Dirt 5 Review
Available now on PC, Xbox one and PS4 ( Also coming to next gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X)
Version tested: Xbox One
Dirt 5 looks to be a fun arcade racer with elements of Grid and Motorstorm in it as well as obviously having plenty from the Dirt games of old! One thing that Dirt 5 certainly isn’t is a simulator and for anyone put off by the realism of Dirt in the past there is plenty to like here in the latest offering.
There are no set stages out here for you to master instead you are treated to circuits all with different surface types such as dirt, gravel, tarmac or even snow! These different surfaces are tricky to master and do actually make a significant difference in the way the cars or truck handles. I got caught out on a few occasions due to the road type changing and coming from dirt straight onto tarmac can really take the handling away and cause major problems keeping everything under control.
The different circuits give good variation with the surface types but there is also plenty of ramps and jumps to land as well as trying to actually keep in front of the opposition!
The AI even on easy is pretty aggressive, often pushing you around and occasionally taking you off the track completely but this isn’t a bad thing and the challenge is refreshing. There is no rubber banding here but you will find it difficult to ever get a decent lead which constantly keeps you on your toes.
I spent the majority of my time playing through the career mode, where there are lots of events and gives you a good chance to check out and try some of the games different cars on offer. This is also where you will earn the cash and level up for finishing first and then unlock more events further along the event tree.
Out on the circuits handling is very much aimed at fun, vehicles slide but are easy enough to catch and the sense of speed is fantastic as you hurtle through the air off the last jump. The arcade-style handling is great fun and will suit gamers who don’t want the simulation handling that we are treated to in the other Dirt games, this works well in the racing but can leave you a little frustrated during Gymkhana events that require that little bit more precision and control while manoeuvring through tight gates. I was also lucky enough to try the game with a steering wheel setup but actually found the game suited a controller more as the quick flicks you can perform on a controller can’t really be replicated with a wheel.
Visuals are something of a mixed bag so far and I am personally really intrigued to see the difference on next-gen consoles. Playing on an Xbox One S (Wating for Series X) visuals all looked a little grainy and didn’t really have the detail I expected from a new game, this was far worse when I put the game into performance mode which didn’t really make the game run any smoother but also made visuals even worse so hopefully a patch or the extra power of the next-gen consoles will improve this. The performance was smooth but again it will be interesting to see the next-gen improvements.
Sound on and off the track was great, the background music was punchy and what you would expect from a rally racer with plenty of decent tracks. The vehicles all sound great with good variation and plenty of pops and bangs to really push the immersion further, the commentary during the story mode is nice and it’s good to have some voice acting instead of being left to read anything.
When it comes to other modes there are a few different ones to explore such as quick race modes and then there’s the multiplayer aspect of the game, especially Playgrounds which allows you to make your own circuit and then save and play yourself or upload and allow your mates to have a go.
The uploading is where the game also gains some extra replay value because obviously not only can you upload but you are also able to play other people creations. The creations made up by others really can be impressive especially with how tricky the creation tool can be. These circuits can add hours of gameplay to something that may get a little repetitive in the career mode.
Aside from the multiplayer Playgrounds mode, there is also the much loved split-screen mode allowing you and your friends to tackle different online races and events together.
The online race modes work ok but are weird in the fact you can’t select what vehicle type or track you prefer to race on. Each time you race you will then need to wait to join a new race which just all seems a little long-winded and could do with a little work to help the whole experience.
There are enough modes here to keep players playing and there is also plenty of different car variations to try out and master so content certainly isn’t lacking which is good because games like this can get old quick but thankfully Dirt 5’s fun gameplay and different modes help the game to constantly feel fresh.
Dirt 5 is very much a fun and over the top racer with a real arcade feel. Handling is extremely fun and for most will be a lot more accessible to anyone who doesn’t enjoy the simulator handling of the other Dirt games. Sounds in music and effects are very strong but the visuals aren’t quite as detailed as I expected but happy to say the performance was smooth throughout. Lots of different modes to play including a track creation section adding replay value and a split-screen mode to play with friends. Lots of different vehicles and tracks with different surfaces to master, career mode is the main attraction and winning money and gaining XP to level up will be where you spend most of your time. With next-gen consoles nearly here we can’t wait to play Dirt 5 with the extra horsepower.
7.6 / 10
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Code was provided free of charge for my honest unbiased review.
- Handling is fun and very much arcade styled
- Playgrounds is great fun and adds replay value
- Split-screen multiplayer
- Good sounds throughout and solid performance
- Visuals this gen look grainy especially in performance mode
- Playgrounds creation tools can be fiddly
- Multiplayer selection is a little awkward