Bash the bush to bits as the greatest rally series of them all heads off-road in both current and next-generation glory…
Game: Dirt 5
Format: PC, PS4, XBO, PS5, XSX
Release Date: Nov 6 (PC, PS4, XBO), Nov 10 (XSX), Nov 12 (PS5)
The Dirt series needs no introduction. Nor does developer Codemasters. The latter is the master creator of the racing genre’s biggest and best experiences, while the Dirt games – which were once known as Colin McRae Rally – bring the genre to the wild outdoors like no other title on the market.
Dirt 5 shines thanks to its sense of immersion. Whether you’re racing on a circuit, in a stadium or among the trees, there’s a constant sense that you’re on a knife’s edge; finessing the throttle and brake with the touch of a master in the knowledge that one slip-up will see your car smashed into bits.
The visuals and audio most certainly play a role in that, capturing not only the sense of speed, but providing stunning car and trackside detail. Dynamic weather effects (including electrical storms and heavy snowfall) and seasonal shifts add authenticity to the world, not to mention another obstacle to contend with. You’ll sightsee the whole world, too, visiting places like the USA (Arizona and New York City), Brazil, Morocco, China, Italy and Norway.
But it’s really the phenomenal handling where Dirt 5 kills it. Each car feels like it’s in your hands, as you muscle it around corners, feeling the dirt slide beneath your tyres and the engine power a host of different vehicle in and out of corners. It’s not a super simulation, but it isn’t arcade either: it’s somewhere in the middle, best described as ultra-playable.
That’s worth knowing if your most recent experience with the series is Dirt Rally; a genuine sim. Dirt 5, by comparison, focuses less on long point-to-point rallies and more on off-road event experiences. Think ice racing, stadium sprint cars, stampedes through the forests, rallycrosses, off-road buggies and Gymkhana. Yes, there are rally cars, but there’s so much more, too. And it involves swapping paint with an aggressive grid of AI opponents.
There’s a full career mode to jump into, where you fill the shoes of a new driver trying to outcompete a key rival in a series of championships. It’s a genuine story to follow, making it more than just a collection of tracks to tick off. Aside from standards like time trials and one-off events, there’s an arena editor when you can create and share your own courses. Plus, multiplayer has received a big boost — four-player splitscreen, be it co-op or competitive! Hell yes!
Dirt 5 cements the series place as the king of the genre and is a great way to get your next-gen gaming experience up to speed! ■
Upgrade to Next-Gen for Free
How’s this for a great deal. If you buy Dirt 5 for Xbox One or PS4, and then buy an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 later, the game comes with you. There’s no cost. Plus, you’ll get access to optimised next-generation visuals, audio and gameplay, too.
By Chris Stead