It has been thirteen years since the first instalment in the Dirt franchise and, over the course of that period of time, Codemasters have refined and polished the series into what has become one of the most enjoyable racing properties on the market. Dirt 5 continues that trend, providing what may very well be the most complete off-road rally-racing video game experience to date.
Upon loading up Dirt 5 for the first time, I was immediately blown away by the plethora of gameplay options available to me; the deep customisation options only add to that. There are countless gameplay modes and a rather incredible career mode with its own narrative—that features the voice work of iconic voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker.
The career mode will have you running the gauntlet in a variety of different styles of racing, be it rally, stadium super trucks, and even ice-road racing. You never get a chance to get bored, as the game switches things up frequently enough that you are always taking on new challenges and race types. As you progress, you earn points and level up your racer—unlocking different customisation options along the way.
Something that really stood out to me in the game was the dynamic weather and the day/night system. This gives each track and location an unpredictable feel and offers some challenging moments, especially when you are flogging it up a mountain range in the near pitch black of night or having to traverse a dangerous ice road in the middle of a storm. It just adds a level of variety to the game that really sets it apart from other racers.
In terms of multiplayer options, there is plenty to do and see here in both online and offline play. The game even features the option of four-player split screen, keeping couch multiplayer alive in a nice throwback to old school racers—that implemented split screen play to great effect.
Other than the vibrant and exciting visual aesthetics of the game, what really stands out is the fantastic soundtrack and voice work. North and Baker do an amazing job bringing the world of Dirt 5 to life with their witty lines that often feel improvised and truly natural. You won’t want to skip the banter, as you’ll be sure to get a good laugh. On top of that, the game may have arguably one of the best compiled soundtracks since Forza Horizon—which is high praise to say the least.
Overall, Dirt 5 is a superb new instalment in the long-running racing franchise; one that takes the elements of the series to another level. For a game with a title like Dirt, this game truly shines. I definitely recommend racing-game fans get their hands on this game: you’ll no doubt get a lot of play out of this one and find yourself hitting the dirt roads again and again.