DiRT 4 Crashes and Burns on Steam – Is Handling to Blame?

It appears that the vocal minority on the game’s official subreddit proclaiming DiRT 4 to be dropping like a rock in terms of popularity might actually have a basis for their arguments. Calling upon data that can be attained by anyone venturing over to Steamcharts, which in this case puts Codemasters’ most recent rally simulator alongside their 2015 science project DiRT Rally, indicates that despite launching earlier this month, DiRT 4 has aged almost two entire years in just two and a half weeks. Exhibiting a steady decline in active players since the title’s release, it’s the majority of customers – along with the vocal minority on Reddit – who have spoken the loudest. DiRT 4 has not been very well received by the core audience it was built for, and it’s caused such an uproar among hardcore racing game fans, it’s actually led to DiRT Rally for Windows operating systems receiving a tangible boost in active players over the previous week; DiRT 4’s early adopters promptly jumping ship in favor of a more refined driving experience.

Though mainstream gaming websites have showered DiRT 4 with universal praise, and implied Codemasters have struck gold with the formula of pairing light team management elements with unique stage generation software, the sim racing community – in other words, a large portion of the userbase – obviously doesn’t echo the same feelings of gratitude and appreciation. In many instances I would be quick to attribute a mass migration such as this one primarily on the copious amounts of sim dads in our community for being too stubborn to put up with the mandatory yet extremely basic staff and sponsorship elements that are integral to the game’s progression, but alas, this is not the case. The reality is that DiRT 4’s tweaked physics are so profoundly backwards to drive, the physical act of flying through a gravel stage at speed is leaving droves of sim racers wholly unsatisfied with the experience, and they are willing to put up with significantly less to see and do if it means the action behind the wheel makes any sort of sense.

I’ve been doing my best to fire up DiRT 4 on a regular basis, as I support the direction Codemasters have taken by combining hardcore simulation elements with some sort of living, breathing world around your virtual rally team, but with each passing online challenge I complete, and the more career events I participate in, the elephant in the room eventually stamps its feet and throws my Subaru into the Australian forest. Whether it be the tires themselves, the way the gravel surface has been modeled, or a hidden stability assist you can’t completely turn off, DiRT 4 is very perplexing and counter-intuitive to drive. Though I had been able to figure out what was required of me from the physics engine and promptly flew through the modern rally and landrush campaign branches during my first evenings with the game, returning to DiRT 4 after a few days of inactivity left me woefully incompetent behind the wheel – I started to see why so many have subjected this game to a public lashing in regards to vehicle handling. This is not how a race car drives on a loose surface.

There was a daily challenge with the Lancia Delta S4 in Michigan a few days ago – one of my personal favorite rally cars across any rally simulator – and I honestly felt like a fish out of water. The car struggled to maintain a nice, smooth, balanced slide over the flowing crests of the Michigan trails, and upon instinctively wiggling the wheel just a tad to stabilize the car at the apex, it felt like a metaphorical hand of god was simultaneously yanking on the front axle to go where it wanted and temporarily disconnecting my wheel from the steering rack, resulting in a situation where the front would grip an insane amount for just a split second, and literally whip the rear around. Promptly destroying the vehicle and jumping into another ride, I found the Group A Subaru Impreza to be just as perplexing, if not for a different reason – the nice, flowing slides I was able to casually maintain just by being smooth and working with the weight transfer in DiRT Rally were now impossible; the car exhibited a worrying amount of understeer that wasn’t related to the differential; it’s like there was infinite rubber sidewall flex.

The 1980’s BMW M3, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, is absolutely atrocious – the car understeers when applying excessive power to the rear wheels at the apex of a tight corner, something you don’t need to be a professional rally driver to understand is extremely wrong. What should have been the best sportsman car in the game – a vehicle for budding sim racers to hone their driving skills – is instead a confusing mess of driving techniques that just don’t work when they should.

Unlike many developers in the sim racing scene, Codemasters have openly acknowledged that several cars on DiRT 4’s vehicle roster did not receive the appropriate tender love & care prior to launch, and that’s precisely why so many cars are downright unsatisfying to pilot in the current iteration of the game.

