After the disappointment of DiRT 4, I was dubious about the release of DiRT 5. After about 15 minutes of driving however, it was clear Codemasters had added a big injections of fun to the latest instalment.
DiRT 5 will be the first racing game that owners of the Xbox Series X and PS5 will get this hands on and Codemasters are all set with three modes for racers to use. There is the 120hz Mode, Image Quality and Framerate. We won’t get to test the first mode until the Xbox Series X arrives but we reviewed this on the Xbox One X so we can give our initial impressions.
Visually the game looks great, probably on a level with Forza Horizon 4, in once race the weather changed from bright sunshine to a huge rainstorm. As the sun shone through the circuit looked incredible. The game has an excellent soundtrack that adds an extra element to the racing. There are some beautiful locations to race in, from China to Brazil and Norway to South Africa. They all bring their own character to the game.
DiRT 5 is made up of arcade & multiplayer racing but the main bulk of the game takes place in the campaign. You start off as a rookie driver looking to make it to the big time, to get there you’ll race through the myriad of race types available to you.
Ultra Cross is a more extreme version of Rally Cross with more cars, mixed terrain and challenging corners that can change the whole outcome of the race. Rally Raid is your more traditional rally event. Landrush has you taking on extreme weather whilst dealing with technical sections that only true best drivers will get through
Ice Breaker really tests you because wait for it, all the races are on Ice! They are short circuit races but provide a real challenge. There is also Stampede, which sees you taking on unmarked routes which really test your suspension. Sprint puts you in a 900bhp machine with four different sized wheels. It’s a tough discipline that takes a while to master.
The two most interesting events however are Path Finder and Gymkhana. Path Finder is ridiculously good fun, as you take on some really tough routes with steep hill climbs, huge jumps and unpredictable paths, rather than just putting your foot down you need to use some strategy to finish these races. There is a welcome return for Gymkhana too, donuts, drifts and jumps all await you in this colourful mode that brings out the Ken Block in all of us. Stringing together multipliers is tough but hugely satisfying when you do. The racing is exciting and intense, the AI are ready to pounce on the slightest mistake even on medium level, it’s fantastic in races like stampede as cars crash out around you testing your reflexes.
As career mode rumbles on you’ll unlock new sponsors that will give objectives to complete, as you earn more XP and cash more vehicles become available as well as new liveries. For those of you with more of a creative flair, you can customise your car with all sorts in the garage.
Arcade mode lets you set up individual events tailored to your favourite races while jumping online let’s you race opponents around the world, although if you are hoping to set up lobbies with friends you are going to be disappointed. Local multiplayer is a welcome feature and works really well.
For me DiRT 5 shines in Playground mode, it’s here where you can create your own events from scratch. Using a huge set of assets players can easily create courses of great complexity and share them with the world. I easily managed to put a fairly cool course together in about 20 mins, I thought it was epic until I saw some of the creations that are already available! This mode gives the game limitless possibilities and hopefully as more people get the game you’ll see even more truly amazing creations.
If photography is you passion there is also an incredible photo mode that lets you create some stunning pictures to share around.
DiRT 5 took a little time to get going for me, but as time has gone on I’ve found myself having a brilliant time working my way through the career, to be creative in playgrounds. If you are looking for a racing game full of energy then you have definitely come to the right place.