racing

Racing along in Dirt 4 and Dirt Rally

While they share a common name and perhaps even a common code base, Dirt 4 and Dirt Rally are indeed quite different in their play style, graphics and implementation. As such, it’s not quite fair to pit the two against each other as so many people do.

Dirt Rally is focused on the precision and unforgiving nature of rally racing. Career mode starts with lower end, two-wheel drive cars and progresses to the more powerful four-wheel models. But, through it all, the goal is to drive as fast and precise as possible, as every second counts, resets are limited and costly, and misjudging a corner will lead to more damage and repair time than your team can afford.

Dirt 4 takes many of the previous Rally traits, but blends them with the arcade feel of Dirt 2 and Dirt 3. The tracks are still technical, the cars are still fast, the misjudged corner can still lead to disaster, but Dirt 4 doesn’t have the same punishing, and admittedly, the same lonely feel as Rally.

Like previous editions, Dirt 4 has head to head competition in Landrush, and offers more vehicle types such as the trucks and buggies seen in Dirt 2. It also offers a “gamer” mode, geared toward those who want an arcade experience versus a simulator feel.

I have both games and enjoy them for different reason. Despite the reviews, they both  have pleasing graphics. Rally is far more technical and will test your nerve, daring you to go faster, but handing out stiff consequences for cutting it too fine.

Dirt 4 is has a wider variety of tracks, vehicles and courses. While still challenging, it feels like you can recover from an early mistake. Yet it still offers the challenge of how much time can you spend repairing the car and still be competitive. And like Rally, you can’t keep clicking Reset until you get the perfect run.

During the Steam sale, the bundle price of both games was less than cost of each individually. I picked up Rally in the previous sale and grabbed Dirt 4 in the latest one. After playing each for several hours, both had me in the grip of white knuckle driving.

Dirt 4 should be compared to Dirt 2 and 3, and by that mark has many advances. I still enjoy Dirt 2, except for the Gymkhana events, which I can do without. Dirt 4 has plenty of challenges, a nice selection of vehicles, and even when mistakes are made, I feel I’m still in contention, if not for the stage, but for the overall standings.

However, with the sales going on, I wholeheartedly feel racers should get both. They are a challenge in different ways. They have their own play styles and satisfy for different reasons.

Both games are excellent, and continue building on a fine franchise. Dirt Rally is a slight departure, but offers plenty of thrills and a more simulator styled experience. Dirt 4 offers a wider variety of racing, and gives an edge of the seat racing experience. Rally will keep you on the edge of your seat as well, but time is the ultimate enemy.

Dirt 4 eschews the glamour of the X-Games style racing of it’s predecessors, but still have the same showy feel. Dirt Rally throws it away all together and your only gauge for how well you’re doing is the tone of your co-drivers voice.

Other articles of interest:

DiRT Rally by Codemasters on Steam Early Access

image So a new entry in the DiRT franchise has literally just popped up on Steam Early Access. Codemasters is putting together DiRT Rally which goes back to the edge of your seat rally racing that many of have been wanting. As several reviews have clearly stated – No Gymkhana.

At first glance the game looks very impressive and by the description of real rally stages, car setup, team mechanics, and car repair it sounds like an impressive and difficult blend of driving and management. In fact, if we jump back over a decade, it reminds me of Mobil 1 Rally Championship which I thought was incredibly fun and challenging game.

If my memory serves, it had something like 250 miles of actual rally stages and not only was it hard to drive, the car constantly took damage. Even if you didn’t slam into barriers, rocks, logs, etc, there was the constant wear and tear on the car and you could only repair it during certain sections. And then you only had a certain amount of time allotted so more than likely the car would still be broken in some respect and you’d have to plan careful to the next stage. Not only that, some of the stages were 15-20 minutes in length so you really had to concentrate and plan. It was glorious!

DiRT Rally seems to bring back a lot of those elements. And if it really does, it’s going to be a must have. I had a great time playing DiRT 2, but it was more arcade style and you could beat the hell out of the car and it would still keep going. You may lose a little time with that spectacular barrel roll, but you could still keep going. I don’t believe it’s going to work that way in DiRT Rally. It doesn’t look like you get Flashbacks or resets, so once you cock it all up, you have to live with the consequences.

If this is the game I think it is, it too will be brilliant. The description sounds right on the money for a real rally racer and from the reviews a lot of people are already singing it’s praises. And again, No Gymkhana.

As stated, the game is Early Access, which seems to scare a lot of people these days. I’m not sure it’s seen as a negative, I like Early Access and getting feedback on what’s working and what’s not. It’s not just about bug reports, but shaping how the game should play and making sure Gymkhana doesn’t creep into the game.

The cost is a dash high for Early Access and it’s initial release. Normally you jump at the discount, but the game is looking good enough that I might overlook that and just get it anyway. I’m still putting in hours on Grid Autosport, but I’m more than willing to put that aside for the opportunity to race through the forest at breakneck speeds!

DiRT Rally by Codemasters

image

Other articles of interest:

Time to get some road rash in Road Redemption

image In my want for blatant vehicle destruction, I took a spin with Road Redemption, another Early Access title that harkens back to the games of old. Remember the chain-wielding, pipe swinging, boot kicking days of Road Rash? Road Redemption will put you back in that mindset.

This is another title that will have you cackling wildly and yelling at the monitor as you work to take down your opponents while keeping out of reach so you don’t take a drain pipe to the head.

