We return to the dirt in Codemasters' latest rally game, on the brand new Series X
The first thing I'll say about this is if you loved DIRT 4 and were hoping this will be an obvious sequel to that game then you will be disappointed but, in my case, I prefer the feel of DIRT 5.
So, DIRT 5, one of the first games to openly advertise at the start that it would be optimised with a new gen version for Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5 and when you play it you can tell its been worked on for those consoles because it is absolutely stunning!
DIRT 5 kind of mixes up the playing field a little bit, taking aspects of rally with some aspects of DIRT Showdown except this time its actually fun. The rally stages from A to B where you are on your own trying to set the best time, sorry guys but that's gone, you have the A to B races but nothing like a rally stage but with the new handling physics those kind of stages really wouldn't suit the playstyle so Codies have left that side of the fun to DIRT Rally and rightly so as well, no point in having 2 different kinds of games with the same aspects.
There are so many things I love about this game while at the same time there are numerous thing I would like to see added or changed but of course this is just my personal preference so let's start off with the good things.
Vehicles. I love the variety, you range from classic rally cars to buggies to what I could have swore to god was an actual rally tractor, each with their different handling styles that either requires precision and tactical thinking or constant pedal to the metal, obviously depending on the course itself.
Environments. The tracks themselves are absolutely breath-taking with the different locations, surface types and the weather guys, seriously the weather. I love the different kinds of weather featured in this game. You could start the stage in the sun, next thing you know its pouring down with rain in a massive tropical thunderstorm type setting with electrical strikes all around you bringing more intensity to your race making you have the focus more on your driving as it can limit your vision as you go along.
Playgrounds. If someone asked me to define this I would say if Trackmania had a baby with Stuntman (remember that PS2 game? If you do you grew up right). I was lucky enough to be a part of the closed alpha for playgrounds and I instantly fell in love, its basically a stage creator in replacement of the stage creator from DIRT 4, which wouldn't have worked in this game with all the changes to the gameplay and features. The kinds of stages that have already been made have been phenomenal ranging from Gymkhana to checkpoint to sign smashing, it really lets you bring out your creative side and make the kind of levels that really work well with the physics of the cars, especially with the different environment types like either being in a stadium or a massive desert so you can make a kick ass rally cross style level inside a stadium or a Ken Block style Gymkhana around the desert with a massive variety of objects like tubes you can drive through, to slanted curves, to actual loops and a lot more. It's the kind of thing that you really need to experience for yourself to appreciate the work that has been put into it.
Ok now let us move onto the things that I would have personally improved upon or changed.
Customisation. I was really disappointed with this, especially with the amount of cars available that could bring out everyone's creative capabilities beyond making stages. The way it works is there are just set designs and liveries and then you change the colour of those liveries, think of Euro Truck Simulator. If this game had the Forza Motorsport style customisation then it would be perfect because the possibilities are absolutely endless but with it being the case of you just change the colour of these set liveries and set placements of sponsor decals on your car really makes it feel more child friendly than letting you make the car truly your own.
Campaign. The thing that really disappoints me with the campaign is the lack of variety, don't get me wrong there is a lot of events to do so you'll be doing the campaign for a while but some of the events just feel way too similar, even though they have different event names with different vehicles, it just doesn't feel like its something different every time. One thing I do like is the little bonus objectives in each event so you have a reason to not just rush into first and then stay there, you can have challenges like stay above 70mph for a certain distance to overtake an opponent while drifting to trade paint with an opponent while in the air from a jump.
There aren't really many things with the game that bugs me other than the above but of course there are more things to come with the season pass and stuff and I feel that the customisation can be developed with an update and feedback from the community, I see that the review levels on Steam are mixed but it seems to be a bit of a trend because steering wheels aren't supported at launch but people seem to not realise that Codies have confirmed that support is coming really soon and people saying the graphics are like a mobile game. Really? Seriously? Get a grip. The graphics are absolutely amazing and Codies should be proud of the work they do.
I've got to be honest; this game gives me Driveclub vibes and I love that, Driveclub was an amazing game and it's a shame that the studio was shut because the talent there was endless.
My verdict? A great game to show off the abilities of the new generation of consoles from the graphics, to loading times and the content that can be added with the new hardware. Seriously get this game and have an open mind to change because in some cases change is good and this is definitely a good change.