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DIRT 4 REVIEW: “THE SERIES HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNFORGETTABLE… UNTIL NOW”

 


Let’s be totally clear: despite the ‘4’ on the name, this is categoricallynot a return to the bombastic, arcade-hued mayhem of Dirt 2. This is the still-beating heart of Dirt Rally, transplanted into the long-dead corpse of Dirt 3. The result is an incredibly hardcore simulation masquerading as an adrenaline-soaked, close-competitive racer. Fundamentally, that mix just doesn’t work.

What it does well, it does superbly. The rally section of the career mode is every bit as playable, enjoyable and hardcore as Dirt Rally, only now instead of hand-crafted stages, everything is procedurally generated. You can have a go at generating these stages yourself, moving two sliders for length and complexity, then setting the time of day and weather and hit generate. Don’t like what you see? Just press it again. That means virtually infinite new tracks, forever. A rally fan’s dream.

At times, particularly in fog, it’s absolutely beautiful. In sunlight, however, much of the foliage often looks flat and over-lit. The town sections are impressive considering they’ve essentially sprung out of thin air, but look closer and they appear at least a generation old. Maybe even two. Some parts of Dirt 4 feel cheap and that’s never been the case before.

The depth of the rally career, however, is exemplary. Teams and advertisers have clear expectations and you can see how happy you’re keeping them thanks to a simple gauge. You can hire and fire PR and engineering staff, and their pay comes from your budget, meaning at least some degree of money management is necessary. It’s also online-integrated, with daily, weekly and monthly challenges to attempt, which are massively enjoyable thanks to leaderboards throughout. Dirt 4 is definitely worth buying if you finished Dirt Rally and longed for more.