STUCK IN THE MUD
PC Gamer US Edition|February 2021
DIRT 5 ventures down a well-travelled track.
Phil Iwaniuk

Who and what is Dirt 5 for? I don’t know the answer, and I’m not sure Codemasters does either. After all, this is a series that made a name by injecting a bit of extreme sports culture into the Colin McRae Rally series, which was itself beginning to feel a bit warmed-up by 2007. Colin McRae: Dirt was fresh and fun, chucking its pace-notes out of the passenger window, and doing a donut just because it felt like it.

The problem, is that recently Dirt Rally and its sequel came along. Lovely, strait-laced Dirt Rally. It was so brilliant it reminded us how much we missed pace-notes, and realistic offroad handling, and drizzly Welsh lanes. Just like that, we like the old style of rally game again. The one Dirt was invented to revitalize.

Which leaves game number 5 without a clear raison d’etre. All the core elements, its essential Dirt-osity, were devised as a deliberate departure from sim-minded, realistic driving. But right now, as Dirt Rally 2 enjoys a passionate community and sim-racing esports gain momentum, sim-minded, realistic driving is exactly where the excitement is.

Of course, you might really fancy a non-taxing racer, where braking is genuinely optional and a familiar pyramid of events wraps itself around you from the career menu like a comfort blanket. We all fancy that sometimes, and Dirt 5 is those things, certainly—it’s just a very familiar version of those things.

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