The series Dirt one of its main attractions has always been the possibility of making offroad and rally racing more accessible than its direct competitors, with simpler tests and controls. Dirt 5 honors the tradition of the franchise and is, right now, one of the coolest racing games of this generation… and also the beginning of the next one!
After all, Codemasters’ newest release not only shines on old war PS4 and Xbox One, but also starts racing on the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S, in addition to the PC, of course. In our test we played on a PS4 base version and, even there, Dirt 5 it is already very impressive with its look, lighting effects and the earth, dust and mud that are lifted by cars. As we warned in our beta test, whether you’re a newcomer to the series or a fan of the old ones, the game has everything to please.
Running in style
Well experienced in more casual games and full of adrenaline like DriveClub, developer Codemasters Cheshire made Dirt 5 a game that overflows with attitude, something evident from its initial menus, with a cool layout, to the insane premises of some of its tastings, including the choices of good rock music to pack the disputes. Dirt 5 is a game to put your foot on the board and raise the volume to the maximum!
As part of that bet on a cooler footprint, you’ll often run into a podcast-style chat while packing the game’s menus. Dozens of hours of dialogue were recorded that, surprisingly, don’t sound repetitive at any time. And the biggest draw here is that game stars Troy Baker (Joel, from The Last of Us) and Nolan North (Nathan Drake from Uncharted) lend their voices to the main characters. In fact, we even interviewed the pair during the promotion of the game.
Troy is AJ, a veteran and good-looking driver who serves as his mentor throughout career mode, while Nolan is Bruno Durand, AJ’s main racing rival. It is worth noting that, unfortunately, the game makes a serious mistake and does not allow you to choose the language of the voices through its internal menus, being necessary to change the language of the console to be able to hear the work of the original voice actors.
This is quite inconvenient, although the national voices also do an excellent job, since the charismatic and extremely competent voice actor and dubbing director Wendel Bezerra voices the main presenter of the podcast. It is only strange that the game chooses to guide conversations in events that take place off the screen and out of our eyes, which prevents the player from caring too much about the characters and what happens to them.
As the new generation of consoles approaches, we are seeing more and more titles that offer the option of enjoying better graphics performance or a higher frame rate per second. Even on the base PS4 you can choose between visual and performance in the internal menus and, fortunately, Dirt 5 runs very well in both cases.
In the highest visual fidelity mode, Dirt 5 easily among the most beautiful games of the generation, with extremely detailed scenarios, rich in natural beauty and great architecture, but it is really the ground that stands out the most, with all the dust, stones, puddles, mud and dirt helping to give a tone of a real offroad challenge.
The races go through climatic and time of day transitions at high speed, which is a bit funny considering that most of the disputes last between two and five laps only, which is comically enough time for the day to turn into night or a sunny day turns into the blizzard of the century. But it is easy to overlook this poetic license when that decision makes racing so much more fun and unpredictable.
Dirt 5 it has several ways to run in its main mode, the career, and you will hardly be bored or feeling playing the same thing for hours on end even in long game sessions. The career mode was structured as a kind of tree full of branched paths. When you complete a race, you release access to the following events, which in turn branch out into even more races.
This is already legal in itself, since you will visit different routes in different nations, from China to Italy, passing through circuits in Brazil, including tracks in the Tijuca Forest, a place ignored by video games until then. In addition to the abundance of geographic options, you can visit places with different approaches too!
There are more traditional races, events in which you need to climb and explore inhospitable terrain, disputed with many glides on the ice, very high speed sprints and even scavenger hunts in parks to score doing acrobatics and fulfilling challenges. Even outside of career and arcade mode, if none of that is enough, you can also create your own tracks, or run on circuits prepared by the community. Naturally the results there are quite mixed, but it is fun to explore the different options.
At your fingertips
Although Dirt 5 don’t count on many cars (there are 64 in all, a modest number by the standards of the genre), they are divided into 13 different categories, and each of them changes a lot the way of playing, with different vehicle weights, speed and ease to to control. You can also make your cars look your own by customizing your look and even sponsorships, which feature various real-world brands.
The more sponsor challenges you meet in the races, the more points you earn for unlocking different customization options, which is a great way to motivate the player to persist in the campaign. The flow of rewards is great and makes the whole gameplay even more fun, although the artificial intelligence and level of difficulty of the races vary widely without notice.
Throughout our dozens of hours of gameplay, we won races that we deserved to lose, and we were overtaken in practically impeccable races, as the game seems predisposed to prevent too much distance between one car and another, which can be somewhat unfair and frustrating, with exacerbated punishment for errors at the end of disputes.
Even worse are the crashes in the game. Even after applying the first update patch, it is not uncommon to see the game crash hopelessly and be forced to restart Dirt 5 to continue playing. Even worse, before the first patch, we even had a corrupted save file. As of the date of publication of this text, the game still seems to be far from ideal, and we encounter crashes every three or four hours of play, something that needs to be resolved with some urgency by Codemasters.
Dirt 5 is a very arcade game and extremely fun, with an enviable abundance of options to run. Even after dozens of hours of play it is not repetitive thanks to its different modalities, variations in climate and layout. The dubbing is very good in both English and Portuguese, but the lint of history that is narrated in the podcast format does not generate any immersion or interest. Codemasters still need to solve some patching problems, but otherwise it is a visually impressive game that can entertain aspiring rally drivers for a long time.
“Dirt 5 is beautiful, fun and full of options, a full plate for fans of more arcade rally”