Adaptation of my own review written for the Steam page of the game.
DIRT 5 is a clear example of what happens when most of your budget and time gets spent on flashy art, big names for your voice acting cast, ad-nauseam marketing, and paying reviewers to leave very positive opinions about the game. Instead of, you know, the game itself. If this game was sold for 15€, wouldn't have been called DIRT and was made by an indie developer, I wouldn't be here complaining.
After the absolute letdowns of the Dirt Rally 2.0 DLC situation, GRID 2019 and Project CARS 3, Codemasters hit rock bottom with this... thing I wouldn't even dare to call a game. Marketed as the DiRT 2's spiritual successor and made from the creators of Onrush, Driveclub and Motorstorm (despite Codemasters Cheshire being currently made up by absolutely NONE of the people who made those games, but rather in good part by people who have never worked on a game before), ridiculously overpriced... nothing in this game, physics, graphics, gameplay, content - you name it - meets the quality you'd expect from a 70€ title, euphemistically speaking. In fact, every aspect feels very mediocre, lazy, and an afterthought. And the feature that's being advertised the most on their social media isn't the actual gameplay, but all those in-game screenshots which showcase the game's "good graphics", taken with copious amounts of motion blur and rigorously at sunset to hide the very poor and blurry textures. Oh, and the playgrounds mode, a bootleg replica of Trackmania's editor, in the hope that user generated contents could compensate the lack of official ones.
- Game engine: DIRT 5 ditched the venerable EGO in favor of Onrush's engine, and recycled in a 1:1 copy most of its features, such as dynamic weather and "advanced" photomode (the weather is actually more complex in Onrush). While also discarding others, such as deformable terrain, replays and car damage. A maximum of 12 cars is allowed in a race... just like Onrush. When I was told that a "small" team of 70 people made this game in one year, I figured they had to spend the time and rush building a game engine (thus the lack of features), since they also told me the game was not running on the tried and tested EGO engine. But as it seems, the only thing that's "new" in this game are the tracks, with some almost certainly outsourced 3D car models.
- Physics: they don't make any sense whatsoever (credit to friendo xdDDbx)
. While it's perfectly understandable that DIRT 5 is heavily arcade-oriented, that doesn't mean it should babysit the player without him having any saying... I mean, masterpieces such as DiRT 2 and 3 were arcade too, but their handling models felt... natural. DIRT 5 just ISN'T FUN. AT ALL. Where's the excitement of driving a car that doesn't let you keep a drift because it countersteers automatically? Where's the excitement of driving a car that reacts like it's make of plastic when colliding with other vehichles? Of driving with AI drivers who act like toddlers at a kindergarten being told to form an ordered line? Of driving a car when braking is heavily discouraged in favor of using walls or other drivers to turn? And if you're used to other games, you'll find yourself busy fighting your car instead of focusing on the actual race. And that's in a game carrying the name of DIRT, made by a company with decades of expertise in the field.
- Graphics and performance: the looks don't justify calling the game "next-gen optimized". They would've been acceptable in the 360/PS3 era, but not in 2020 onwards. Xbox One X and Series X versions are undistinguishable. Edges are super blurry thanks to a rather shoddy TAA. Developers and artists of this game designed maps using techniques you'd learn in the average "Basics of the Unity Engine for dummies 101" course. Such as tiling a single, blurry, small texture over a big low-polygon count 3d object. Once you notice it, you can't unsee it (you can spot it in Morocco stage). Anybody you read saying "omggg this game looks incredible!!!!" are most likely playing only on certain tracks, and at sunset. And they ask 70€. gah.
- Gameplay: physics were already described. Gamemodes have all the fancy names, but at the end of the day, it's the same stuff, just with different cars. With the exceptions being Pathfinder and Sprint. Certain car classes are unbearably slow, and within the same class, you're only going to use one vehichle out of them all (the one with the highest horsepower/weight ratio) because them giving a massive advantage in races, rendering the others pretty much useless. Back to the drawing board, gameplay designers.
- Content, features and progression: lacklustre is the word to describe it. You got a few super wide tracks that all resemble one another gameplay wise, all available from the beginning, and on which you'll play the entirety of your career. Career being just a string of events next to eachother which will reward your "efforts" with shiny medals like a good boy who behaved well. The new DLC career events being merely additional casually picked events on those same tracks you could as well just play in quick play (arcade) mode. Sponsor progression very poorly explained and implemented, despite marketed as one of the key progression features of the game. Flashbacks? Nonexistant. Replays? Same. As far as progression is concerned, you win races, get money, buy cars. By the time you reach half of your career, you will have enough money to get all of the cars and have plenty to spare. There's no incentives to... proceed in career. Or doing anything in the game really.
- AI: the most lifeless and boring I've ever seen in a racing game. Literally chasing their own racing line, at a constant distance one from the other.
- Online: don't even get me started. I presume putting the game up on Gamepass might have helped with the online population, but that came at the cost of rendering us buyers' purchases basically useless, and our money spent, wasted.
And you get all of this experience along a buncha dudes randomly talking while you're at the menu to put up whatever "story" is behind the career mode, and the blandest, most uninspired and generic pop/alt. rock soundtrack to accompany you during your races (yeppppp definitely DiRT 2's spiritual successor lmfao. Lies and deception).
EA, do us all a favor and please terminate this bunch of clowns already.