Rally cars are set up to oversteer at the slightest provocation. Oversteer, where the car turns more sharply than the wheel is spun, is inherently unstable—and in the hands of an inexperienced driver, fabulously dangerous.
But in rally, it’s what makes getting around a sheer 90-degree bend at speed safely not only possible, but remarkably entertaining for both driver and audience alike.
In a controlled slide across a dirt road, a rally driver endures a mess of tiny brake, throttle, and steering adjustments—an all-yaw battle that allows for quick changes in direction on the unpredictable surfaces of a rally stage.
Learning how to oversteer like a pro—or even worse, perform the dreaded “Scandinavian flick”—can take years of dedicated practice; some people never manage to master it. Perhaps that’s why, when faced with the prospect of driving a virtual rally car in “one of the hardest racing games” ever made, many chose to simply ignore Codemaster’s Dirt Rally rather than battle it (myself included). How best, then, to win those people back—the same people that loved the bombast and “sim-lite” feel of Dirt 2—without losing the latest contingent of realism romantics that made Dirt Rally a huge critical and commercial success?
The answer is simply more of everything. Dirt 4 isn’t just a direct sequel to the more gamer-friendly Dirt 3, nor does it just build on the sim-heavy handling of Dirt Rally.
There is, Codemasters hopes, something for everyone.
The handling, for instance, remains the same as in Dirt Rally, with a few extra tweaks and additions to make it even closer to the real thing.
But if, like me, you’d prefer something a little less terrifying, there’s a new mode that adds a layer of assists between the simulation engine and the controller in an effort to make things a little easier.
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