Dirt 5 is an offroad racing game that was created by Codemasters and is available this month on PS Plus. The game attempts to set up a narrative by casting the player as a rookie driver being mentored by the lovable Troy Baker. No prizes for guessing that Nolan North takes on the role of your nemesis. In between the races, the 2 of them will mingle in a series of podcasts that were created by Donut Media and I must admit the podcasts is a unique way of constructing a narrative.
But to be honest I prefer that driving games forego any form of storytelling because it’s the type of genre that doesn’t benefit from having a plot. While previous Dirt games have attempted to strike a balance between arcade and simulation racing, Dirt 5 focuses purely on the arcade aspect of the series with Dirt Rally now serving as the home for simulation-style racing.
While this decision isn’t going to please everyone the driving in Dirt 5 is excellent with tight controls being the order of the day although I recommend turning up the difficulty because the default AI is so pathetic it’s like stealing candy from a baby. Thankfully Dirt 5 makes up for any shortcomings with its superb day/night cycle coupled with an impressive weather system. What seems like a simple party trick at first creates an engaging experience as you adjust your driving style to match the conditions.
For example, a race can begin with clear sunny skies before the player finds themselves being overwhelmed by numerous hazards. The development of Dirt 5 was handled by the newly formed Codemasters Cheshire and the studio is comprised of people from Evolution Studios that worked on Drive Club, Motorstorm, and Onrush. You can see the studio’s DNA with track designs being reminiscent of Motorstorm while the dynamic weather system evokes memories of Drive Club. The campaign is broken into 5 chapters with 125 races and 13 competitions against individual rivals.
The greatest strength of the Dirt franchise has always been its strong variety and this remains true with the latest installment from driving vintage rally cars on the frozen river to pulling off stunts in the gymkhana events. There is a healthy assortment of different locations and vehicles to maintain your interest throughout the extensive Career Mode. In terms of customization, users can remap every aspect of the controls as they please. In addition to this, you can adjust the difficulty and enable auto-breaking.
Options like this will no doubt make the game more approachable for newcomers or people with disabilities although the omission of a racing line and rewind functionality might be a deal-breaker for some players. There’s also a custom livery option included in the package but the creation tools are a bit limited. The graphics of Dirt 5 look stunning especially on a 4K monitor and there is an option to run the game on 120 FPS.
Dirt 5 sees the long-awaited return of local split-screen allowing up to 4 people to race against each other on a single screen but I refuse to give any praise for its inclusion because split-screen should never have been removed in the first place. If you’re unable to organize a play date amongst your friends the online multiplayer, has you covered. At the end of the list, we have the track editor known as the playground, and the community has created some truly insane stuff using these tools.
Unfortunately, you can’t race against another person on a user-generated course as the playground is strictly a solo fare against the clock. I had a blast playing Dirt 5 as the driving is excellent and the career mode offers a massive variety of different events not to mention the dynamic weather systems coupled with a day/night cycle makes for an incredible driving experience but some fans might not be taken by the emphasis on arcade-style racing. For everyone else, this game will no doubt serve you well especially if you’re a fan of racing games.
Dirt 5 will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Tuesday, February 1.
Dirt 5 is a great racing game as the driving is excellent and the career mode offers a massive variety of different events not to mention the dynamic weather systems coupled with a day/night cycle makes for an incredible driving experience.