Unfortunately, Codemasters are late for the eternal science fair. Sim racers have already spent years upon years sitting around with their thumbs up their asses in the hopes that just one of their favorite developers will get their shit together – this is the kind of thing that started PRC.net in the first place – and at least according to the data, DiRT 4 is where customers have finally chosen to draw the metaphorical line as to what’s acceptable to wait for, and what they couldn’t care less about. And in all honesty, they have every right to do so. DiRT 4 was marketed as the polished, remastered, and finalized iteration of DiRT Rally – built with a proper development cycle behind it – and instead their audience have been treated to yet another season of “hurry up and wait.That’s not something they signed up for.

It’s extremely disheartening to see a developer admit on launch day, after months of hype and promises of a grandiose, complete rally experience, that they basically had to rush through something like half the vehicles on the roster. And while the game’s lack of content is certainly one of it’s most prominent blemishes, I’m under the belief that a competent driving model would certainly assist in downplaying the repetition seen in Your Stage, or the extremely brief career strands. Avid DiRT Rally fans were certainly more than willing to put up with just twelve total stages considering the underlying driving experience was so good, so a similar feel behind the wheel with repetitive stage chunks would have done little to undermine one’s overall enjoyment of the DiRT 4 as it exists in our collective imaginations.

However, the audience has spoken. Because Codemasters were unable to rectify the glaringly obvious handling issues in time for launch – or shortly thereafter – DiRT 4 has tanked on sim racers’ platform of choice, falling to DiRT Rally levels of obscurity just weeks after launch, and multiple years after DiRT Rally was first brought on to Steam’s Early Access platform. Unless Codemasters can both fix the remaining broken cars, as well as inject new environments and races into what’s already been constructed DiRT 4 is destined to be merely a stopgap title for the inevitable DiRT 5, forcing us to embark on another round of the waiting game for the umpteenth time.


49 thoughts on “DiRT 4 Crashes and Burns on Steam – Is Handling to Blame?

    1. This. It was very easy to see through D4 hype because the pre-release footage was showing some serious flaws. Similar things can be seen from pCars 2 videos and I’m very surprised if it’s gonna change. It seems like both of these studios bite more than they can chew..


  1. The handling is not the biggest problem for me.I find the game just has no longevity because it is just not addictive enough.I was expecting nearly all the rally cross tracks and double the rally stages.The Minis were great in rallycross in Dirt Rally and they have been taken out of the new game.


  2. It’s just bloody boring. Yes, there are a lot of idiots out there who think that, barring the known issues with the rear grip and the overly iffy weight transfer, Dirt Rally was more realistic, but the real problem is simply that the game doesn’t have anywhere near enough to offer.

    I like it more than Dirt Rally and it’s definitely more realistic, but between the bad default setups, the continued lack of a patch for things like the infinite rear grip, the stage generator using the same tiles over and over (and very few of them at that) and the cars simply not feeling very fun right now, I just have no reason to play it anymore and feel that it has run its course. It feels sad to think that Motorsport Manager got several times more hours of play time out of me than Dirt 4. Then again, why play it when I can get a lot more enjoyment out of doing something I actually enjoy doing? In general, this is making me wonder if simracing just isn’t for me, since it feels more and more like any added realism doesn’t actually transfer to outright enjoyment – I still get way more enjoyment out of the CM F1 games than any sim out there right now, which shouldn’t be happening.

    Even the casual fans aren’t really getting much out of it from what I’m seeing. Hardly any one of them is talking about the game at all right now, and the few that do seem to still prefer Dirt 3 over this, which is really sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Basically it comes down to this:
      Is D4 more realistic than DR? Yes.
      Does it have crippling flaws? Yes.
      Are they fixable? Yes.
      Were DR’s own crippling flaws fixable? No.
      Are DR’s cars more fun to drive even with them being less realistic? Hell fucking yes.
      Will fixing those aforementioned flaws change that? Hell fucking no.


      1. quote: “Is D4 more realistic than DR? Yes.”
        I feel like my answer would be precisely: “Yes AND No”.

        Otherwise I pretty much agree. The addition of just 2 new RX-tracks for a total of JUST 5 makes this “official FIA World Rally-X – game” a bit of a let-down in it’s own punchline.

