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Review

Arcade fun in the dirt With DiRT 5, Codemasters sends a new offshoot of the popular rally series onto the track. Just in time for the release of the new console generation, racing game fans can look forward to new mud battles and fast-paced racing action. The developers promise more vehicles, more tracks, split-screen, and much more for the latest...

DIRT 5

  • Greg Burn
  • May 04, 2021

Arcade fun in the dirt
With DiRT 5, Codemasters sends a new offshoot of the popular rally series onto the track. Just in time for the release of the new console generation, racing game fans can look forward to new mud battles and fast-paced racing action. The developers promise more vehicles, more tracks, split-screen, and much more for the latest part of the series. But we ask ourselves the question, is it even more fun than the predecessor?

While DiRT 4 still suffered somewhat from the split between arcade racer and rally simulator, the developers now completely separate the two-game variants. Simulation fans can stop reading at this point, for them, there is DiRT: Rally 2.0, which is aimed at simulation purists. For those who just keep ending up in the next tree when it comes to purism, arcade racers are the way to go. This is where DiRT 5 comes in, or rather, comes in anew. In contrast to the fourth part, the already good driving experience has been improved even more.

DiRT 5 is a pure off-road gaming experience. The races through mud, slush, snow, ice, sand and much more dominate the campaign, which comprises around a hundred events. DiRT 5 focuses on diversity and does so successfully. Diverse tracks, vehicles, and racing conditions keep you entertained. The developers make full use of the arcade setting. The result is a well-rounded racing experience that is unparalleled.

Racing games tend to become monotonous after a while, especially for casual players. The last installment of the Forza Motorsport series suffered from this in particular. Another event on the same track, another five laps here or three laps there. In DiRT 5, there is no sign of this monotony. With many different locations, the eye always has something to see. But the experience is also very different in terms of gameplay. Some races take you through pits, others through the jungle, and some over frozen lakes or mountain passes.

It doesn't matter which environment you're racing through, though, the game always makes you feel like you're right there. Mud rides like mud, ice rides like ice, and sand rides like sand. There aren't many games that can pull this off, and DiRT 5 sets the standard in the arcade racing world. And because the different environments aren't enough, the developers push them even further with a dynamic weather system. It's not uncommon for a storm to suddenly blow up and sand, ice, or water to hit your ears. Naturally, this has a corresponding effect on the driving experience.

Speaking of the driving experience, the ten different vehicle classes provide additional variety. They not only look different but also drive differently. For example, racing with a fast Ford Fiesta is different from racing with a heavy racing truck. Both variants are fun and although the vehicle classes differ noticeably, they all remain equally accessible - chapeau. The manageable selection within the classes is only half as bad. DiRT 5 doesn't have a vehicle selection like Forza Horizon with around 60 vehicles, and it doesn't even need it - class, instead of mass.

The mass of racing events is loosened up now and then by special events like Gymkhana or special time races. The scope is limited, but it is anything but meager. Other titles like Forza Horizon offer more but are also completely different. DiRT 5 is the title that you always unpack for a race, whether alone or with friends. These can also race in split-screen, which makes the title ideal for a trial of strength between friends and within the family.

If you've had enough of racing, you can let off steam in the Playground. There you can create your events and design some environments according to your ideas. The developers provide you with a whole range of possibilities, such as drift zones, jumps, fire rings, or platforms. Creatives will have fun letting off steam and then testing out their creations with others. If you don't feel like doing your tinkering, you can ride what other players have released instead.

Those lucky enough to own an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 will get an enhanced racing experience with DiRT 5. While on the old generation of consoles the 4K mode is limited to 30 FPS, on the Series X and PS5 it goes up to 120 frames per second - assuming the appropriate TV. Those who are limited to 60 fps can choose between the quality and the frame rate mode in 4K. Whereby even the latter mostly offers a buttery-smooth gaming experience.

DiRT 5 shines visually, especially with impressive weather effects. While the environments sometimes look a bit poor in detail or muddy, the particles and lighting effects set special standards. The mud and snow fly into your face and the storms are spectacular in every form. But the lighting effects also know how to impress, especially the auroras.

Conclusion:
DiRT 5 takes Codemaster to off-road heaven. The title offers everything you could expect from an arcade racer and more. Fast cars that are differentiated by class, a fair scope, the absence of microtransactions, and game modes to liven up the usual racing action. The newly added split-screen is a welcome addition and offers additional fun with friends. Those looking for a simulator will not find it here. The developers have finally freed the title from this corset and sent it out onto the track as a pure arcade racer. With success, because there is little to criticize DiRT 5 for. More vehicles and tuning options would be nice to have, but the lack of features does not detract from the game. If you want to race one, two, three, or even a hundred laps through mud, ice, and sand, this is the game for you. DiRT 5 is to off-road fans what the Forza Horizon series has become to open-world racers: a fun experience with the potential to thrill every day. Maybe not with the same scope, but with just as much entertainment potential.

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