DiRT 5 is the perfect next gen launch title for racing fans

With thousands of players onboarded with next-gen systems all over the world, you’re going to start seeing a lot more comparisons with older hardware.

If you remember, I covered DiRT 5 a week or so back having played the game quite a bit on Xbox One and PS4. However, due to some issues with the game pre-launch, I decided to hold back a final, full analysis until I got my hands on the next-gen version.

As you can see above, just as I suspected, this game runs beautifully and is a wonderful sight to behold on brand new consoles with blisteringly fast load times, stunning attention to detail, and a screen that is just full of activity.

The load time was the first thing I noticed, with cars populating faster and races starting much quicker than before. I can’t overstate how much I am already in love with how speedy everything is and how soon it all boots up on screen, letting me jump into the games I want. Forget 4K and 120FPS, this is the next gen feature that excites me most.

DiRT 5 massively benefits from this, seamlessly moving you from one branch of career to the next, but just as quickly letting you find a lobby online or take a turn of one of the Gymkhana arenas. Comparative to Xbox One, honestly, it’s night and day.

Graphics are a slightly different story. No surprise to say, they’re certainly improved, but the areas I expected to find the biggest changes weren’t the ones I noticed most. The environments have so much more activity than on last-gen, with more gravel pickups when cars are zooming past, noticeable changes to weather effects like lightning illuminating the entire screen, and spoilers somehow getting even more caked in dirt and cars becoming total dust traps. It’s beautifully authentic.

The celebration confetti is also in full supply with the ground absolutely covered with it, each individual piece animated accurately. The fireworks were more dazzling than before, whether you’re viewing the vibrancy from a distance or feel up close and personal with the scorching heat. It may seem like a simple thing, but I was even prouder of myself for winning a race than I was last time out. Great effort has gone into … well … devising a ceremony that rewards you for your efforts.

The cars themselves are also positively radiating. Gleaming when reflecting off the sun, glimmering as you spin them around to admire every detail in the showroom. They all shine in more ways than one and it’s truly spectacular.

That odd hue and blur that plagued the last-gen formats a little bit is all but gone. In its place, one beautifully realized course after another. I am stunned at how much work has gone into these courses to both make them seem authentic to their real life counterparts but also make it seem as if are set in that part of the world, from the terrain, to the sounds and everything in-between. Textures are smooth and filled out, models are delicately formed and don’t stick out like a sore thumb as they did before. It all just clicks.

Most importantly, though, that stuttery frame rate I mentioned before is completely gone. It’s an absolute non-issue on Series X, with cars sliding and gliding without the slightest hiccup on your screen. That video I recorded above shows you just how smooth the entire experience is and it still doesn’t come close to doing it justice. This needs to be seen and played to be believed.

Something I also didn’t mention before is just how good this game’s soundtrack is. Cruising with these tunes is a complete joy and while the commentry can grate a bit, once you’re out on the track, you’ll soon forget about it and be relishing in the growls of the engines and the satisfying sound of sludge as your tires skid across all surfaces.

Just as I hoped and indicated in my last piece, DiRT 5 is completely at home on next-gen consoles. It belongs on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 and is the definitive choice for racers at the launch of these two brand new systems.

Not just that, though, Codemasters have put together one of my favourite racing experiences of the last few generations. I have access to the additional content so will be revisiting the game anyway for further coverage, but even if I didn’t, this is the kind of game I’d keep on my hard drive to lose an hour to pretty regularly.

Between the campaign, the online, and the Gymkhana, you’ll have more than enough to keep you occupied and keep you coming back for more and more. And if DiRT 5 is any indication whatsoever, I truly believe it’s the racing genre that will benefit most of all from this gen. if this how things look and play from day one, I cannot wait to see how this hardware is used a few years from now. Simply stunning!

For impressions on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of DiRT 5, click here


+ A consistently entertaining rollercoaster of awesome
+ Environments and weather effects are beautiful
+ So much content between all major modes
+ Great soundtrack
+ My favourite racing game of the last few years


– Commentary can be a bit grating at times

DiRT 5 is now available on PC, Xbox, PS4, and PS5. A Stadia version will follow

Tested on Xbox Series X

Code kindly provided by Codemasters

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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