DiRT 5 – A return to the roots of the saga

REVIEW – Dirt 5 seeks to recover its identity at an ideal moment: the doors of a new generation. But, beyond its flashy technical section, how satisfactory are its races and championships? We found out in this analysis corresponding to the version of the present consoles.


Thanks to the abundant previews, he could see that this Dirt 5 wanted to return to the roots of the saga. It had been difficult for Dirt 4 to catch the pulse of the pedal after the saga forked with Dirt Rally, creating an interesting game with ingenious proposals, but without positioning itself as a simulator, like the latter, or a casual arcade, like the second and third instalment.





Now Codemasters is focused. The bright colours, the eclectic music in genres, but lively in rhythm, and the confetti festival in circuits around the world return. And it is appreciated: Dirt 5 recovers that effusiveness due to the skidding and for crossing with our wheels all kinds of natural and artificial roads. A stroke of Path Mode, suddenly you are in the Greek hills, you are in the Chinese. From cold Norway to warm Morocco. The circuits feel well planned for the parade of landslides you intend to achieve; but, on this way back to the origins, we miss perhaps the most central pillar of the saga. Yes, the most classic rally.

Not that I think there is a shortage of content in Dirt 5 – the long trajectory mode, the challenges, and the different events we participate in make for a good package. Everything seems ready for the show, but if something proved Dirt 2 and 3, it is that you can make a spectacular rally game without completely losing your form. Here we do not find the classic stages or segment races. There are no variants against vehicles or the clock. And above all, there are those long narrow rides that demand not only speed and skid, but control and precision. And since they have always been in the numbered saga, even in its most shameless instalments, the most classic modality is missed, which would allow a more dedicated type of competition, where our progress would be felt more.

Instead, trajectory mode presents us with somewhat more direct and frantic evidence. There are not only races in circuits by laps, but there are also some other routes; but everything is developed through a competition that sometimes has something technical when it comes to nailing the skids and other chaotic, reminiscent more of the crash of bodies of a Motorstorm (but without nitros or explosions). And yet despite that longing for the most dedicated testing, Dirt 5 gets you to love it for one of the most polished arcade control systems I can remember in a long time.

Control, especially with the cockpit view, is phenomenal. I am not talking in terms of realism but in terms of driving sensations. Dirt 5 uses and abuses the steering wheel and counter steering. Steer fully to the side without fear and compensate for slip and gravitational forces with the opposite direction and compensate with the accelerator. Principles of the discipline, but applied to the show. And that concept attracts me a lot, because yes, in Dirt 5 the show prevails, but not at the cost of vague mechanics, but by working on the steering wheel control and inertia. The result, as I say, is unrealistic: it is more like a drift that we would do on snow or ice than on asphalt or gravel, but, like an arcade, the result is more than good and the stimuli sent to the player are the ones that should be.

Not only is this polished control immensely enjoyable, but it also allows Codemasters to focus on making perfect lines. When I started the game in normal mode, I quickly noticed that something was missing. The tracks were excessively wide: you could do big drifts without even getting close to the edge of the circuit. And artificial intelligence did not accompany, ending very far behind us. But from Hard mode things change: you understand these wide tracks. Your rivals do not make it so easy for you and then your ostentatious drifts have to be replaced by others much riskier. Being such wide tracks, the game allows you to cut corners well and accelerate on the exits, as well as favour the Scandinavian turns in some extensions. This is when you realize that Codemasters has tested the game a lot to get the most out of the lines.

But speaking of artificial intelligence, it is not that it fails, but it can lead to chaotic moments: AI does not usually respond in different ways to your actions, but tends to follow fixed routes and collisions between vehicles can, although they are sought to create fierce races, they have fairly light physics that can lead to a few race restarts. It is quite normal to see a car flying through the air or how a collision ends with your car making a spin that you will not recover from.



Around the world in 130 events


The main modality is very, very long. Divided into chapters, comprising 130 events in 70 routes and, depending on the game, with a variety of 9 different disciplines. Beyond the numbers, the main problem I find is that they could be perfectly divided into two disciplines: the main tests and the special tests. There are no palpable differences as in other games between Rally and RallyCross, for example. Here he calls some RallyRaid, others Stampede, others Ultra Cross, but all of them share the same circuits and only vary the type of vehicle in which, although we find some variables of weight and power, in practice, they are not so different either. each.

In these main tests, the game tries, by all means, to give variety to the circuits. And at the beginning, it succeeds, thanks to the weather effects and the different times of the day, that in this new variant of the graphic engine used for OnRush (a very solvent and attractive engine) it creates striking landscapes capable of changing weather and weather throughout of the career. Sometimes our passage through China, for example, will be sunny while in other circumstances heavy snow will have fallen on the ground; others, we will find it more waterlogged. All this achieves the desired effect of any driving game of not looking like the same circuit. But, in the long run, it is very difficult not to fall into repetition. Around the second chapter, you begin to feel a certain fatigue and monotony. And perhaps this is where the other special tests could have helped more than they do.

