Preview: DiRT 5 – No Pace Notes Required for this Win

Take-Two Codemasters

DiRT franchise is probably one of the most known franchises when it comes to off-road rally racing. Starting its journey way back as Colin McRae Rally, the studio has come a long way with its DiRT franchise now branching off into two different directions with DiRT Rally catering to a more hardcore rally audience while the normal DiRT still sticking to its more arcade-focused roots and catering to a much more casual rally fan. Their latest entry in the franchise DiRT 5 is slated to release later this year in October 2020 however we managed to secure an early access copy for our preview. This is our Early Access preview of DiRT 5 in which we get down and dirty in some of the most capable off-road machines.

Let’s start with the locations featured in the preview build. While the preview build featured just three locations from the full game, each location had its own unique feel and challenges. Not only these locations look good, but they are also great to drive on. You have dusty deserts to lush green forests to drive different vehicles through. The rainforest levels were full of green trees, bumpy roads, and deep marshes with insane climbs that really put the vehicles and your driving skills to their test. The much more manageable desert track was long and offered some great high-speed sequences which were followed by trickier S-turns and technical U-turns. Apart from the locations, the vehicles are really well-designed as well. Depending on the level, they will get dirty and muddy by the end of the race as you thrash them around in rain and mud.

Since each track offers a unique terrain, the driving strategy on the track is also different. The level of detail at each level is really good and the general track design is also brilliant in the game. Certain turns and track hurdles are strategically placed around bends and corners that you even the AI was having a hard time going around them. Seeing the AI make mistakes while playing games is also not something that you see in most video games and this made the game feel much more alive. There were plenty of instances where the AI overshot their braking points while trying to overtake me or hitting different walls and ditches made them look much more realistic than video games where the AI acts like a brainless robot, following a set driving line. This brings me to one of the brand-new features included in DiRT 5 which is dynamic weather and time.

One of the most striking features of DiRT 5 is its dynamic weather and time. You start off at a time and pretty soon it starts raining or snowing then as the stage goes on, it starts to get even worse. When the weather kicks in, the game changes completely and you have to face against another brand-new challenge while competing with the AI drivers. Depending on the time and weather, sometimes it gets completely dark and snowy or sometimes the roads are filled up with water creating water ditches and the terrain harder to maneuver especially if you are driving an RWD car. There were different instances when I went from the first place to the very last because the extreme weather made is literally impossible to see what was coming ahead.

Preview DiRT 5

This makes the game feel more alive and realistic because just like in real-life, weather plays an important role as it changes the visibility and drive. Dynamic weather and time are probably one of the features that I am sure a lot of DiRT fans were hoping to be part of the game and thankfully, the new game comes equipped with this brilliant feature. Not only, does the lightning, thundering clouds, rain, and snow look good in the game but they also force you to change your driving strategy. It is not just a visual upgrade for the game but actually affects your driving in the game,

Another factor that I really liked about DiRT 5 is how each and every vehicle felt unique in the game. While the preview build had a small number of vehicles in the game, still they were enough to make me realize that they are not just different shells driving under the same driving physics. 4WD drive vehicles feel much stiffer around the corner, but they excel at tackling dirt tracks and harsh terrains whereas RWD vehicles are nimbler around the corners but suffer in acceleration and moving around in harsh terrains like mud and snow. Vehicle weight is also pretty visible in the game and you will notice each vehicle’s weight right from the very first time you start driving it.

Depending on the car class, the Super Lites were extremely agile and light on their wheels as they bounce and slide around tracks while on the other hand, the much meatier Cross Raid vehicles felt heavier around the corners and much more confident as they tackled different surfaces. The brand new Sprint Car class debuting in the franchise with DiRT 5 is a whole new breed of fun and precision. They are something you’ve never experienced before as you are driving these small, light 900HP RWD buggies around dirt tracks. I can say for sure that the full DiRT 5 game will not disappoint when it comes to vehicle physics and diversity.

All of this combines together to deliver a solid arcade rally experience. The numbered DiRT titles were always focused on a more casual audience and I can say that DIRT 5 is playable by a diverse variety of racers. If you need more of a driving challenge, you can turn off different assists in the game such as traction control, stability control, and ABS. Turning them off in extreme off-road tracks certainly shows that even with its arcade-focused gameplay, the raw and brutal gameplay of the DiRT franchise still lies underneath the shell.

My favorite DiRT game in the franchise was DiRT 2 and the main reason was that the game was bright, colorful, and felt alive with its live menu screens and upbeat music. With the amount of time that I have spent with DiRT 5 for my preview, I can easily say that Codemasters is returning back to its roots with the star-studded Career mode and a diverse selection of vehicles. Previously only DiRT 1 featured Dakar Rally Trucks but now they are making a comeback in DiRT 5. We still have to see more details about the game which will be revealed gradually leading to its full release later this year however I can hardly wait to play it because Codemasters is doing an amazing job with the game and I had a blast playing the preview build.

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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