DiRT 4 is a solid racing game which is designed to make you feel like you are driving a car, writes Aiman Maulana
WE’VE reviewed role-playing games, adventure games and even fighting games. Let’s now take a look at rally racing games, with Codemaster’s DiRT 4. Though it’s easy for everyone to dive into and start playing, it can be very difficult to master.
WHAT’S DiRT 4 ABOUT?
Unlike most other games, there is no actual storyline for DiRT 4. The game is all about embracing the thrills and fear of rally and racing.
It’s about the thrill, exhilaration and adrenaline that is absolutely vital to off-road racing. It’s about loving the feeling of pushing flat out next to a sheer cliff drop, going for the gap that’s too small and seeing how much air you can get.
Does that sound too complicated? In simpler terms, all you have to do is race, continue improving on your skills, and show everyone who is the best of them all. The game is meant to evoke the feel of being a racer due to its more realistic physics, so expect the game to be more like Gran Turismo rather than Burnout.
GAMEPLAY VARIETY AND DEPTH
From the moment you have access to the game’s navigation menu, you have the option to race in a variety of modes.
In Career mode, you play as a racer with the goal of winning championships and to be the best racer.
Competitive mode will have you compete in daily, weekly and monthly events for new challenges. It will include other players in terms of rank and challenges completed.
Multiplayer mode will have you race against other players online. In case you’re wondering, there are no split-screen race options which effectively renders local multiplayer impossible.
Freeplay allows players to create their own custom championship races and create their own tracks. You can even share these with your friends online.
For those looking to practise or learn new skills, DiRT Academy mode is filled with in-depth tutorials as well as allowing players to freely roam around the track.
Lastly, Joyride will pit players in Time Attack and Smash Attack challenges.
As far as racing is concerned, there’s definitely a big variety in terms of gameplay that will keep gamers hooked.
As you continue to collect in-game currency, you’ll have the ability to buy cars as well as create your own race team.
This includes hiring engineers to tune and maintain your cars, PR agents to improve on race sponsorships, and other roles.
The idea here is that DiRT 4 wants to offer gamers a realistic professional racer experience. Due to how in-depth the system gets, it can be both enjoyable and overwhelming.
At the beginning, you will be brought to a trial race to get a feel for the game. DiRT 4 offers two handling settings for gamers to choose from; the easier setup known as “Gamer”, and the more challenging option known as “Simulation”.
It feels like I don’t have to worry as much on keeping the car on track so I can focus more on the race on the Gamer setting.
Simulation on the other hands makes it feel like I’m moving an actual car so I have to balance it myself.
In the casual setting, I felt like I could bias the braking, front or back, in my pre-race adjustments and give myself a little less steer on pavement or a little more on gravel.
As you are stuck with the weaker cars at the beginning, chances are you will see yourself retrying races a lot of times at first.
It’s easy to find yourself oversteering or understeering during races but it gets
even more problematic when you crash the car and find yourself on the receiving end of a time penalty. This could easily turn your first place position to fourth or fifth in an instant.
The AI controlled cars aren’t exactly tough to beat but when you play on higher difficulties such as “Demanding” or “Tough”, races can be quite unforgiving.
There is still plenty of racing enjoyment in Dirt 4’s less complex settings, but experienced racers will have no problems plowing through the enemies’ ranks.
Due to how in-depth the game mechanics are, optimising your car isn’t as straightforward as pouring in money to make it faster.
You need to understand how certain settings in the tuning section can make your car accelerate faster in exchange for stability or vice versa. On the plus side, there are detailed explanations for each setting. Whether you’re willing to read them is a whole other issue as there is simply too many things to customise.
Ideally, it’s best to customise according to your playstyle and not to make it the “fastest” as it can come at the cost of seeing your car crash and burn like a drunk Superman.
DiRT 4 is a solid racing game that many people can enjoy. The problem is, it will take a long time to master so unless you’re already familiar with cars or past DiRT games, it can be very overwhelming.
The visuals and physics engine make it look and feel like you’re driving an actual car.
The game is also very accommodating in the sense that they have options, tutorials and explanations that will help beginners get a better understanding of the game without the need to make it overly simplistic and shooing off the experts of the game. Overall, I enjoyed DiRT 4.
Realistic physics and feel when driving
Accommodating for beginners without the need to overly simplify the game
Race is surprisingly fun
Good variety of game modes
Gives you a good reason to get a steering wheel controller
In-depth game mechanics can be very overwhelming at times
Takes a long time to truly master the game
It’s not a game for everyone