Revisiting DIRT 5 to play through the first significant content added to the game since launch is like putting on your favourite running shoes and going out for a 200m sprint across a muddy field while it snows.
Playing the game again since last year, this time on a PS5 and in 4K, I was reminded of just how visceral the experience is. The dynamic weather, muddy circuits, changeable weather and firework displays. An assault on the senses that leaves you breathless. The Energy Content Pack seems to make the most of this, cranking up the conditions to the maximum settings. Glorious.
This new addition to the game is arguably much needed. The main career for the off-road racing game was fun, albeit brief. Thankfully, while there are new cars included in this pack, there are also new events to tackle. 25, to be precise.
When you launch the game now and select ‘Career’, a different menu will appear, splitting the original races with the latest creations. The new challenges take in most of the game modes you’ve seen before and throws in races that predominately feature the class of vehicles the four additional steeds are part of.
I say predominately because it takes until the third bank of events before you get the chance to try the downloaded machinery, which feels a little odd at first. I wasn’t sure if I’d needed to install another DLC set for a few moments. The cars are the GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Porsche Taycan and Alpine A110 Sports X. The GMC and Chevy are in the Pre-Runner class, while the Alpine and Porsche reside in the Rally GT category.
When you do get to an event where you can use them, you realise that you have to buy them with in-game credits. The content itself costs $12.49/£9.99/€11.49 – or is free if you own the Amplified Edition or Year One Upgrade – so it feels a little odd if don’t have quite enough in-game cash available to play the latest cars. For reference, the in-game prices are below:
- Porsche Taycan – 100,000 credits
- Alpine A110 Sports X – 150,000 credits
- GMC Sierra Pre-Runner – 60,000 credits
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 100,000 credits
This is a minor quibble, admittedly. If you’ve played through the original career extensively already, then you’ll no doubt have enough credits and playing through the first batch of additional events will provide you with enough revenue to splash out soon enough.
The Porsche Taycan is a weapon. You accelerate away from the entire field off the start line, and then most likely, you never see them again. Meanwhile, the Alpine is a drift monster. You spend more time looking out of the side windows than you do the windscreen. Both of the pick-ups are lumbering barges, but that’s okay because they fit in well next to their peers. The GMC is constantly changing gear through its eight speeds, while the Chevrolet sounds like a dog breathing through a straw.
Alongside the career additions, there is also a brand-new Playgrounds location that is free for all players: Italy. If you’re unfamiliar with playgrounds, this is where you get to create your own levels and share them with the world. Our John enjoyed playing through some of these creative renditions recently. Now, there’s even more scope to be creative.
To help set an example, one of the Gate Crasher career events uses a level made in this new Playgrounds arena, and it was the most enjoyable task in the set of events. I would have liked to have seen more of these. However, just one day after release, there are plenty of user-created Italian levels for you to dip into outside of the single-player section.
With the sleek cars, tough pick-up trucks and noteworthy Playgrounds additions all sounding like a home-run, we’re not quite finished yet. While playing the game again reminded me of what is so great about the latest addition to the DIRT series, I was also reminded of the rather stupid AI rivals, the Sprint events which seem to exist as padding alone and the illogical sponsor and race objectives. Do 20 donuts and overtake in mid air – come on now.
I would say that the Taycan is so effective off the line, the whole car is OP too, but that’s a problem with BEVs in games, and not a DIRT 5 issue alone. Trophy and Achievement fans will also be found wanting.
Is the Energy Content Pack worth the asking price alone? With four news cars and around two hours worth of new events, not quite. If this is a sign of what’s to come with the Year One Pass though, which for $59.99/£28.99/€34.99 promises a minimum of 12 new cars and 60 new Career events, then that seems like a worthwhile investment.
Thankfully, because each car drives in a unique fashion, they deliver a fresh angle to the gameplay. This combined with the tortuous weather settings of most events, the Energy Content Pack is an enjoyable addition to an already bombastic racer.