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Dirt 4 has more rally stages than you could ever play
Track generating technology offers a nearly endless supply of courses
Hot on the mudflaps of the excellent Dirt Rally, Dirt 4 has been announced. And it will offer you more unique rally stages than you could ever conceivably play within your feeble human lifespan.
It’s down to a smart new track-generating technology called Your Stage. Its development was inspired by the fact that in a more conventional rally game with a limited number of courses, you eventually learn every corner off by heart. Real rallyists, who drive a hundred or so miles of stages over the course of an event don’t have that luxury. They have to listen to the rapid-fire pace notes from the co-driver as they charge over a blind crest and hope the bloke in the passenger seat hasn’t gotten two pages of his notes stuck together.
With Your Stage, you specify the location, length and complexity of the stage and the game will spit out a totally convincing ribbon of gravel, tarmac or snow that winds its way across a chunk of real-world topography. We played a selection of stages from the Australian location and, placed side-by-side with the routes from Dirt Rally, you’d be hard pushed to identify which one wasn’t crafted by a human hand. Well, unless you’re Neo from the Matrix and see everything as green ones and zeroes.
The functionally infinite number of courses doesn’t mean there won’t be a proper game to be completed, though. The team at Codemasters have hand-picked 300 of the very best stages to create a vast career mode that will see you visiting four additional locations, Sweden, Michigan, Spain and Wales. It’s also been designed to be more accessible than the unashamedly hardcore Dirt Rally, with an optional control scheme that makes the cars chuckable for beginners but preserves the technical brilliance underneath.
If you like to be able to clatter into the competition on your way to victory, World Rallycross is back, too, with the addition of the Montalegre and Lohéac Bretagne bringing the total number of circuits up to five. In addition, there’ll be realistically simulated off-road buggies, Trophy Trucks and Crosskarts to launch over berms in Nevada and California if you prefer your motorsport with lashings of barbecue sauce.
Dirt 4 arrives in June and is shaping up to be a blend of the technical, challenging simulation elements of Dirt Rally with the more accessible, knockabout fun of the previous number-suffixed Dirt games. If it can strike that balance and offer a genuinely unique rally stage every time you launch from the start line, then there’s a very real danger we might never stop playing. Best stock up on nutrition shakes and adult diapers now…