Three years ago, DiRT 4 launched as a racing simulator. It seems that Codemasters’ roadmap slightly changed to another plan for the series after DiRT 4, as DiRT Rally 2.0 in 2019 quickly took first place for game racing games.
Now, DIRT 5 gets rid of the hyperrealism and the urge to be a simulator, in favour of an off-road racing game, that presents itself well enough. But is this a game that does it all by little and in a fund does not bring? Or have the Codemasters learned from all of their past mistakes, so it doesn’t happen again in DiRT 5? Let’s check it out in our review!
A book is not judged by the cover and nowhere is this more evident than in DIRT 5. The game may seem like it was meant for the casual fan who just wants to play a racing game once in a while, but Codemasters have evolved the experience in the racing genre.
DiRT 5 is a game with great looks and will undoubtedly seem much better if we talk about next-gen consoles, even though we played it on a high-end PC. With a focus on graphics, DiRT 5 looks fantastic, being by no means poor and does a continuum of fun.
Something that DiRT 5 does very well and is quite present in these games, is audio design, and this game has added more of the impressive noises that are part of the DiRT series, with good reproduction of all the gyrations, horns and crackles of the various vehicles available that you have. The soundtrack is a mix of rock and punk, which adapts well to the flow of the rest of the game.
A fictional podcast was created to tell the story of the campaign, which selects a rivalry between the characters Alex “AJ” Janiček and Bruno Durand, to be voiced by Troy Baker and Nolan North. The rest of the podcast is run by real-life people, like James Pumphrey and Nolan Sykes, and while there’s some decent banter to it… the whole show is a bit cringe on the running themes. Some of the sequences are played for more than we’d prefer, but it is to show what’s included in the campaign.
It’s all secondary to the racing aspect of the game and can be easily sidelined by simply looking for an event. At the end of the day, the podcast is another attempt to construct a campaign and distinguish it from the rest of the racing games that exist, and provide another reasoned value, and which is not such a bad thing. We would prefer to possibly just tone it down a bit.
Career mode is the main event in DiRT 5 and features a simple presentation of online-based events. While there are rally races, they are definitely more casual than those found in DiRT 4. The races involve cars crashing, losing parts and becoming quite rugged.
It feels a bit like Motorstorm, with no exaggerated shocks or Arcade mechanics of engine heat management. In fact, all damage is purely cosmetic, and you can drive beyond the finish line with a collapsed bumper, missing doors, and other damage without any problems. Each event includes objectives that the player can try to achieve during the race, such as drifting as you overtake, staying in first place for at least 10 seconds, and so on.
After playing each type of event, players can spend some of the money earned in the game to change those objectives or even the types of events at random. Once some events are completed, special Throwdown events put the player against a particularly tough opponent for extra bonuses.
The player is also sponsored by real-life brands like AMD, Codemasters, Michelin and more, which have different levels of monetization towards you, textures for vehicles, as well as stickers, wallpapers, effects for the player profile cards. Performance even in a “modest” way, let’s say in an event, results in a lot of items being unlocked. It’s an attractive way to keep players coming back just for another event looking to unlock items.
Another important aspect of this game is user-generated content or content created by you, the player. Custom works are easy to create for vehicles, where custom paint works, textures, various designs and sponsor adhesives can be applied in multiple layers to create a personalized look for each car.
Beyond that, a new Playgrounds mode allows players to create personalized arenas using ramps, platforms, loops and other objects in three different locations. There are also three different game modes to build these arenas for Gate Crasher, Gymkhana or Smash Attack races.
The track pieces are placed in a grid, and most of the pieces are glued together after they’re placed close enough. Creating is easy to understand, and no doubt many creative arenas will be created by the community in no time.
Multiplayer online was not available during our time with DIRT 5 before the game was released, so we cannot really say much about it.
DiRT 5 is the fun game of the DiRT family right now, this is the racing game you start when you want to spend a pretty relaxing time without being invested too much in the game. It’s fun, which is quite different when you consider the seriousness that came with DiRT 4.
This game brings a pretty original style featuring a campaign of over 130 events, a promising arena creator that has to provide countless hours of user-generated content and you also have a local split-screen if you want to play this game on consoles.
All of these elements are added to a fun racing game that does not take itself too seriously and has more to do with the entertainment of the person you are playing, which we cannot say about many games nowadays. So for all of you who want absolute super-realism and seriousness in a racing game, DiRT Rally 2.0 is still your game. For everyone else, DiRT 5 is the absolute choice.