Dirt 5, the tried on Xbox Series X

Dirt 5, the tried on Xbox Series X
Genuinely excited to have the new Microsoft console in our hands, we launched these days on a preview code of Dirt 5 that we were able to run for a long time on our editorial Xbox Series X. During our test we were able to focus on all the game modes of the Codemasters racing game with the only exception of the online, still disabled for this testing session, but clearly our interest was first captured by the career, up to today shrouded in mystery, and then on the graphic and technical aspect of the game, useful for having a first reference on the potential of the next-gen.

Before going into the details of these 2 elements of the game, we take the opportunity to refer you to our detailed article on Playgrounds mode, the new feature of this chapter, repeatedly advertised by the development team, which allows any player to create a track through an integrated editor that is very simple to use, but extremely versatile, and then share your creatures online.

During this new test we have left out this element of the game to focus on the elements you newer, so if you want to know more, check out the article linked above. And now, room for news!

The career

The core of Dirt 5 is clearly represented by his career which goes well with the strongly arcade nature of this series which acts as a counterbalance to the simulation style of the other franchise linked to the Dirt brand, Dirt Rally.

The career progression structure is very simple: from time to time the player will be able to choose and face a certain number of races arranged vertically which differ in scenario and class of usable cars. Once the race is completed, regardless of the positioning, we will have access to the events of the next group according to a sort of map where the competitions are interconnected so as to force the player to make a minimum selection according to his tastes.

All these events are grouped into a sort of category, 5 in total, which ends with a selection of races that tend to be more complex than the others. To access these races it will not be enough to complete the previous events directly connected, but it will also be necessary to have totaled a certain number of stamps. Stamps are earned by placing at least third place in a race.

The system, although difficult to explain in words, is extremely intuitive and above all offers great freedom to the player in the continuation of his career, greatly reducing the frustration related to the difficulty of being well positioned in all the races, but at the same time, however, leaving that feeling of discovery and continuation that is the basis of the single player offer of any driving title, which would risk not being stimulating if it offered access to all its contents from the beginning.
To further enrich our career we also find challenges to which we will be invited based on our results in the classic events and which will see us face a single opponent on the track. In addition we will also have to manage our sponsor, a job that involves a series of objectives to be carried out during the races (from a certain number of overtaking, to maintaining a certain speed for a certain number of seconds, to the distance traveled in jumping and so on. via) that will allow us to increase our reputation with the customer, so as to earn even more money and unlock additional liveries for the cars.

The unlockables in Dirt 5 are in fact many and include numerous aesthetic possibilities to apply to their own cars both with the internal editor and using presets.

Still talking about content and going beyond the campaign, in the game we will have access to 2 arcade modes: the free game and the time trial. In both cases we will be able to customize the race by choosing from all the tracks, setting the weather conditions and the competition time, then we can set the number of laps and challengers in the first case or simply launch on the track and compete against our records with the time trial.

The gameplay

As already explained at the beginning of the article, and as it is immediately clear by observing just a trailer of the game, Dirt 5 is an arcade racing game that must much of its appeal to the immediacy and ease with which you can stay on track and achieve good results without having to spend even a second of your time working on the settings and settings of the chosen car. You just need to properly dose acceleration and brake, use the handbrake to start the car in skidding when the curves are slightly tighter, and in a moment you can complete every single race by positioning yourself at the top.

To compete there can be a maximum of 12 runners and, in terms of the tracks, there are really something for all tastes: we are talking about 38 different tracks, divided among 10 different environments ranging from Brazil to China, passing through Greece, the 'Italy, Morocco, Norway, Nepal, America and South Africa. In reality the scenarios are all fictitious and try to offer some connection with the nation they belong to using graphic elements and artistic trappings. Among other things, to be precise, the number of tracks can actually be considered double as all the tracks also have the mirrored version.

While offering almost any type of terrain and focusing strongly on obstacles, jumps and parabolic curves the races in Dirt 5 are extremely frenetic and not very technical with bounces, rollovers and accidents that have practically no consequences and allow us to get back on track in a moment or even take advantage of the presence of other cars to have some support when maybe we arrive too long in the curve. The damages are there, but they are exclusively aesthetic and do not involve any kind of penalty, so the counter are not only the order of the day, but are almost an integral part of the climb to the first position.

