DiRT 5 Review: Rough and Ready

3,801
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
I'm surprised that you say the career mode is as haphazard is it with regards to the career structure. Granted, I didn't play GRID 2019 (though I have a feeling that the same problems persist with that game) but usually Codemasters is good with, even within the tasting platter approach they've taken to games for decades now, usually having a good slow burn with regards to the career mode, giving you a good base to start with and ratcheting up the speed and length of races as you go along.

Everything else is pretty much as expected, though it will be fun to see, like many other DiRT 5 threads, the amount of people who can't see the forest for the trees and wonder why this isn't as realistic as DR2.0.
 

Famine

GTP Editor, GTPEDIA Author
Administrator
72,918
United Kingdom
Rule 12
GTP_Famine
I'm surprised that you say the career mode is as haphazard is it with regards to the career structure. Granted, I didn't play GRID 2019 (though I have a feeling that the same problems persist with that game) but usually Codemasters is good with, even within the tasting platter approach they've taken to games for decades now, usually having a good slow burn with regards to the career mode, giving you a good base to start with and ratcheting up the speed and length of races as you go along.
This is... not that.

The very first race in Career Mode is a Modern Rally (the unlocked car is the Fabia R5) "Ultra Cross" at the Norway location for two laps, against 11 AI cars. That then lets you race the same car against the same 11 AI in a "Rally Raid" point-to-point at the Greece location or a "Land Rush" in Cross Raid (SUV-bodied rally raid cars) in China for two laps, against the same 11 AI. I don't know what the functional difference between Land Rush and Ultra Cross is - it's two laps in mud.

Beat either and it's Cross Raid cars in a "Stampede" (uhh... two laps of a course against the same 11 AI again). That leads into Formula Off-Road in a point-to-point in South Africa, or Formula Off-Road in a two-lap Land Rush in Greece. Then it's back to Modern Rally in Ultra Cross in Norway again, then an Ice Breaker (two laps, but this time it's icy) in Modern Rally in New York, or a Stampede (two laps) in Brazil in Cross Raid. Then you start getting choices of four events, and then there's three Main Events (Cross Raid/China/two laps; Modern Rally/Italy/two laps; Cross Raid/Italy/two laps) to end the purple section of races and move to the yellow section which is no less chaotic. You can also go into a different area to race a head-to-head against one driver at the end of each section.

I'd go on further, but the game update today has totally wiped my progress at about a third of the way through.

There's literally no flow from one thing to the next, except that the 11 AI cars have exactly the same names, and no structure. The races all feel very same-y with three exceptions: the ice racing is good fun and feels genuinely different; Pathfinder/Gymkhana are a solo events; and Sprint Cars are (or were, yesterday; I'm not willing to start again to find out) absolutely impossible to drive. That makes it really, really hard to get into the narrative that you're some rookie driver starting out in this sport when you've flown twice around the world and are smashing up an Aston Martin DBX by your fifth race.

All the while in the background you have this podcast going on, and that's where the "story" is. You don't - as far as I know having reached the point at which AJ and Bruno have their race, and the consequences of that - ever get to race the story characters, or even see them, just the same 11 AI names. They just occasionally appear as voices in the podcast, or when AJ drops in one of three comments after a race (something about overtaking, something about breaking suspension, something about not winning any friends).


And while I couldn't give it a higher score for physics and handling because there is so little depth, it can be fun to slide the cars about (especially on the ice races) and it will be fun in multiplayer, and Playgrounds is ace.
 

MXH

Filthy casual
Premium
3,009
Sweden
Gangsterstaden
Looks like another game that I'll be holding off buying until an inevitable Christmas sale. DiRT5 certainly seems like a fun game but in the end there has been very few things that made me want to go for a day-one purchase. Seeing the initial reviews definitely solidified my decision.

Otherwise, great review, @Famine. Is the possibility to create your own custom championships in?
 
1,674
Poland
Gdynia
MroczMR
I really hope that next Codemasters game will be refined and better RaceDriver GRID for next gens.
 
1,007
Malaysia
Malaysia
MXH
Is the possibility to create your own custom championships in?

Don't think so, I did a quick check on the arcade mode this morning and it is the usual pick a track, car class, weather, number of laps, AI count, AI difficulty then start race.
 
2,153
Belgium
Lokeren
breyzipp
My initial impressions on Xbox One X running on 60 FPS mode and completing about 3-4 campaign races:

the pro’s:
1) I absolutely love the environments and the graphics. Can’t wait to see how this looks on my XSX next week!
2) I did not play any Playgrounds yet but that is a revolutionary new addition IMO!
3) Seems to run stable. No issues whatsoever. (Not correct anymore: Update, see nr.4 onder con’s)
4) Even on current gen this game (during races) looks really great.
5) Handbrake drifting/sliding in corners is fun!
6) Cockpit view feels very immersive.

the doubts:
1) The handling felt a bit weird in the starter Skoda but a bit better in the starter VW. Might just be me needing to get a hang of it.
3) I honestly couldn’t care less about the goofy presenters in career mode.
4) Pretty long loading times even on X1X. I guess it will be way better on XSX but it’s a clear departure from current gen.
5) Mixed feelings about the livery creator.