        Rally-games are ultimately about making me mimik the actions, thought-process and driving-vigor of a rally driver. When the cars handle ass-backwards this just does not materialize when playing any driving-sim the way it is meant to be played: “driven” not button-mashing QTEs.


  3. Dirt 4 is definitely NOT more realistic. If the rear grip problem was a simple flaw, they would have solved it by now. But 2 weeks have passed, and no sign of fixing it. It is clear that the “simulation” was coded poorly and there is not much that can be done, other than throw this pile of shit game that is dirt 4 and build a proper dirt rally 2.


    1. >If the rear grip problem was a simple flaw, they would have solved it by now.
      The same way the revised physics for Dirt Rally were done in a couple of weeks? That’s bullshit and you know it.

      Two weeks is nothing in game development terms, doubly so for something as difficult to get right as proper sim physics.


  4. YouTube has decided to openly endorse faggotry with a new spotlight video containing the hashtag #ProudToBe.

    The video has been met with widespread disgust and outrage. It has been massively disliked. As I write this comment, the video has received over 195,000 dislikes.

    Adolf Hitler has left several comments and many – including President Donald John Trump – have called for the immediate construction of gas chambers. Unfortunately, many of their comments have been quickly deleted by the YouTube thought police.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, folks. When you have the largest video-sharing website on the planet promoting faggot and tranny rights, can they really be considered an oppressed group? Seems to me that they are a greatly privileged group who have been given huge media megaphones to promote their political views.

    The status-quo is unacceptable. It’s time that we put these sick faggots and freaks back in the closet. They are ruining society with their disgusting behavior. It is good to see that the public is finally starting to realize that these people are a major problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mr. Anonymous is correct. Autism and faggotry are indeed connected. Faggots are obsessed about three things: buttsex, promoting their faggotry, and silencing and oppressing normal(=anti-homosexual) people.

      The other Mr. Anonymous is, I believe, less correct. I wish the public really did start to realize how much of a problem the homosexual agenda is, but I don’t think they do. Youtube reveals the primal herd-like group thinking mentality of us ‘evolved’ and ‘intelligent’ humans very clearly. Have you ever noticed those videos with ONLY positive comments endorsing whatever the subject is about? Then you might also have seen videos with ONLY negative comments. Have you ever wondered why it’s so black and white? It’s called peer pressure. One sheep launches itself into a deep river, and then another follows, and before you know it the whole group killed itself because of their herd instinct.

      Faggots are relying on the group-thinking mentality of humans to comply and accept their disorder. With militant faggot-enablers who stop at nothing to make you believe their deathstyle is an ‘alternative way of living’, you become one of their slaves in an army of brainless, soulless pawns defending one of the sickest and most harmful subcultures in existence.

      If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with dirt rally, or even sim-racing, ask yourself this: in a world where faggotry is accepted, you would risk getting raped merely by opening the door because some perverted faggot just happened to drop along… and guess what happens if you try to call the police on that particular faggot for raping you? He’d sue you for committing a hate crime, and you would go to jail for not approving of the homosexual ‘lifestyle’, and you’re gonna get raped some more once you’re in prison. How are you going to play racing games then? You’re not. You will die from getting your butt ripped apart by homosexual inmates. Ouch.

      Got children? Would you like to keep them? You better praise the homosexual ‘virtues’ every waking moment of your life, because if one sick little faggot even so much as suspects you don’t support faggots with every fiber in your body, your kids will be taken away, because a
      homophobic(=normal) parent is not allowed to raise children in a ‘open-minded’ modern society. Your children will be put in foster care with some ‘loving’ homosexuals who will show your kid that fisting is completely normal and eating poop is perfectly natural and healthy. You still feel like playing racing games if your kids got stolen only to be trained to become members of an elite horde of hyper perverted monsters? I don’t think so.

      Do you like having these nice, professional looking peripherals for your racing sim? What if your shifter stick had the shape of a dildo, and you’d had to suck on it to turn it on? Sounds homosexual and creepy? What if dirt rally and other sims had a co-driver talking to you with a homosexual lisp, trying to flirt with you while reading his pace notes? What? Don’t like it? What if the realism in sims went up by introducing damage repairs in pitlane, only for nothing to happen because the mechanics were horny and decide to use their time to suck each other’s dicks instead of repairing your car?

