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Dirt 4 impresses on consoles, but PC offers the complete package

Codemasters returns with the latest series entry for its Dirt rallying series, and its objective here is clear: to retain and indeed expand upon the hardcore simulation aspects of the excellent Dirt Rally, and to combine it with a more accessible, user-friendly arcade mode too. The developer’s Ego engine is pushed still further this time around, which begs the question – can the technology meet the increased demands of this more ambitious title, and can it retain the solid 60fps that characterised the previous game? And on top of that, what additional features does the PC version bring to the table?

To its credit, Codemasters has made it clear that achieving locking to 60fps is the priority here – and in playing the title, it’s easy to see why. There’s a tangible improvement in controller response compared to the last-gen 30Hz Dirt titles, and the sense of feedback is on another level. To ensure the best chance of retaining that super-smooth frame-rate, Dirt 4 employs the use of a dynamic resolution scaler – it’s implemented on all consoles, but its effects are more noticeable on the Xbox One version of the game, especially in the most intense, GPU-heavy areas of the game.

However, diving into straight rallying gameplay, there’s very little to tell the console versions apart. The PlayStation 4 version appears to employ higher precision anti-aliasing over Xbox One, with improved MSAA coverage. There’s the sense of additional refinement as opposed to any particular game-changing improvements, while shifting to PS4 Pro sees Codemasters deploy a range of further visual boosts. There’s improved shadow quality, increased MSAA coverage on environments, better reflections and refined environment map resolution. The rear-view mirror also gets MSAA coverage, something that doesn’t happen on base hardware. Pro doesn’t appear to require much in the way of dynamic resolution scaling throughout gameplay, and has a tighter lock to the target 1080p resolution.