Dirt 5 is the newest game in the long-running rallycross racing series and introduces a number of different changes when compared to past titles. While some changes to the newest Dirt game are apparent, there are others that only pro players and players of previous Dirt games will notice.

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These changes are made apparent for those that have stuck with the Dirt series for a while. They range from really noticeable differences in gameplay to how the cars look when compared to prior Dirt games. While these changes may not ruin the game, they certainly will affect Dirt veterans, one way or another.

Dirt 5 Has A Brighter Aesthetic And Tone, Like Older Dirt Games


One thing you'll notice straight away is how the game's overall tone and aesthetic are brighter. The game's menus and take on racing are eye-popping with colorful menus and a general festival vibe. This will remind some of Dirt 2 which had a similar look about it.


This is noticeably different from Dirt 4's look which had more of a simple look to match its more realistic take on racing, something that game had in common with Dirt's spinoff series, Dirt Rally. If this brighter aesthetic stays remains to be seen, but it certainly is different when compared to its predecessor.

Dirt 5's Tracks Feel Less Artificial

The Ford Fiesta approaches the finish line in an Ice Breaker event, a race held on ice.

One complaint from Dirt 4 was how the tracks in that game felt pretty artificial in nature. While the driving itself was fun, the tracks from the randomly generated courses all looked the same and were pretty devoid of spectators of any kind.

Dirt 5 doesn't have this problem and its different race courses have plenty of life in them. From an icy river in New York City to the Himalayas in Nepal, the game has environments that are as beautiful to look as the cars themselves. They are also full of spectators that really make you feel like you're putting on a show.

Dirt 5's Racing Is More Of An Arcade Racer

Racing in Dirt 5 (left) vs racing in Dirt 4 (right)

Another departure from its predecessor is that Dirt 5 trades away realistic racing in favor of a more arcade-like approach to racing. This means that Dirt 5 has gone back to the simcade nature of older games and leaves the realistic driving behind in Dirt 4 and Dirt Rally.

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While this may turn off some, it does make it more friendly to beginners and for those wanting to check out the Dirt series for the first time.

There Are More Race Types In Dirt 5 Than Past Games

A group of buggies races through a snowy track in Dirt 5

Dirt 5 introduces a number of different race types which offer a good amount of variety. A few of these include land rush, a circuit-based race that sees you racing across a wilderness, to gymkhana, a returning game mode that sees you perform different types of tricks to earn points within a time limit.

This is certainly a breath of fresh air from Dirt 4, which mainly consisted of point-to-point rally races where you tried to compete for the best time. While there was the occasional circuit, those were pretty rare. Seeing multiple race types return from the older Dirt games is a welcome addition.

Dirt 5 Has Less Realistic Car Damage


One thing that is certainly missed from Dirt 4 is realistic car damage. Previously, cars suffered almost life-like damage that would even affect how the car handled and damage was something you'd need to compensate for on the fly.

Dirt 5's car damage is not as realistic, which is a shame but makes sense given the more simcade approach to gameplay. There are the occasional scratches, dents, and even hoods flying off but the car damage is overall a downgrade when compared to prior Dirt games.

Cars In Dirt 5 Are Slightly Less Detailed


Dirt 5 is a great-looking game as a whole and the cars themselves look great, especially the shadows and lighting. But certain aspects of the cars are not as detailed. Some of these details were present in Dirt 4, which is especially odd.

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The outside of the cars looks a bit less detailed but the biggest difference comes from the interior of the cars when driving in first person. Dirt 5's car interiors have a noticeable lack of dials present in Dirt 4 and the side view mirrors don't display anything, something they did previously. As a result, it can be hard to tell which cars look better.

Dirt 5 Has A More Structured Campaign

DiRT_5_campaign_menu (1)

In prior Dirt games, the campaign played out similarly to other racing games where you pick a discipline to focus on and move freely between them as you see fit. Dirt 5 on the other hand, features a more structured and linear campaign where all races branch off from one another.

The goal of Dirt 5 is to compete until you reach a main event race, then winning it unlocks the next chapter. To do that you complete a race that opens a path to more races which are from a variety of different racing disciplines. While not allowing as much free choice, it does make things a bit simpler to navigate.

There Is An Actual Story In Dirt 5

Dirt 5 antagonist Bruno Durand's car in Dirt 5

In what is a first for the Dirt series there is an actual story to accompany the usual narrative of being the best racer in the world. In Dirt 5 you play as the protege of a legendary racer named AJ who is looking to groom you to be his successor. Eventually, he gets beaten by the game's antagonist, Bruno Durand, who you have to then take down.

The story is told through podcasts by two interviewers who speak to different characters as you complete more races. It's a simple story but is carried by voice acting veterans Troy Baker and Nolan North voicing AJ and Durand, respectively. All this makes for a more realized world that really immerses you in the action. Something prior Dirt games did not do as well.

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