      Ultimately, it is your choice. Do you really want to embrace faggots? The consequences are severe, and being silent only helps their cause. It is time to put a stop to the insanity. It is time to stop the homosexual agenda. Spread the word before it’s too late.


  5. If I were Codemasters, I would have developed Dirt 4 purely as a simcade game similar to the previous numbered entries, released it as a companion title alongside Dirt rally, and then continue to support both games.


    1. That would’ve been just as questionable in the long run, to be fair, as many of Dirt Rally’s major problems (lack of weight etc) cannot be fixed without making an entirely new game.


      1. No, it would require an updated handling model, not a new game. There is nothing that cannot be fixed in a game; Half-life 2, for example, is practically running on a different engine than when it first came out. Every time Codemasters says something “cannot be fixed”, it’s either them being lazy or inept.


  6. DIRT 4 seems to be selling well on both consoles though. The harsh reality is that is where the developers make most of their money.

    If the dedicated hardcore sim player market is so profitable why do we see many of the main sim games make the move to console? Install base and often double or more the sales of pc games.

    The move to console requires more accessibility, this upsets the purists. Console players expect the games to actually work too.

    DiRT 4 is an excellent game and that is all it is. There are already plenty of narrow attention to detail pc sims out there – many also conveniently ignore flags, rules, weather as it suits them. If D4 can add what the vocal hardcore want fine but I hope they keep the game as it is.


    1. Dirt Rally was a nice “diversion-title” with simulation-esque elements in it. Driving was enjoyable on a basic level as long as I did not want to beat the “local aliens”. Then I felt I would have had to throw real-world technique out the window and purely persue a different game of “advanced memory”.

      That said, beating the single-player part of the game was no biggie while sticking to proper driving-technique most of the time. And those stages were few and short, but so addictive and beautifully recreated/crafted! Sounds were amazing. Car line-up was the most extensive in terms of blue-print variety / “recipe” of design that I would not even think of complaining. How people would still bash the guys for not including enough cars just does not make any sense to me, at all.

      Dirt 4 sim-mode was released half-baked at best. Not sure why they even released sim-mode on launch-day and not made it available at a later point in time.
      But to be fair, I am judging the game purely by the stage-rally part of it. It is marketed as the official FIA WRX game after all… …with just 5 tracks to back that title up (what a poor attempt at making it appeal to potential buyers!), 3 of them being copy&paste affairs from Dirt Rally – I feel like having bought half of that content twice, now! And I am sure you will all agree that I did do exactly that. Have not driven Rally-X more than that early-on career-race, yet – so I won’t rate that stuff, yet. But I think Rally-X is probably most-enjoyable as a spectator-sport. Did not even touch Landrush once, as of yet – which probably tells you how much of a let-down my first ~15h on Dirt 4’s rally stages were for me.

      Bought the steel-book on good faith knowing I would never get a refund. Thought the guys deserved the full amount because of their promising work they did with Dirt Rally. And should they actually be capable of fixing their sh_dt up and make forget Dirt 4’s release-day handling-trainwreck through later patches, I will not fault them for that.

      But for any other sim-nut interested in a stage-rally sim, I would suggest to hold off until the more knowledgeable part of the community tells you at the top of their voice to risk taking a closer look. If you have played it cool until now, you haven’t missed anything (good), yet. In the mean time, enjoy your known-good sims and games that keep you coming back for more. Cause right now, Dirt-4 is not one of those.


  7. Dirt 4 is just another of those games austin hyped on prc. But he puts down games like Assetto Corsa which are more played than pcars, dirts, ams, rf2, raceroom.

    Go figure…


  8. I have zero interest in Dirt 4. I’ll just keep waiting for the Dirt Rally DLC with new real world stages that will never happen.


  9. None of you losers would be able to actually drive a rally car of any sort for more than a couple of minutes without promptly wrapping it around a tree.

    But you want something that’s ultra realistic.

    DR is realistic enough for you.


    1. So if we can’t race a rally car like a pro we’re losers? Is called simulation for a reason, to do it in a safe environment.