Many also the machines available, about 60, and, unlike the tracks, they are all reproductions of real cars with lots of brands and models in evidence. Audi, BMW, Lancia, Ford, Porsche, Jimco, Brenthel, enthusiasts will certainly be spoiled for choice even if, outside of a subdivision by category according to performance, we will not have access to any type of tuning and features. of the machines are divided simply according to a value (from C to S) of performance and maneuverability. At the first start of Dirt 5 we will have unlocked one car per category and, to have access to the others, we will have to spend the dollars earned by competing in the career and making a good impression with the sponsor.

Nothing particularly original or innovative in short, but the numbers are all in place.

Graphics and technical aspect

Our meeting with Dirt 5 left us with the feeling of a title that was only half successful, full of strange contrasts .

First of all seeing it running on Xbox Series X confirmed for the umpteenth time the very positive considerations we have of this console, especially in terms of its stability, perfect dissipation and a noise that was practically not perceptible for the entire duration of our test. In addition, a racing game like Dirt 5 has allowed us to thoroughly test the comfort of the new controller which, right on the front of the triggers, seems to have undergone exceptional improvements compared to the Xbox One joypad: the rough texture of the triggers is perfect when we find ourselves for most of the time having to keep these moving surfaces of the pad pressed.

Furthermore, the imbalance of the weights towards the lower area of ​​the controller, its horns to be clear, offers further help in not perceiving, practically never, fatigue on the wrists and fingers. This is especially valid in a guide title where the management of controls is particularly "static" and repetitive.

Putting aside these considerations which are much more related to the new Microsoft console than to the game, uncertainties take over Dirt 5 techniques. The game offers two graphics modes, one focused on image quality, the other that instead aims at the maximum frame rate with the theoretical peak reached by the 120 frames per second that Xbox Series X is able to render with the title Codemasters.

We are not able to say in this test if the resolution reached is a native 4k in both graphics settings, but we struggle to think that it is. What immediately catches the eye is that in both situations the title pushes very hard on the effects on the screen, on the particles, on reflections and refractions but also returns a huge tearing effect, particularly annoying when you aim for the setting that favors quality. to the detriment of frame rate stability.

We know perfectly well that it is still a preview code and that probably, once on the market, Dirt 5 could be much more optimized, cleaner and more stable, however during our test we have always favored the setting that returned a better fluidity instead of being amazed by a graphics that, to be honest, seems to be the typical one of a fairly "braggart" title that tends to throw as many effects in the player's face possible, as if to distract them, instead of dosing them with care and aesthetic taste.

There are situations in which the result is certainly pleasant and noteworthy, for example when running in the dark and in adverse weather conditions with puddles on the ground, lightning in the distance and pouring rain on the windshield while leaves and splashes fly around us, or on the snow-covered slopes with the wind that raises the sleet from the ground or the white blanket begins to increase in thickness, lap after lap, as a consequence of the heavy snowfall.

The artificial intelligence that has to manage the other 11 cars on the track is not particularly successful. , very often, it seems to get stuck and become really very problematic in the presence of climbs and jumps, showing us trains of cars that suddenly slow down or rush into the precipices one after the other, in an absurd suicidal single file. Also on this front we hope that Codemasters can fix everything in view of the final release.

Our feedback on the uploads that have always appeared to us very fast with some points of excellence during the selection is absolutely positive. of the cars, typical Achilles heel of all racing games and which is now immediate in showing us the new car when we scroll through the various options available.

Dirt 5 is definitely a good muscle test of Xbox Series X: it's fast-paced, immediate, fast, and easy to play. The contents are abundant and those looking for an arcade-style racing game that launches you in an instant on the track, will surely find a title that is right for them. Our test, however, left us with mixed feelings due to a certain basic inconsistency that runs through both the artistic component and a series of elements of the graphic aspect of the game which, while fully exploiting Microsoft's next-gen, sometimes seems to exaggerate with the only goal to amaze the player. We'll see what the final product will look like once Dirt 5 hits the market on November 6 on current-gen platforms, November 10 on Xbox Series X and the console's launch on PlayStation 5, but for now our hope is that Codemasters take advantage of this month to clean up and optimize the title.

CERTAINTY

Many tracks to tackle and many cars to choose from Career offers the right mix of unlockables with an adequate sense of progression Fast in DOUBT loads With both graphics settings the game is plagued by a lot of tearing Greater artistic coherence would have benefited the identity of the title

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