DIRT 5 (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Neil Flynn 10.12.2020

Review for DIRT 5 on Xbox Series X/S

Driving supremos Codemasters are back with another instalment of the DIRT series, and don't be fooled into thinking this is Codemasters 5th rodeo, they've been fine tuning their driving expertise for decades and have consistently delivered on making an excellent experience every time. Is DIRT 5 the exception to the rule though? Read on to find out.

Codemasters have definitely gone all out to make the DIRT 5 feel like a playground with visual pops and vibrant colours, not only from the stunning worldwide tracks but with constant confetti, fireworks and multi-coloured smoke flares going off. The soundtrack is similarly upbeat and met with a fast tempo, so much so that this is the closest thing to a car rave that one could have, so be prepared to jump in for a wild ride.

Those who played, and subsequently adored DIRT 4, might be in for a shock, as not only has the visual theme changed but this is very much a throttle down arcade racer, removing the nuanced simulation style from its predecessors. It is a controversial change to make and will definitely become a sticking point. DIRT 5 has shredded up the tight and stricter simulation style gameplay from previous iterations and has opted for a very brash arcade racer that has given this series a much-needed revamp. DIRT 4 did have a feature titled 'gamer mode' which essentially removed the simulation style element to make the game easier but DIRT 5 has gone full speed to making this title wholly more accessible to the masses.

Screenshot for DIRT 5 on Xbox Series X/S

DIRT 5's vibes are much cheesier than its predecessors, and has a very much American punk-rocker 2000's feel about it, with storied commentary from Bruno Durand (played by Nolan North) and AJ (voiced by Troy Barker) that is somewhat irksome and annoying. On the plus side the dialogue can be skipped or muted for anyone who doesn't enjoy it.

The Career mode sees the player navigating the turns and tumultuous events of an up-and-coming driver through multiple races across 10 different worldwide locations ranging from Brazil, South Africa, Norway, Italy and Morocco to name a few. Career mode has 130 events, across a number of branching paths in 5 different chapters and a multitude of events. Admittedly It took a while to realise that there were different types of events and races, as they fail to really distinguish the difference between them. Sure, the terrain and vehicles changed, but often or not it was just race to the finish in a different setting. To unlock more events in each chapter drivers must perform well in each race and complete particular objectives per race to earn stamps. Objectives help add some extra challenge to particular races, although some of them are pretty basic, such as overtaking a number of cars, which should always happen, or exceeding a certain speed for a certain distance. On the other hand, some objectives can include more cumbersome challenges such as trading paint (grinding against another car) while in the air, which can be a bit more difficult to execute if there are only a limited number of jumps in the course. This optional added layer of difficulty is very rewarding and helps keep races entertaining until all three objectives can be checked off.

Screenshot for DIRT 5 on Xbox Series X/S

The freedom to create is fun, and DIRT 5's Playground mode is a step up from the "Your Stage" mode in DIRT 4 which created a procedurally generated track from a number of player chosen variations. DIRT 5's Playground mode is a customisable arena editor that has a number of editing options from adding in dirt mounds and ramps to create something very unique. Similar to any creation tool in any game it becomes quickly apparent to marvel others creations. It is easy and intuitive to create, but just like in Super Mario Maker 2, it is often easier and more fun exploring other people's creations instead. Outside of playground mode there is an online mode with options of racing or participating in party mode.

Screenshot for DIRT 5 on Xbox Series X/S

DIRT 5 on Xbox Series S gives three visual options; "Prioritise Image Quality", "Prioritise Resolution", "High Frame Rate Mode". These are all quite self-explanatory, prioritising image quality improves textures, lighting effects, shading and anything that can help sharpen that image with any added extra details. The Xbox Series S is capable of up to a resolution of 1440p but with the fast and fluid action happening and complexity of track details it does seem to not reach these heights as often as it claims and does not look as good as the bigger brother of the Xbox Series X, nonetheless even at 1080p the game does look solid albeit with certain details on tracks and cars being scaled down a tad compared to Xbox Series X. The option of High Frame Rate mode jumps up the anti to 120fps, but the resolution takes an incredible sacrifice, so much so that details on cars and the track side are nothing more than a blurry muddy mess. In Frame Rate mode driver names that are present above each driver's car are nothing else other than squinting at the bottom line at the opticians. The resolution looks like it is running at 480p which is not pretty, so it's recommended to stay at 1080p 60fps instead.

Adding to the visual display are the dynamic weather and time of day systems which can help change the look and feel of tracks. Weather effects that include heavy rain and snow storms or perhaps starting a track in the late afternoon and transitioning to night time all give the feeling of a real-world environment. Add in the fact that there are a multitude of terrain options including the ice-laden frozen rivers of New York or the muddy rally tracks of Brazil and there are truly a huge number of variations that can help keep tracks feeling fresh and different.

Screenshot for DIRT 5 on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Codemasters truly are the experts of their craft. DIRT 5 is a step in a different direction that will be met with some fans not enjoying the rather arcade-style gameplay, but it is absolute joy for those do like this type of fast-fluid party action. There is enough variation in track diversity thanks to the dynamic weather and track terrain conditions to help keep DIRT 5 fresh.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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