      1. If you’re bitching about wanting a driving sim not being realistic enough, and yet couldn’t handle anymore realistic, then Yes. You’re a typical simracing tool.

        If CM actually made a highly accurate, RBR-style rally sim, it would please approximately 0.2% of the market (composed entirely of middle aged simdads), who would promptly go to the forums talking about how great it is that they can’t get through 30 seconds of a stage without wiping out.

        Meanwhile, the only market that matters (consoles) would reject the game outright as being suitable only for PC autists.

        This will never fucking happen, so keep bitching.


        1. bro you’re bitching more about something than anyone else. Maybe it’s you, James.

          First of all, I haven’t bitched about anything, I didn’t say anything about sims being too hard. Also too hard or too easy doesn’t matter. It matters to be as realistic as possible (the cars and the road/environment). Then if the consequence of realistic is easy or hard, is subjective to the player.

          So what if, hypothetically, they would make a rally sim as realistic as possible, meaning it becomes as hard as real rallying. Means the game is good and is a good challenge for everyone.

          What’s this no sense lately that just because many wouldn’t handle race cars properly in real life at competitive pace, it means that devs shouldn’t make sims anymore? We are playing simulation games, it doesn’t matter how hard or easy it is, is a simulation of the real thing and we enjoy that.

          Is also non sense to expect anyone to hop on a rally or f1 car and do well, no matter how experienced sim race you are. You need years of practice in real race cars and need to be fit and properly instructed to handle real vehicles. That’s why we are playing sim racing games, because we didn’t follow the real life motorsports life path, this is just a hobby, a pastime after our work or school and we don’t appreciate to be demeaned against real life professional racers just because we are playing sim racing games. Is obvious to everyone that they grew up with the real race cars, but we are just playing sim racing and we also like them to be as realistic as possible, because that’s the fun and challenge of this gaming genre.


          1. Simracing is unique in its ability to attract people who’d rather pound out long, meandering invectives than actually race.

            You fit right in. Bro.


    2. For me it’s less realism and more being just realistic enough to convince me it’s realistic whether it’s actually realistic or not. If it feels satisfying, that’s all I ask for. DiRT 4 seems to have hit a range for a lot of people where it doesn’t quite feel right, whether “right” is anything like reality or not.


  10. I bought and continue to enjoy Dirt Rally. As an outsider dumb consumer, I can’t see where the hook is with Dirt 4 to make me buy it. It just looks like more of the same. Probably many people feel the same way? Where’s the one thing that’d make players put down Dirt Rally and go and buy this?


    1. DiRT 4 is a much better game, team progression, cars and upgrades all work well. DiRT Rally was a tech demo, good as it was, that tried to become a game.


  11. Going to put this out there… Maybe, just maybe all those #noVRnoBuy people actually didn’t buy this time. Maybe they actually held up to this promise and with all of the negative reviews, like me have decided not to buy it at all and have turned back to Dirt Rally for some Bush bashing VR fun.

    Maybe just maybe… The VR contingent of PC SIM racers aren’t as niche as people think…


    1. I don’t agree with this, James have told us countless times VR doesn’t matter and is irrelevant. In fact James suggested yesterday to Ian Bell to remove this feature from pcars2 along with support for DD wheels and any equipment that costs over $300. SMS will pass to include Black Flag ebook with each copy of the game.

      PRC and SMS are the bosses of sim racing, they set the trends and say what’s good and what isn’t. Pcars2 best sim prc 10/10, ign 12/10. All the others are sub par unfinished messes and gran turismo failed esport.

      Tomorrow on the press: SMS acquires IGN.


      1. VR is irrelevant as of today.
        It will become relevant when we can actually look into the turn AND clearly see what is beyond 3 yards in front of us. When resolution has increased about 8 times for the ~180° FOV that would be desirable (from what current 1st-gen consumer HMDs offer).

        Yeah, that is approximately going to NEED 8 €1200 gaming-GPUs in 1 box in order to power such a “usable” device @90+ minimum-fps without inducing nausea and headaches. And that is for today’s games – not what you will play in 10 years time when GPU-performance of 2-way or 3-way systems finally catches up to this level.