To try to stay varied, Dirt 5 includes special events, such as classical Gymkhana, the Pathfinder or racing Sprint. I don’t think they manage to get past the mere anecdote in many cases. Gymkhana was flashy in Dirt 3, but now it feels a bit out of place. Pathfinder events urge us to scale the steepest terrain in the shortest amount of time possible, but neither have I encountered many challenges in the times without trying too hard, nor do the mechanics of playing with the throttle feel overworked. And the Sprint? Perhaps the basis of these Sprint Cars is fun, combining the strength of these vehicles with their inertia, but in practice, it is somewhat imprecise and chaotic.

Finally, there are some extra challenges: Throwdowns (Challenges). These are events in which we challenge the AI ​​in different ways, in one-on-one races or with a special vehicle, for example. They are unlocked as we progress through the Career, and it would have been the best climax, a bit Forza Horizon, which always gives a special test. But after playing a few we noticed that, again, they take us through circuits already travelled in races very similar to those of the campaign, without much reason to have their section.

In this effort to continue providing variety, Dirt 5 has included its editor, which it has called Playgrounds, which allows us to build our Gymkhana circuits and tests. They cannot be compared with those proposed by the game, which is more conformed to natural environments, while here they are closed tracks, but the number of options it proposes will allow the most ingenious to make good tracks, trying to encourage participation thanks to voting and the selections of the best weekly circuits. The circuits already created as a sample by Codemasters give a glimpse of the crazy things that can be done with this mode, which also proposes somewhat more closed and narrow tracks, as I mentioned before that I missed the classic Rally.



The beauty of skidding


All of these special events look more impressive thanks to the multiplayer options. In Dirt 5 we can compete in online and local races, but the most interesting point is that all the Career mode, including the most special tests such as Gymkhana or Pathfinder, can be played with friends, and that is when these tests shine a little more, thanks to the fact that the competition is tighter. If to all this we add that the game supports a split-screen for up to four players on the same console, I think that although one may end up somewhat fatigued from his solo mode, he will always be able to have an excuse to rediscover the game again in its multiplayer facet.

For this analysis, we can only talk about the version of the current generation, although we have been able to test the game also on Xbox Series X. The game has been seen a lot thanks to the preview versions and the data provided by Codemasters, so, although We cannot give you our impressions, we can say that Dirt 5 has several game modes: in Quality mode, dynamic 4K resolution is favoured, improving graphic effects, while in Performance mode, the dynamic resolution is lower. There is also the famous 120 frames per second mode, which by sacrificing resolution, even more, manages to double the rate for compatible televisions and monitors.



Generational concessions


In the version for this generation, we have been able to test the game on PS4 Pro and the result is not at all negative, but more concessions are made, relegating the Quality mode to 30 frames per second, while the Performance mode is the one that reaches the fluidity of 60fps that suits this driving so well. It is clear from our previews that Dirt 5 is a game that benefits from the new generation, but it is also very attractive in the present, although you have to make those sacrifices when choosing between a 4K resolution or the frames per second. We have also noticed longer load times compared to previews that benefited from the new generation SSD. In the musical section, the voices that “narrate” the Path mode as if it were a podcast, They ended up exhausting me for carrying that artificial animated vibe that is also not new in the Spanish version of the series, while in the original it benefits more from the good dynamics due to its friendship and the professional background of Troy Baker and Nolan North. TheMusic is made up of tracks that may be topical, but sound great on the run, with tracks from The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Pearl Jam, The Killers or Stormzy.

I think that Dirt 5 comes out successfully from the skid, precisely because it recovers part of its identity that with its fourth instalment was somewhat in doubt. But I also notice that there is still room for improvement if the spirit of the saga is recovered even more, once again betting on a spectacular Rally, but Rally after all. And mix it up with that highly polished control that feels so good when it comes to making tight lines and strong counter-flywheels. It’s nice to get behind the wheel while mud splashes the track and you enjoy some very successful views. The game was provided by Magnew, thanks.



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Thanks to Magnew Ltd. for the review code!


+ Control is very satisfying in an arcade game
+ Well-designed circuits that invite you to be mastered
+ Very striking visual appearance and a good musical selection


– The Trajectory mode gradually falls into fatigue, as tests and circuits are repeated
– Trials and special events fail to bring variety to the main mode
– Despite being inspired by Dirt 2 and 3, more classic Rally events are missed

Publisher: Codemasters

Developer: Codemasters

Genre: Racing video game

Release date: November 6, 2020

Dirt 5

Gameplay - 8.2
Graphics - 8.6
Control - 9.2
Music/Audio - 7.8
Ambience - 7.8



I think that Dirt 5 comes out successfully from the skid, precisely because it recovers part of its identity that with its fourth instalment was somewhat in doubt. But I also notice that there is still room for improvement if the spirit of the saga is recovered even more, once again betting on a spectacular Rally, but Rally after all. And mix it up with that highly polished control that feels so good when it comes to making tight lines and strong counter-flywheels. It's nice to get behind the wheel while mud splashes the track and you enjoy some very successful views.

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