22 years later - long after the sad closure of Studio Liverpool - the iconic WipEout series has a first UK chart number one. Ironically it's a collection of old games, in the WipEout Omega Collection on PS4, that achieved it.
6th June 2017
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26th January 2017
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.
Dirt was always positioned as the Colin McRae Rally series' louder, brasher offspring, taking Codemasters' wonderfully pliable off-road racers and giving them a heavy American slant (at a time, it's worth remembering, when the late Scottish superstar was wowing fans across the Atlantic with his showstopping antics in the X-Games). It was a play for a broader audience that might have proved divisive, but it did result in a handful of lavish, bold and enjoyable games that were often more glitz than grime.
Welcome to your weekly sampler of the last seven days at Outside Xbox, where we've been getting revved up for Dirt 4.
Dirt 4 is the next full-fat instalment in the best rally series in videogames. After Early Access game Dirt Rally found success by appealing to people who want to be punished by massively challenging simulation handling, Dirt 4 aims to cater for hardcore rally sim fans and more casual players alike. Here's everything you need to know, illustrated in new gameplay.
Also on our minds this week: quick time events. A QTE is usually a simple button-pressing mini game that lets you pull off something cool with relative ease. In order for these interactive cutscenes to actually be interactive, though, there has to be a consequence for when you fail to hit that button - such as an humiliating pratfall.
The release of Dirt Rally in 2015 felt like a pivotal moment for Codemasters. Having meandered in previous years away from its more grounded racing roots in its quest for the mainstream, this full-blooded, teeth-baring sim wasn't simply a return to the old ways; it was a total reinvention of the studio's philosophy. Here was a driving game that spat gravel in the face of anyone who dared come near it without working knowledge of load transfer and trail-braking, and it was all the better for it. The only question was, where could Codemasters go from there? What would happen when Dirt eventually went back to catering for the masses?
Dirt 4 is finally official, and it's coming out this June for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Codemasters' off-road game is the first proper Dirt sequel since 2011's Dirt 3, though of course since then we've had the brilliant Dirt Rally and the not quite so brilliant Dirt Showdown.
Dirt 4 seems to be building on the success of 2015's Dirt Rally, with a focus on realism as well as a little extra accessibility thrown in to boot. It'll carry the official FIA World Rallycross Championship license, including settings such as Lohéac Bretagne, Hell, Holjes & Lydden Hill, while it'll also introduce dirt track racing in buggies, trucks and crosskarts.