The Dirt franchise has become synonymous with being the all-in-one off-road experience! It has brought us hardcore rally simulators as well as pick-up and play- arcade racers. If you are looking to thread a needle through the Welsh forest while struggling to see through a rainstorm, not sure if that is a corner or a wall, then Dirt 2.0 is what you are after. If you are after a fun-filled, colorful experience which will see you flying around Cape Town, listening to South African accents cheering you on, or flying through marble mines in Italy struggling to see your opponents flying by you. All while having the guys from Donut Media, explaining how and what you need to be doing, then Dirt 5 is unashamedly the fun-filled off-roader you want!
Dirt 5 is obviously a racing game, and with the next-gen consoles being really close to available. It makes sense that Dirt 5 is arguably the racing showcase that will be used to show us what next-gen can do. We, however, did not review it on next-gen but graphically you would expect Dirt 5 to take the current-gen consoles to their max. With games like Forza Horizon 4 already being able to produce eye-searing graphics, Dirt 5 could only hope to match that and we would be ecstatic. Starting up the game, it looks promising. You are met with an option to either have the game focus on keeping good graphics or to focus on higher FPS. Naturally, we tried both.
Well, prepare to be underwhelmed. Graphically Dirt 5 is lackluster at best, with switching between graphics and fps modes not making an impacting change at all. Fortunately for Dirt 5 games are not all about graphics, right? Well, Dirt 5 definitely makes up for the above in its variety.
The career mode in Dirt 5 will have you putting your proverbial pedal to the metal for a significant time. In theory, there are 75 tracks in total. yes some of them are reversed versions of each other but 75 is still a big number. The thing that I found made the campaign so much fun is the fact that the sheer size of the career is broken into many small pieces. None of the races or modes feel too long that you find yourself getting bored. In the same breath, I have to say I immediately turned the difficulty up a notch as to give me a fight all the way to the chequered flag.
In Dirt 2.0 the job is simple. Get from the start to the finish as quickly as you can without destroying the car. Dirt 5, being the quirkier brother, throws in a few fun “challenges” to spice things up. Drift for X amount of time, or trade paint in the air, each race will have these challenges. Complete them and it will add towards your reputation and a few other categories which are needed to unlock more car customizations.
Cars and Customization
Dirt 5 has a respectable lineup of cars. Compared to the likes of NFS or Forza it might fall slightly short but respectable none the less. NFS has its over-the-top car modifications and Forza allows you to tune every last centimeter of the vehicle, Dirt 5 does not do the same, actually, it doesn’t allow you to customize your car, performance-wise, at all! Dirt 5 is more about aesthetics. As you progress through the career mode and complete more of the side missions as mentioned before. You will unlock decals for your vehicle. Some of them in form of stickers to slap literally anywhere on your car. Others will be wraps for your vehicle allowing you to customize your ride to your heart’s content.
What this means is that each vehicle and I use vehicles because not all contraptions are cars, there are buggies and other off-roading abominations have a specific rating. It is rather simply put. Performance and handling. Closer to A-rating the better. The thing that I was slightly upset about is the lack of variation when it came to how the cars felt when changing between classes of cars. This might upset the more die-hard racing fans because it removes the learning curve for each vehicle, but on the flip side, it allows for a much easier pick-up-and-play experience!
Fun in the sun and mud
Although Dirt 5 is not as visually stunning as Forza Horizon 4, it is still extremely fun and entertaining. Whether you are flying through forests in China, cruising around the streets of Cape Town listening to the South African accent coming over the PA system, or slipping and sliding across the frozen water of New York. Dirt 5 has excitement on every track and every corner. What makes the tracks even more amazing is how your surroundings react to your vehicle speeding past. When fighting your way through the Italian marble mines, the dirt and fine marble dust can be seen sitting at the back of your car. Drive through some water and see it wash off. These are the little things that take me back to the fun I had playing Colin McCrae Rally on the PS1. And that is partly why I will always have a soft spot for the Dirt-franchise.
As mentioned before a total of 75 variants of tracks are available, giving a meaty amount of variety to work through. Now change the weather and time of day and see how these tracks become something completely new. Have it rain and be dark and you’re favorite drive through the forest will have you careening into the first- and every tree thereafter.
Last but not the least, there is a playground mode. Which, when released to the public on the launch, will allow you to build custom tracks and have up to 12 friends join you to experience your masterpiece or Frankenstein track
Dirt 5 does not quite match its rivals in terms of visual showcasing. and it’s not quite there as a simulator-esque game like Dirt 2.0. But what it lacks in those fields it makes up for in spunk and just general pickup and have fun attitude. It is a genuinely fun game and throws in some voice acting from some of my favorite car guys, Donut Media, as well as the voice actor gods, Nolan North and Troy Baker, Dirt 5 is sure to put a smile on your proverbial dial.
Special thanks to APEX Interactive for supplying us with the Review content