We’ve already delivered our main verdict on DIRT 5 with the launch of PlayStation 4, which you can read through the link. However, Codemasters gave us a PS5 version as well, and unsurprisingly, it’s the optimal way to play this arcade off-road racer.
Everything we liked about this game is equal or better about Sony’s sleek new console. Mainly, that means the race itself, which is always a lot of fun. Gliding and sliding through mud, ice, or gravel roads is great fun with forgiving handling that really gets cars thrown. Some races have noticeable peaks in difficulty, but you’ll have too much fun to really care.
On PS5, DualSense’s adaptive triggers take advantage of this; the accelerator and brake pedals are very well represented, becoming easier or harder to squeeze depending on race conditions. Unfortunately, the haptic feedback takes a step back in this case. For a game that lets you drive over so many different surfaces, there’s no nuance to the force feedback. Your controller will only buzz no matter what happens on the track. After the success of games like Astro’s Playroom and, more specifically, WRC 9, it’s disappointing.
That said, that’s not a deal breaker, and you can forgive that oversight for the game’s visual improvements. While not as pronounced as other intergenerational upgrades, the DIRT 5 is certainly better on PS5, and after balancing the HDR settings, its colorful presentation looks great on a 4K display. There are still some weird graphics issues here and there, with occasional light sources turning on and off, but it’s pretty minor and will surely resolve itself. The game is running great too, we didn’t notice any screen tearing so it seems to be resolved.
One issue we had with the PS4 game was the constant loading of screens between events and even some of the menus. Unsurprisingly, on PS5 these loads are either removed or significantly reduced, which is ideal for a bright and happy game like this. While we’re on the technical side of things, there’s actually a decent use of the PS5’s 3D audio tech at play here. With headphones, the game uses positional audio to play music from the in-game speakers located on the sides of each track. This is a simple example, but well implemented; you will hear a louder song to your left as you get closer, then disappear behind you as you sprint forward. It is quite effective.
However, at the end of the day, it’s mostly a hit due to the inherently fun gameplay. It’s always nice to have an arcade racer to start a new generation of gear, and the DIRT 5 certainly fits that project. It has a simple structure and a pseudo-narrative that you can largely ignore, but it’s a lot of fun to play. That is the bottom line.