Genre: Racing, Sim
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 12/11/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Time To Hit The Dirt?
DIRT 5 is the 14th game in the legendary Colin McRae Rally series of games, and 8th under the Dirt brand. Codemasters have pushed these games in so many directions over its 22 year span. I was right there on day one 1998, playing the original on my PlayStation. It created this overwhelming rush of excitement rallying cars through the mud and winding country roads of Scotland. So much has changed since then, but one thing that’s remained constant. The rush; red lining the revs in a Ford Fiesta, feeling your wheels slip across the loose terrain, torrential rain downpours and sprays of mud across the screen. That’s all still here, but the experience is amplified to an incredible level of realism.
In For A Penny
I’ve patiently waited out this review so I can cover the experience on a PlayStation 5. As one of the launch titles it’s the first touted to offer a day one update that allows you to play at a full 120 frames per second. I needed to experience this! Oh and I had to go and buy a new TV that supported HDMI 2.1 and 120hz so I had all the hardware to bring the experience to life. Yikes!
So let me set the scene. DIRT 5 is a rallying and off road car racing simulator that throws the player into so many variations of high octane racing. It’s certainly not our first time reviewing a DIRT game, yet this time the variety of cars feels almost limitless. Let’s start with your souped up Ford Fiesta ST that can’t even close the bonnet properly thanks to its ridiculous twin turbo and aftermarket parts. Leading onto Muscle cars, 4×4 trucks, rock bouncers and near 1000bhp sprint cars (you know the ones that mostly drive at a 45 degree angle around a speedway track).
See The World
These options are grouped really well into a Career series which allows you to build your skill and reputation up in the industry and accrue sponsorship and notoriety along the way. Each of these competitions take place in over 70 different routes in 10 locations across the world. This ranges from New York, to South Africa and stretching all the way to China. Each location brings its own challenging terrain, from the dry and hard earth in South Africa to torrential downpours and thunderstorms in China.
The career mode is vast and will offer you hours and hours of immersive story based progression, with an endless amount of real world sponsors to win over its encourages you to keep refining your skills. There’s a real star studded cast on show too, with the instantly recognisable voices of Troy Baker and Nolan North adding to the show and race commentary and bad dad jokes provided by Nolan Sykes and James Pumphrey from Donut Media.
Customise Your Experience
Playgrounds mode is a superb addition to Dirt 5, and offers the opportunity for players to Load or create custom tracks and indoor driving experiences, it has this real community vibe. It allows you to experience three wicked fun game modes on these tracks.
Gate Crasher which focuses on passing all of the checkpoints in the fastest time, often travelling through flaming hoops.
Gymkhana which is all about point loading and doing the best tricks, true Fast & Furious style.
Smash Attack which as it’s name sake suggests is almost smashing into objections and accruing the highest points tally.
All of these game modes are well executed and a fun break from the high octane seriousness of Career.
Very Very Frightening
DIRT 5 incorporates a dynamic weather system, which is utterly astonishing to experience mid race. Picture the moment, where clouds begin to form, you feel the darkness begin to set in, there’s a sense of stillness in the air… and then BAM! Fork lightning erupts in the centre of the screen. Followed by a booming rumble of thunder and the on set of rain. The terrain gets lighter and you suddenly feel yourself in a whole new driving experience for the remaining laps. It’s bonkers, beautifully bonkers.
In The Frame
Graphically this game feels next-gen at every turn. Ray tracing offers a sense of detailed reflection from every mirrored surface and puddle and colours are vibrant and punchy. HDR offers an unbelievable palette of colours, and with the 120fps frame rate mode enabled, it’s the buttery holy grail of racing games. Rubble flies from every skid in intricate individual detail. Each drop of rain splashes and cascades at different angles. Leaves blow in the wind and settle, well like leaves.
If you ever wish to compromise on the frame rate, there’s also a perfectly respectable resolution mode, which will feed you a locked 60 frames per second and 4K to boot. It’s fun to cycle through these visual options, nothing feels compromised.
The Future Is Now
One other thing that’s made it absolutely worth waiting out for the PS5 version. Remember that time you felt the jolt of a car through your controller as you shift up through the gears? The accelerating trigger feeling really tough to depress because your car just careened into a side wall? That feeling the controller offered you as you change terrain from tarmac, to rubble, to sticky thick mud and then back to the tarmac? Remember? Of course you don’t. This is a PS5 experience that’s the absolute future and is truly unlike anything you’ve ever experience. Codemasters have implemented full adaptive trigger support and it’s an absolute marvel. Immersion to the absolute max.
From the opening credits the soundtrack on offer is high energy and eclectic by design and you can see it’s all about capturing the entire audience. I mean when you line up New Found Glory, The Prodigy, Stormzy, The Chemical Brothers and Foals all in the same game you know you’ve got a better line-up than Reading Festival has had for years! For me this is the most engaging, addictive and stunningly beautiful racing experience I have ever had. It’s quirky and fun, rarely takes itself too seriously and creates an easy access environment. I feel comfortable jumping in and out with the comfort of knowing there will be a mode of racing to suit my mood. A must buy for anyone looking to show off their new shiny pride and joy!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy DIRT 5 for the PS5 on the Playstation Store