From developer Codemasters, Dirt 5 is the latest release of the classic Colin McCrae Rally-turned-Dirt series of games.
Containing over 60 cars from 13 different classes, with more reportedly coming later as DLC, Dirt 5 immediately feels like a classic off-road romp of explosive proportions. Additionally, all of these cars have many graphical options for adjustment, including colors and patterns, graphical livery, stickers, and sponsorship representation. Many of these visual customisation options are gated behind career mode progression and reputation thresholds though.
By choice, the majority of my time spent in the world of Dirt 5 was spent in the career mode. Career mode consists of competing along a branching path containing a variety of events, including standards such as ultra cross and rally raids. The nice thing about this option of progressing through alternative paths is, should there be an event that you dislike, or, in my case, are just terrible at, then said events can usually be avoided completely. Thankfully, not many events fell under this category for me as they all had differing challenges that kept me on my toes and drove me to keep trying to get more coins and reputation.
Speaking of reputation, other aspects of Dirt 5‘s career mode include sponsorships to earn and maintain, as well as throwdown challenges from other rally drivers. While mostly just a side distraction from the main races, these diversions did represent an ability to take a break from the normal intensity and dive deeper into the career aspect of the game.
Of course, no modern racing-based game would be complete without a plethora of other modes. Dirt 5 features standards such as arcade and online multiplayer modes, though I was unable to try out multiplayer due to frequent issues related to trying to connect with the Dirt 5 servers. Hopefully this limitation will be resolved upon the full release of the game.
The new Playgrounds mode is what seems to have the most replayability potential. This mode allows players to create their own arenas for the Gate Crasher, Gymkhana, and Smash Attack modes. Featuring a suite of tools to let your imagination run wild, I am hopeful that once players get their hands on the game we will be treated to a growing collection of crazy arenas to extend play past random races and career mode.
This need to extend replayability is indeed one of the main complaints about this entry in my opinion. As much as I enjoyed the challenge and variety of the first few chapters of the career mode, Dirt 5 unfortunately begins to feel a bit stale and repetitive after a while. This is not to downplay the excellent quality of the gameplay and graphics themselves. Instead it speaks to the limitations of having such a long career mode that seems to try to take the safe, tried and true path rather than rocking the creativity boat as time goes on.
My only other complaint may be purely a personal one, but still worth mentioning. While I welcomed the visual customisation options, which I spent WAY too much time tinkering with, it is almost an expectation of modern racers in my opinion that performance customisations be available as well. I felt that, despite unlocking most of the vehicles, it didn’t benefit me to choose one over another other than visual preferences. It would have been nice to have more variety in the way of boosting car performance, tweaking handling, and so on.
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