By Robin "Forerunner" Ritzen on November 10, 2020, 2020
This year has been full of awesome race games and now there's one more to add to the roster. I played an awful lot of racing games over the last few months and I loved them all. And believe me when I tell you that Dirt 5 is no exception to this rule! Made and published by race game veterans Codemasters, Dirt 5 does not disappoint!
To be completely honest, Dirt 5 is the first Dirt game in the series I played. I'm not that big of a fan of rally games, but after reviewing WRC earlier this year I developed a love for them. So, without wasting anymore precious time let's get into this review!
So, the question with any race game lately is: Arcade or Simulator? Let's just cut straight to the chase here; Dirt 5 is clearly an arcade racer. But wait! If you're a sim-race fanatic, don't sigh in despair and click away just yet! Codemasters managed to make a perfect example of how an arcade racer should play. The car reacts beautifully to my controller inputs, both with controller and steering wheel although, I must admit, I most enjoyed playing the game with a normal controller. Dirt 5 requires some very fast reactions on your part which are a lot easier to pull off with a regular controller, as opposed to a steering wheel. That being said, it might be easier to control the car but Dirt 5 does not feature a rewind button like all the recent racing games. This means you have to be a lot more careful and avoid taking any unnecessary risks or you might just face the reality of needing to restart the race during your last lap!
I immediately fired up career mode and after a short introduction the fun really began! Dirt 5 distances itself from the standard rally game format of point-to-point races where you are basically racing to get the best time. This time you start in a pack of cars al trying to reach the finish line first. Dirt 5 really reminded me of a game I used to play back in the PlayStation 2 days, Motorstorm. Which if I'm not mistaking, did have some DNA from a studio tied to Codemasters. Especially the festival style career mode. Starting with this many cars at the same time can only result in utter carnage, which it most beautifully does! And remember, the luxury of a rewind button is absent in Dirt 5 so you really have to fight for those positions! The combination of aggressive upbeat music, vivid colours and fast paced action really makes for fun races, I still haven't got tired of. Speaking of colours, Codemasters really outdid themselves with how beautiful Dirt 5 looks. The landscapes and locations really look alive!
So, where WRC9 had some pretty tricky and realistic handling of the cars, Dirt 5 goes back to a much more straight forward approach. There really isn't much more you have to master than braking before a corner and pulling the handbrake at the right time. "So how does Dirt 5 keep things interesting?" is what I just know you are thinking right now. Well, just like games previously stated as ,for example, Motorstorm, Dirt 5 features an amazing weather system! Torrential rains and huge snowstorms really shake things up and change the way your car handles. This is especially the case when driving through heavy snow or on ice. Speaking of cars, Dirt 5 features plenty, with something wild for everybody. Together with a nice package of customization options, I really can't complain in the car department.
There is plenty of stuff to do outside of the career mode as well. A new feature is the playgrounds mode. This mode allows you to create and share your own tracks which looks really promising. I really like Codemasters is trying to create a lively community around Dirt 5! I have already seen some incredible tracks being created and personally can't wait to see what people come up with next. If there was one less-than-awesome thing I had to name about this game, it would be the pretty long loading times. However, I hope this problem won't be around on the upcoming new gen consoles, because Dirt 5 will also be released for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S.
All in all, Dirt 5 is not really what I expected but it was definitely a very nice surprise! If you fully embrace the arcade nature of this game, you will have countless hours of pure adrenaline and excitement. Even if you're hesitant to pick this one up because you're into sim-racers, I really encourage you to try it and see for yourself just how much fun Dirt 5 really is!
November 6, 2020 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
November 10, 2020 (Xbox Series X/S)
November 12, 2020 (PS5)