As kids, we always loved messing about in the mud and dirt. Nowadays the closest I get to this feeling is the DiRT racing games and DiRT 5 continues that trend of having fun in the mud! Well, I could roll in the mud outside, but I may get some funny looks!
The first thing I noticed when I started playing DiRT 5 is how much more of a festive feel you get. You are greeted with two ‘podcasters’ of sorts who are your narrators during your career. You are thrown straight into the game and starting your first race. This acts as your introduction into world of DiRT 5 and right from the start you get flashes of that other over the top racer from Codemasters, ONRUSH. Everything in the game is a vibrant, eye-watering beautifully experience, with an uplifting soundtrack along with the handling of each of the 70 or so vehicles you get to drive around in.
When it comes to the handling of the vehicles in the game have been given a once over by the Codemasters mechanics and have a more forgiven and arcade feel to them when compared to the DiRT Rally series. You can tweak the driving aids further if you want a more of a causal experience to the game too or turn everything off. You can also really let loose on the tracks and throw your car about without ever feeling that you are pushing it too hard or far, it’s a down right blast! For me, not being a hardcore racer, I loved this approach to the game.
In Career mode you will be able to choose which races you want to compete in as you head towards the being the King of Rally. In each of the events that you do there will be different vehicle classes and events to partake in. The events range from your standard off-road racing like Ultra-Cross, point-to-point stages like Rally Raid, Gymkhanas and more. Thankfully, if there is one event that you prefer over the other, your Career path lets you choose what events you want to do. It lets you choose how you tackle your journey to be crowned King. Add to this, there are roughly 70 routes in 10 different locations around the world, from the cold snowy tracks in Norway to the jungles of Brazil, you will be a true jet setter as you race in each of these beautiful locations. Each location is big, colourful and a visual spectacle where you will find thunderstorms, blizzards all while you race around the tracks.
With each event you finish, you are always being rewarded for playing the game and it won’t take too long to start filling up your garage with some shiny new motors to customise and race in. Also, I found it a little annoying, but throughout your career you will have AJ and Bruno Durand dropping a few pearls of wisdom along the way to provide a narrative along your path. It is supposed to add a little something, but it’s nothing as far as I view it and thankfully, they can be skipped and you will be jumping in to your next race in no time.
During your Career you will see a big feature in DiRT 5 and that’s the dynamic weather system that is implemented. You will often start a race in the rain, or a nice clear day and towards the end of it, it can be a completely different outcome. One race for me in Norway saw it snowing and only then for the weather to get worse and with each passing lap, the snow with be thicker and denser on the track. It really adds a lot to the game’s mechanics and the other drivers on the track with you as you race one another to grab the top spot.
DiRT 5 offers up a little more for those that seek it elsewhere other than Career Mode. You can jump into Arcade mode (which is amusing, since it’s all arcade like). In this mode you can play in Single events and Time Trials, which speak for themselves, and of course, there is the Online Mode. In Online you will be able to play in races or party modes. If you like to mix it up and not do a standard race, you can try your hand or wheels at Vampire and King modes.
Lastly, you have the new feature in DiRT 5, Playgrounds. Recently I was lucky enough to try this out and it’s a lot of fun, and for those creative among you, you are going to have a blast coming up with crazy new tracks for the community to try out. In Playgrounds you are given a level or track editor to tinker away to your hearts content. You will be able to build up your own arenas and add in checkpoints, stunt events and more. If you don’t feel like making your own, you should be able to check out what the community has for you when the game launches this week. What crazy ideas will you have for Playgrounds?
When it comes to the DiRT series and it’s graphics, it’s never been on the same level as FORZA or Gran Turismo and to be fair, it never tries to be. However, when you look at it as it is a true rally DiRT game, it is a thing of beauty. Whether you are racing through mud and rain in the jungles or sliding across a frozen river, each of these tracks have their own beauty and should not be ignored. The in-game weather effects are amazing and one of the best I have seen in a racer.
One of my main gripes about the game at this point would be the loading screens and how long they take. While it’s nothing game breaking, they do take some time to get you back into a race, especially since you encounter them throughout your playthrough. Thankfully, we have the new next-gen systems coming out in a matter of weeks and this should be a thing of the past, hopefully. While I did love the visuals in DiRT 5, I did experience some screen tearing at first, but a recent update as resolved it which I was happy this was resolved before launch day.
DiRT 5 is a fun rally game for those that love a mixture of realism and arcade racing. I really loved playing in a true dynamic weather racer that handles beautifully on current systems, which only excites me more to play it on PS5 and Xbox Series X. While it was not without its issues, it didn’t detract from the fact that it’s just an out and out fun racing game that everyone needs to experience!
GoG Rating: 8/10