There’s not a whole lot to say about DiRT 4 in the way of gameplay. It’s a racing game that’s very much like every other racing game available right now. You race on various tracks and try to win. You customize your cars, you take care of your crew to keep them happy, thus keeping you in tip top shape to win, there’s weather, there’s a photo mode (if you’ve read my reviews before, you know how much I love photo modes, and this one is definitely not the best or most robust one out there). You crash your car and repair your car, and you win points to level up, unlocking more difficult challenges and tracks. The main difference between most racing games and DiRT 4 is that you mostly race on dirt, hence the name. One thing I really like about DiRT 4, far more than in Horizon 3, is the course creator. You’re given sliders to adjust various course aspects and those generate the course, leaving you with a different course every single time. Also unique to this game is the sponsor system. You negotiate deals with different sponsors who get to put their name on your car in exchange for a nice payout for you upon completing challenges in a race.
Where DiRT 4 really excels is in accessibility. While running races, you always have your co-driver in the passenger seat, giving you essential info (since there’s no mini track map on the screen) to complete the race. They tell you of upcoming curves, dips, and crests, and the severity of each. The game also displays the co-driver’s instructions visually, in symbols at the top of the screen, with varying colors, arrows, and lines indicating exactly what the co-driver says. This seemingly small detail makes what would be a completely unplayable game for deaf players otherwise (because you can’t read captioned spoken instructions and drive) an experience identical to that of hearing players. Unless of course, you dislike the co-driver and are just that good at racing games, that you can ignore the course details and still win. But as a player that relies on directional indicators and minimaps in racing games, this visual depiction of the course info is a godsend. Also helpful is the controller vibration when parts of your car are damaged. While hearing players can hear the different sounds made by different issues, like a tire blow out versus a gear shifter thingy issue (yes, I’m very technical in my car knowledge) deaf players have slightly different vibration patterns for these car problems. These details make for an almost perfectly accessible game.
There is the issue of captions being available to be toggled on or off, but not every spoken bit in the game is captioned. Your co-driver always says something to you before the start of the race, sometimes warning you of crashes or hazards that are on the course, and none of this is captioned. Yes, the road hazards are indicated in the graphics at the top of the screen shortly before you encounter them, but it would be nice to have everything captioned.
The dialogue that is captioned has the same issue that most games have; it’s hard to read white text on a light background and doesn’t have adjustable text size. But it’s there, so that’s something, I guess.
All in all, if rally racing is your thing, or if you’re like me and just think racing games are a lot of fun (it’s helpful that there are two game modes, one for more casual players like myself with less punishing controls, and one for people that want a real simulation experience) DiRT 4 is a great game, and highly accessible, albeit with a few minor issues, but those don’t make it any harder to play or enjoy.
Amazing visual representation of spoken instructions
Captions for some dialogue
Great distinct controller vibration for various car problems
Not everything is captioned
Captions can be hard to read sometimes