Head to head comparison between the PC and PS4 Pro versions of DiRT 4.
If you’ve played Dirt 4, or read our review of it, you know that the game is a looker. Being a rally simulator, authenticity is key for Dirt 4, and that authenticity comes from all areas- from visual effects and sound design to the car models and track design. The game excels at the visual part especially. The cars look incredibly detailed and appropriately worn out, tracks and environments all look great, and the weather effects – from the fog to the splashes of water on your windshield – are also commendable.
Codemasters have made a concentrated effort to make that possible. Coming off the back of Dirt Rally, Dirt 4 runs on the same engine as its predecessor, which is the EGO engine, but this time around Codemasters have made significant upgrades. One of Dirt Rally’s biggest strengths was the fact that it ran at a solid 60 frames per second, so retaining that in Dirt 4 was the bare minimum for the development team, but there was also the added challenging of optimizing the game to its maximum for the PS4 Pro. In retrospect, how good does the PS4 Pro version look, and where does it stand in comparison to Dirt 4 running on a PC?
For starters, let’s talk about the PC specifications we are running Dirt 4 on. Our rig was able to game at maxed out settings, as we used a GTX 1080Ti, with 16GB of DDR4 memory and a Ryzen 7 1700 processor. The graphical settings include include various anti-aliasing settings up to 8X MSAA, Anisotropic Filtering, Night Lighting, various effects for Particles, Crowd, Cloth, Mirrors, Ground Cover, Vehicle Details, Weather, Shadow and Mirror Reflections. And then there are some cool extras such as Advanced Blending and Skidmarks.
On these settings, we were able to avoid any bottlenecks and properly use MSAA without any hiccups, and as such, we were able to run the game smoothly at a locked 60 frames per second and at a solid 1080p resolution. Running on maxed out settings on a PC, Dirt 4 has incredibly detailed textures and impressive draw distances, and even shadows and reflections are sharper.
When compared to Dirt 4’s performance on a PC, its performance on a PS4 Pro hold up surprisingly well. The system upgrade for the PS4 Pro has a lot of added horsepower, and as such, the frame rate on the PS4 constantly remains smooth and consistently solid. However, Dirt 4 on the PS4 Pro does not always run exactly at 60 frames per second, but it is always at least in that range, so that effectively, the shortfalls are barely even noticeable. What is noticeable, though, is the fact that on the PS4 Pro, Dirt 4’s maximum settings only allow a resolution of 1080p. Considering the console’s capabilities and the fact that the game will probably support 4K on the Xbox One X, this seems like a real missed opportunity, and seeing how impressive the game looks running at 4K on a PC does this lack of feature no favours. There is, of course, a chance that Codemasters adds an eventual patch that fixes this issue, and we hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Draw distances and textures are far more impressive on a maxed out PC, and even with anti-aliasing on the PS4 Pro, the console variant of Dirt 4 doesn’t look as good as its PC counterpart. Similarly, reflections and shadows on the PC are far crisper and more finely detailed on a PC than on the PS4 Pro.
In comparison to the base PS4, the PS4 Pro version of Dirt 4 looks significantly better. We’ve already discussed how the game runs at a solid 60 frames per second, and even though the the lack of a true 4K or even checkerboard 4K is a disappointment, the smoother and more consistent frame rate helps the game play and look much better. It’s also worth noting that the PS4 Pro version allows proper use of MSAA, whereas MSAA is not supported at all in the base PS4 version.
It’s a shame that in spite of that, Dirt 4 barely takes advantage of the considerably more powerful GPU the PS4 Pro has on offer with respect to the base PS4. The sum of all this is that Codemasters’ latest entry in this acclaimed franchise does, admittedly look great on the PS4 Pro, but it doesn’t feel like it’s taken full advantage of the hardware.