        Your electricity-provider will love you, as will your custom HPC-cluster builder.

        That Leo Bodnar Steering-System for about 4.5k just sounds more and more like a bargain!


        1. LOL.. your funny. Oh wait .. your not joking.

          VR is very relevant today. Picture quality is exactly the same as sitting 2 inches from your monitor.

          Supersampling goes a long way to lifting native image quality.

          The unsung hero of VR is 3D and spacial awareness… Not the picture quality.

          Yes VR will get better over time and demand more GPU to do it.

          VR today has done more to pushing GPU makers to lift their game and deliver performance increases instead of the pissy progress we’ve had for years.

          You don’t pay a thousand bucks on a VR headset and still play race games on your monitor.

          Immersion is everything for those wanting the experience and not easily distracted by pretty high res candy of monitors.

          Finally once you do VR… And you click with it. There is literally no going back. It’s been said on every vr thread forum everywhere.

          VR might not be for everyone, but for those who like it… It’s everything to them.


          1. You’re full of shit. You can’t see shit in the distance, it’s all muddy and looks like a bad CRT from the early 90’s.

            Supersampling cannot increase clarity – it’s just better AA. It’s a crude brute-force hack that quadruples the GPU power needed.

            GPU power is still increasing at a healthy rate that’s entirely similar to what we’ve enjoyed in the past. You’re thinking of *CPU* power, which hasn’t increased appreciably since Sandy Bridge.

            Sure, some people “click with it”. Some people click with child porn. Doesn’t make it right for the rest of us 😉


            1. How the fuck would you think to link a discussion on the status of VR technology with child porn… There is fundamentally something wrong with the way your brain processes information …


          2. I am not against VR per say.
            Stereo-vision HMDs will be the new triple-screens when their time comes.

            No doubt my prefered “8x better resolution” will not be reached any time soon, maybe never. Because: sim-racing is a niche and most VR gaming-ideas do not depend on resolution as much as sim-racing and especially sim-rally (stage-rally) where good drivers are capable of looking FAR ahead and compute at least 3 alternate lines for the most relevant dangers and anticipated events of influence they need to be able to mitigate at break-neck speed long before they reach their point on the horizon.

            Maybe we will get the next “4k”-ish median-common resolution times 2 and then stagnate there for a while. Keep in mind the motion-picture industry just started thinking about jumping to near 60 images per second. Being a child of the 90s where we had XGA-monitors at 100..120Hz (vertical) all day long for 20..25% more than the cheap crappy stuff… …this VR-craze that has just barely set it’s intermediate first goal-post at 90fps – because GPU-throughput is limiting them at their less than stellar resolution…

            …it is going to take a while.

            Also what about a wider adoption of wider-than-sRGB colour-gamut? a new common divider greater than that. What about 10-bit colour-channels for smoother gradients without banding?

            It took reasonably-priced lcd-monitors to adopt true 8-bit panels more than 15 years for crying out loud.
            Panel-makers now would like to bump up pixel-count yet they are still damaging our eyes with crappy backlighting-controll, flickering, uneven non-continuous light-spectra by the use of the cheapest of the cheap “white LEDs” pushing way more blue-light than desirable…

            …I want for all of that to actually get better, not stagnate.
            But I dream too much. It is all about the quick buck. Not the quick progress into better and more healthy products and technology!


  12. I firmly believe that Dirt 4 is a better game than Dirt Rally. I find it more *enjoyable to play* and that’s after logging ~1100hrs in DR.

    The couple of issues I do have with Dirt 4–namely the limited rally locations, inexplicable velcro-like grip at times and lack of VR support–can likely be remedied with some patches and DLC. The question is whether or not Codemasters decides to do so.

    I hope they do.


  13. PCARS 2 has a 17% preorder discount on Steam.

    I’m looking forward to your article explaining why this is the case. Surely such a game with such hype and perfect McLaren handling does not need early discounting to sell it?

    Also the Digital Deluxe edition is £75 and only includes the first 4 DLC packs not all future DLC. Didn’t you write an article recently slamming Forza 7 for charging £80 for the same deal? Are PCARS2 fans also outraged? This version only gets an 11% discount too which seems strange.

    Please enlighten us.


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