Dirt Showdown

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Dirt 4 announced, and it's out this year

Dirt 4 announced, and it's out this year

Buggies and procedurally generated tracks feature in Codemasters' latest.

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.

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Dirt Showdown Review

Dirt Showdown Review

Muddy funster.

"Is it a downloadable game?" If I had a pound for every time I'd been asked that while playing Dirt Showdown then I would have, well, £3. Still, that's three times that the first instinct of one of the people walking past our games room was to inquire about this new racing game's origins, which suggests not everyone has gotten their head around Codemasters' latest brand extension, or that it raises some doubt at first sight.

It's not a downloadable game though; it's a boxed release that happens to draw its name and some of its inspiration from Codies' increasingly gnarly rally game series, itself an offshoot of the superb Colin McRae games. It's also, along with Ridge Racer Unbounded, proof that the arcade racing genre isn't just surviving following the closures of studios like Bizarre Creations and Black Rock, but delivering some of its best work.

But whereas Ridge Racer Unbounded was a subtle trick - a rollercoaster of destruction, balancing on the knife edge of a thrilling handling model that almost didn't work - Dirt Showdown's success is much more familiar: brilliant racing disciplines, accessible handling, gorgeous presentation and tremendous variety.

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DiRT Showdown release date announced

DiRT Showdown release date announced

Demo due 1st May. New gameplay video released.

Dirt spin-off DiRT Showdown launches on 25th May, Codemasters Racing has announced.

That's Friday 25th May in the UK, Thursday 24th May across mainland Europe, and in the US on 29th May.

A demo launches on Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace on 1st May, the same day Codemasters Racing's new RaceNet community hub and stat tracking platform launches. The demo features a solo and multiplayer event.

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Dirt Showdown Preview: The Ghost of Destruction Derby

FeatureDirt Showdown Preview: The Ghost of Destruction Derby

Codemasters spins off into a violent new direction.

Motorsport is glitz and it is glamour. It's the teardrop curve of an F1 car as it reflects Monaco's harbourline, its perfect swoop capturing a moment of speed in carbon fibre, or the romantic siren call of a V8 as it bounces across the housefronts of the Mulsanne Straight in the dead of night.

That's one ideal, anyway. There's another world of weekend heroics where the smell of simmering bacon grease mixes with that of engine oil and damp grass, and where the cars, with their punctured bodywork and torn-off doors, capture a moment of violence rather than one of speed.

I used to go there myself, when trips to the likes of Silverstone and Brands Hatch were out of the question. Here, in a track marked out of discarded tires in the backwaters of Bovingdon, drivers would take out their frustrations on one another, turning each other to pulp over the course of a slow Sunday afternoon. It's a spectacle that, for its lack of airs and graces, offers just as much as any Grand Prix or sportscar race.

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Demo Derby-style Dirt Showdown announced

Demo Derby-style Dirt Showdown announced

Coming May 2012, to complement Dirt 4.

Codemasters has Demolition Derby-style racing game Dirt Showdown. It's due out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2012.

This is an additional release in the Dirt series - there will still be a Dirt 4.

As such, Showdown is free to pursue new things - things like smashing and crashing, gymkhana, pyrotechnics and screeching crowds.

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