Title: Dirt 5
Genre: Racing, Driving, Offroad, Action, PvP
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Official Site: https://dirtgame.com/dirt5
Release Date: November 6, 2020
There are many racing games currently on the market. While each one carries a similar theme, there are unique elements to each. There is a fair amount of customization and different roads to choose from. But the newest in the series has added a few new touches. Racing games aren’t my typical jam. But the look of this title drew me in. I’m glad I took the dive, as I was not disappointed.
Dirt 5’s Nerve-Racking Gameplay
As someone who hasn’t ‘raced’ since Gran Turismo 3, I was nervous about jumping into the driver’s seat. With little to no experience in racing games, I was ready to crash every time I got on a track. Luckily, I was not disappointed with how easy it was to pick up a controller and begin playing. This is why I would suggest not skipping the tutorial. It ensures that drifting is picked up, which is essential when it comes to winning any race in Dirt 5.
Racing, of course, was the hardest part of the game. I didn’t always need a drift to take the lead. But it helped to maintain it. I spent a fair amount of time playing tracks over. Expect a great deal of trial and error when it comes to Dirt 5. What worked in one race may not work in the next few. I had to actively make an effort to focus on different things during each race.
Choosing the right car for the right track was also important. Dirt 5 makes it a point to force players to gauge what’s more important. Between the details of performance and handling, one needed to be sacrificed. This wasn’t always true, but if there were many turns, ‘handling’ was more important than performance. Cars with poor handling often lead me into a tailspin or straight into a wall.
Dynamic Weather Conditions
The weather in Dirt 5 is a very nice touch. While it was fairly frustrating, it made the victories that much sweeter. Racing on paved roads was a breeze. But depending on the track, I had to deal with either the sun going down or snow/mud. Sure, some cars had ‘off-road’ tires, but hitting a puddle at the wrong moment or in the wrong way spelled defeat.
Ice and snow were worse than the combination of rain and dirt. I slipped fairly easily when I wasn’t doing well on dirt. Ice, however, often threw me straight into the wall. This was by no fault of the frozen H2O. Accelerating at the wrong moment or braking too hard was a perfect recipe for disaster.
A few of the tracks could be played with different weather conditions. Some of them were played during a transition from night to day. Others in Dirt 5, despite having been raced before, could employ a variable such as snow, sleet, or ice. Weather conditions and topography forced me to gauge the handling and performance of my car. So, even if a car’s performance was average, if the handling was good, it could gain you one of the top spots.
Dirt 5’s Storyline
Not all racing games I’ve seen have much of a story. But this title by Codemasters puts players in the role of a new driver. Someone going by the name of AJ was my ‘coach.’ As a rookie rally car driver, it seemed fitting that I had someone guiding me along the way.
In between races, my coach would bestow a bit of advice. When my race didn’t go so well, he’d suggest trying different cars. Or he might suggest tweaking the way I maneuvered my selected vehicle. “Master of the overtake” was a phrase he’d say every so often. The ‘overtake’ he mentions is about drifting in a race. When you drift and place ahead of an opponent, it is known as an overtake.
The better I did in races, the higher my reputation became. With each level of reputation, new decals and colors became available for purchase. They can all be used to customize whatever car I decide to change up. My only issue with customizing was that it was simplistic paint and decal work. It could have used more depth in this respect. It still feels like a rewarding experience though, so it has its upsides.
Verdict: Dirt 5 is yet another solid racing game by Codemasters. The eighth game to carry the title, and 14th in Colin McCrae’s series, it combines weather with high speed. Die-hard fans of the racing genre are in for a treat. And even casual fans will get hooked into the game. If you’re tired of taking on the AI, invite three friends, and have a friendly race. Purchasing the Amplified Edition will gain you perks for anything created post-launch as well, which I personally recommend.
- Real-time weather changes
- Easy-to-learn controls
- Rewards system for good racers
- Lack of car customization