[PlayStation 4] DIRT 5 Review

by the_nmac

Pavement, snow, mud, ice… dirt. It doesn’t matter what surface you’re racing on because, in Dirt 5, you’ll be taking on it in style. Check out our Dirt 5 review!

DIRT 5 is the most ambitious title yet in Codemasters’ legendary off-road franchise. With brand new features and breathtaking action, DIRT 5 creates a vibe that delivers big on epic racing, pure expression, and unbridled style.
o Master over 70 routes in 10 global locations. From ice racing in New York, to the marble mines of Italy, to twisting through the favelas of Brazil, conquer dynamic weather and hazardous terrain across all corners of the world.

o Create highlight-reel moments with a stunning selection of cars – from classic rally icons, to unlimited trucks, to 900bhp sprint cars.

o Rise to stardom in a story-driven Career starring world-renowned voice talents Troy Baker and Nolan North. Prove your worth, earn sponsorships and defeat a fierce rival in an atmospheric world of off-road racing.

o Eight race event types to experience, including boulder-conquering Stampedes across the most extreme surfaces, winding Land Rush circuits, point-to-point Sprint routes, and the return of Gymkhana arenas.

o Take the fun online with events designed for action-packed racing, or try something different with objective-based modes that test your driving skills.

o Photo Mode captures your greatest moments, a livery editor offers near-unlimited design options, and more new features encourage you to play and create.”

Dirt 5 is the latest entry in the long-running racing series from Codemasters, and it’s ready for you on PlayStation 4! I’ve reviewed many of Codemasters games over the years, and I cannot emphasize enough how I believe they are one of the best companies out there it comes to racing titles, and that’s a winning streak that is not going to change with Dirt 5!

Dirt 5 puts you back on the tracks with a bevy of new features and upgrades. I’ll start off by saying this is being reviewed on my PlayStation 4 Pro, and once the free upgrade to the PlayStation 5 happens in a few weeks, I’ll give you my thoughts on how the new system handles the game. I’m really looking forward to seeing it in 120 frames per second, as well as how the controller handles the haptic feedback option.

When you get going with Dirt 5, there is not a tutorial, with the game throwing you headfirst into a race. It felt right to me since I’ve had plenty of experience with racing games and with the Dirt series in general. We all know that the upper triggers on the DualShock 4 will be used for accelerating and hitting the breaks – been there, done that. I quickly got used to how my car handled over the truck, and while I didn’t land in first place, I got a good feel of how the new AI racers were going to give me trouble.

Getting into the menus, you are introduced to a podcast talking about the Dirt series races. It was certainly different, and between your choices for career progression that will take place in the background between all the racing, it added a little extra flavor to the whole thing. The commentary was unique, and because it was used sparingly and not force-fed during races, it didn’t get old either. In fact, it helped set it apart from other racing games with a Career Mode!

The big push of the Dirt series is the fact you race on something other than tarmac. Initially, it was Dirt – hence the name for the series – but it has evolved over time to have you reach on pretty much any surface. Each type of terrain feels different, and depending on weather conditions, it can change mid-race, forcing you to make changes to stay ahead of the pack. One of the first big moments when I was playing was during a dirt course race, and midway through the course, a rainstorm hit, slowly turning the dirt course into a mud rally. It completely changed the way the car felt! Another instance saw me taking on a snow course, and the sun started to melt the snow on the track, leaving wet spots all over it, once again forcing me to change my strategy. The ice forced me to drive slower since I ended up with some crazy drifting. On the other hand, the snow felt deep and was hard to push through, with dirt feeling loose on the track and the tarmac giving me the best possible grip. I was really impressed with how every track type felt different and how the car reacted to them.

There is a ton to do in the Career Mode, with lots of races, and you can pick and choose which ones to take on by using sort of a flowchart system. So if you are having an issue with a race, you can take a different route and carry on! There are multiple chapters to get through, with each race having some mini-goals in each one, such as being in first for so long, trading paint while jumping, drifting. It adds a metagame to each race as you try to complete as many of these mini-goals as possible. You will be rewarded with experience and money at the end of each race, allowing you to level up your profile, thus gaining access to different things for your cars at different levels. You also get access to more sponsors with different bonuses and perks!

There is an Online Mode, which at the time of writing this review, isn’t properly populated since the game is not technically out just yet. There’s also a Playgrounds Mode with a track creator that can be put to good use. I’m very curious to see what the community-driven courses are going to end up being!

Graphically, you can tell this title was pushing my PS4 Pro to the absolute limits. You can choose between performance, focusing on the framerate, or a visual boost, focusing on the 4K presentation. The 4K looked stunning, so I definitely look forward to seeing what the enhanced PlayStation 5 upgrade version is going to look like in a few weeks. I did have a few issues of screen tearing that did look weird, but it was not a deal-breaker.

Dirt 5 is a master class in how to build a great racing game. The many different types of terrain to race on, as well as how they react under different weather conditions, were simply stunning. It has a fun Career Mode with tons of things to do, and the game was certainly pushing my PS4 Pro to its limit, with only some small screen tearing as an issue. This is an easy one to recommend to fans of racing games, and it’s certainly a must-have for fans of the Dirt series. And if you’re getting a PS5 soon, you can get the free upgrade to that version for some next-gen fun!

This DIRT 5 review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Codemasters Inc..

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