the con’s:
1) A lot of screen tearing going on!
2) Subtitles went out of sync with spoken dialogue more than once.
3) A bit of a deja vu feeling with the game, in career at least. Once the novelty of the graphics wears off, I guess this is just another Codemasters racing game.
4) On the first career race in Africa (with the green thing that looks like a beefed up traktor), on the post race screen the game froze up on me. Only showed me a A button to continue but it didn’t work. Had to hard quit the game.This happened later again with the starter Skoda, exact same bug, see screenshot below.
5) The headlight / rooflight beam on at least the green traktor thing is far too weak. You barely see a thing in front of you for races in the dark (and real life daytime).
6) AI cars that rub against the player, slow the player down a lot while themselves not having this speed reduction.
7) AI cars clearly don’t have the same handling / physics / weather model as the player car which gives them an unfair advantage, especially in corners on snow covered surfaces.
8) After playing some more, I have to say the AI is pathetic. They either ram, cheat, rubberband or plain suck. It’s hands down the WORSE AI I have seen in a video game in recent memory.

Below is the annoying lockup screen where the only thing you see is a Continue button (which doesn’t work). This is instead of the screen where you are supposed to get your XP, rep and credits.
https://gamerdvr.com/gamer/breyzipp/screenshot/22020156
 
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2,153
Belgium
Lokeren
breyzipp
In followup of my previous post, I just want to add here that yesterday’s patch completely fixed the screen tearing issues I had on X1X. Performance is a lot more smooth as well now, both in graphics and in performance mode. The post race freeze bug hasn’t appeared anymore either after a dozen or so races.

Very bad AI is now by far the biggest issue of the game and needs urgent fixing. It doesn’t follow the handling model of the player on dirt or ice surfaces which results in a cheating AI. It also crashes into the player, for example when I already crashed and stopped on track, they just slam into me as if I’m not there instead of avoiding me. They have zero player awareness.
 
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2,153
Belgium
Lokeren
breyzipp
In followup of my previous post, I just want to add here that yesterday’s patch completely fixed the screen tearing issues I had on X1X. Performance is a lot more smooth as well now, both in graphics and in performance mode.

Two things I want to add again to this, after some more playing:

1) Yesterday when playing on some tracks I notice some obvious popping in the distance, not like objects popping into sight out of nowhere, but more popping in changing from lower to higher LOD. Also, the popping isn’t only objects, it seems to be lighting/shading changing to a higher detail level as well. I think that is where they got their performance increase with that latest patch, they added vertical sync in the background and reduced the LOD distances.

2) I still feel some sort of minor FPS drops or slight stutter but it typically happens when I’m doing corners on bigger tracks (not gymkhana or small circuits), never seems to happen when driving in straight roads no matter how fast the vehicle is. I think this might be a direct result of the screen tearing fix, as that screen tearing also happened mostly in corners (pre-patch). I think it’s a combination of a lot of background detail changing position in the background as you take your corners. Ooh yeah, I have to mention this is with chase cam far, which is also the graphically most demanding camera view.

that’s all on X1X in performance mode. Next week I’ll have my XSX and these problems no doubt will be gone (hopefully not replaced with new ones). Initially I wanted to hold off playing the game completely and have my first impressions on XSX at once, but on XSX launch day I will be playing Assassins Creed Valhalla and Fuser. In hindsight, it’s also nice to play a new game and first see it on X1X, then XSX and see how different the generation leap is (I will do the same with Forza Horizon 4 which is already over 2 years old but still my favourite racing game on console).

Still all things together, despite the popping, despite the poor AI, despite the annoying cringe vocals in career, despite frustrating modes like Sprint races, I still find Dirt 5 very enjoyable. The graphics and lighting/mood are great, I love the variety of locations, tracks and vehicles, and it’s absolutely a great “pick up for 15 minutes and play a few races game”. I still have not tried multiplayer or playgrounds, I’m still having fun in campaign.
 
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Famine

GTP Editor, GTPEDIA Author
Administrator
72,918
United Kingdom
Rule 12
GTP_Famine
I'd go on further, but the game update today has totally wiped my progress at about a third of the way through.
Aaaand I've just logged in again to find out it's done it yet again. Yay.

Edit: Turns out it will not save or load any progress. I have a save file from November 1st, but the game won't load from it, nor will it overwrite it. Amazing.
 
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3,801
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
Aaaand I've just logged in again to find out it's done it yet again. Yay.

Edit: Turns out it will not save or load any progress. I have a save file from November 1st, but the game won't load from it, nor will it overwrite it. Amazing.

Racenet servers, baby!
 
4,100
Ireland
Warwick, UK
PJTierney
PJTierney
Aaaand I've just logged in again to find out it's done it yet again. Yay.

Edit: Turns out it will not save or load any progress. I have a save file from November 1st, but the game won't load from it, nor will it overwrite it. Amazing.
I believe I read on the Discord that wiping your existing save data will allow you to save again. It’s not an ideal solution I know :(

As for why saves became corrupted or incompatible in the first place, I don’t know.
 

Barra333

Premium
5,874
Canada
London, ON
barra333
Thanks for the reviews @Scaff. I think I'll tell the guy at the game store to put my preorder back on the shelf when I pick up Sackboy and the PS5 on Thursday. Sounds like a sale or price drop purchase. I've got Dirt rally 2.0, Ride 3 and NFS Payback to satisfy my racing bug for now.