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Dirt 4 first footage - the arcade/sim sweet spot returns?

I’ve usually had a lot of time for Codies’ racing games, despite only being a car person to the extent that I can replace the fuse for the cigarette lighter if push comes to shove. They tend to comfortably straddle the line between the cheerful anti-physics of arcade driving games and the stony-faced realism of the sim crowd, which is the sweet spot where I can convince myself that ‘yes, I am incredible race driver man!’

Dirt 4 [official site] sounds as though it’s a game consciously in search of that sweet spot, with Codies having previously talked of fusing Dirt Rally’s “realism” with the rather poppier Dirt 2 and 3’s “fun”. In trailer terms, that means spraying mud, near-misses and possibly inappropriate use of the word “banging” for its soundtrack.

This purports to be ‘gameplay’ footage, but though it seems to be more or less in-engine, I suspect calling it “gameplay” is likely calling Grand Tour scenes “unscripted improvisation”.

Only eternal automobilic lord and master Angela Rippon could say whether or not this is suitably representative of the real experience, but it’s an appealing torrent of car-frenzy nontheless. Dirt 4’s big draw, by the way, is procedurally-generated tracks. No doubt quite a tall order in practice, but in concept I’m definitely down for a racing game in which you have to react rather than rote-learn. Though fixed tracks will be there too, plus we get the return of buggies and trucks.

Oh, and promised for the soundtrack are 40 licensed tracks from the likes of “The Amazons, Sigma, Freak and Pretty Vicious alongside tracks from The Chemical Brothers, Disclosure, Queens Of The Stone Age and Bastille.” Banging? God, don’t ask me, I only listen to ambient noodling these days.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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