several rally modes to choose from, with not only regular rally trials but historic rallies and truck and buggy races with ‘Landrush’, featuring short dirt track racing against other opponents. I was terrible at all of them, of course, but Landrush is definitely a more approachable mode, even if the land buggies themselves handle realistically enough that you need to be careful with your consideration of how their weight is balanced as you accelerate.


Perhaps the most interesting feature in the regular rally mode is a new feature called ‘Your Stage’. DiRT 4 features five locations to race across – Spain, Michigan, Sweden, Wales and Fitzroy and Australia. The demonstration I saw in Fitzroy was quite impressive, while the beginning and end point of the track remain consistent, you can activate Your Stage to create (presumably) randomly generated courses within guidelines that you set – choosing how complex the track should be or how long you want to drive. Actually driving through one of these stages feels just like any other DiRT game, and you’d never know the level had been generated only minutes before unless you’d been told, meaning that there’s potentially an infinite number of stages you can challenge yourself with (or if you find one you like, you can seemingly save it). You can also select weather effects on tracks, which can mean an even greater number of variations can be constructed.

DiRT 4 is looking to build upon the strengths Codemasters’ displayed last year in DiRT Rally, as they continue to reclaim their niche in the racing market with realistic and fair, if unforgiving, handling and all new ways to add variety and challenge to its rally stages. Not only the official game of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, DiRT 4 also promises over 50 off-road cars, all with wear, tear and tuning. Along with the procedurally generated tracks across five vast locations, there should be plenty for rally fans, who have skills far better than mine, to get stuck into when DiRT 4 is released on 9 June, 2017.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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