This is in no way a motorcycle or racing simulator. This ain’t MotoGP baby! What you do get is a wild ride through the countryside with a bunch of other hooligans while you use whatever means are at your disposal to put yourself in first place. Forget about rules. Forget about playing fair. Forget about that cop that wants to pull you over. That is for the weak!

This is another Early Access title, which of course means anything and everything is subject to change. If you’re looking for a wild ride then this should fit the bill. There are multiple stages, multiple opponents, but don’t get too hung up on having a career mode just yet. All in good time. You’ll still have a great time putting other people in the ground and doing your best to avoid the oncoming shack because you’ve been thrown off course from the latest attack. There is plenty of fun to be had in the early edition and like so many of the other games out there, it’s only going to get better with time. If you want something a little different in your racing adventures, give Road Redemption a try! And it’s on sale.

Road Redemption Early Access on Steam

Other articles of interest:

Next Car Game: Wreckfest

image There’s been an update to Next Car Game, an actual Race Track and a slight variant that makes it into a very large Figure-8. There has also been the addition of multiplayer. It’s been awhile since I got behind the wheel of this one and I’m surprised I been away so long. This game is an utter riot to play! The chances of your getting T-Boned or slammed headlong into the barrier wall are so high that it’s more of a surprise when it doesn’t happen!

This is not a precision racing experience. First of all the cars are far from the high performance machines or other games. They are big, rusty, rear wheel drive clunkers that just might give you tetanus just by looking at them. They drive like crap and have huge amounts of body roll. If you start to lose grip or the back end starts to fish tail, you’re hitting something or someone. But oh my goodness, that makes this game so much fun to play. You have to concentrate so hard on just driving in a straight line that driving a 200mph Ferrari seems easy by comparison.

The collision effects are spectacular to watch and I guarantee you’re going to see your car come flying apart. The bumpers will surely twist off, the doors will get crushed in or perhaps ripped off and the front and back ends will take some serious damage from getting rear-ended or slamming into the wall. Don’t be surprised to see a wheel get torn completely off and you’re left sitting on the track without any suspension and a bullseye painted on you.

Multiplayer is a simple affair and rather than making a massive server everyone connects to, and that perhaps can be taken down without warning at some future point, you connect with local players and someone acts as the server for that game. You can host your own game or just connect with others. It’s a little simplistic and you need good timing to jump in a game with the right track that hasn’t started yet. But when you get in, it’s a wreckfest! There are some seriously bad drivers out there! And in this game, it only takes one person to bump their neighbor and you’ve got a massive pile up.

But let’s not forget the actual demolition derby which is pure chaos when playing against AI or real people. You’re going to get wrecked, the crashes will be spectacular and make no mistake you will be sitting in a twisted hunk of metal before it’s all over.

To put it simply, this game is hilarious. It’s missing a career mode, you don’t win any money, nor can you really fix or upgrade you’re car, but if you’re looking to jump in and race and have a damn good time doing it, then Next Car Game: Wreckfest is where you need to be. It’s still Early Access, so expect the usual flaws and unfinished features, but you can still have a great couple of hours trying out the tracks and racing against other players. Normally 10 laps is a simple race, but not here, that’s an endurance challenge!

Next Car Game: Wreckfest on Steam

Other articles of interest:

Behind the wheel of a fast automobile – Grid Autosport

image Grid Autosport was on sale the other day and it was too tempting a deal to pass up. I’ve got Grid and Grid 2 from Steam as well as Dirt 2, 3 and Showdown and they’re all a hell of a lot of fun to play. Grid Autosport seemed to cause a divide though. Was it too arcade or was it too much simulation?

I found it to be wildly entertaining! It is far less arcade style than the previous Grid games and is more closely aligned with the experience you get in F1 2013 or F1 2013. I spent almost all of my time in the Touring discipline and it’s quite challenging. It’s not easy to get and hold a high position in a race. Small mistakes will cost you a ton of time and wildly slinging the car with complete disregard for damage won’t get you anywhere. I saw my chance for an overtake in a tight turn and used my car like a battering ram. I ricocheted off my competitors and shoved my way into an open slot. A lap later the right front wheel was shot to hell and the steering was ruined. The car so out of alignment I couldn’t finish.

Seems you have to use a bit of skill, timing, strategy and some luck in order to gain positions in this one. My battering ram approach didn’t work out so well. Let me rephrase, it did work out, just not over the long term. Looks like I’ll need to improve my driving skills.

The graphics are excellent as is the sound. It’s a very good experience and oddly I think this is more along the lines of what Assetto Corsa is trying to put together. Except this game can brake in the turns correctly. It definitely needs a more refined touch in order to race effectively. It’s a great deal of fun, but far more challenging than the other titles. Going through a Season of racing should have you on the edge of your seat looking for an opportunity to make up some ground and throwing your hands in the air when a minor mistake costs you several positions. Nitrous won’t help you recover lost ground from a poorly timed turn.

I’m not a huge fan of all the "Power Packs" and add-ons available for Grid Autosport. This is far too much like the nickel and dime mentality of Electronic Arts and no one should follow that model. That didn’t stop me from enjoying this game, I just think it’s a terrible model to follow.

If you just want go get behind the wheel and tear up the track you’ll be frustrated with Grid Autosport. You’d be better off with Dirt 2, Dirt Showdown or Next Car Game. However, if you want to race through seasons where timing and strategy can win a race, then Grid Autosport will make you happy. I got this on sale and am very satisfied with the purchase.

Other articles of interest:

Recent Comments