Throughout the years Codemasters have made several attempts at making Dirt games.
After playing the original “DIRT” I’ve been hooked. Yet, I’d argue that they’ve struggled to create a game that even comes close.
The most recent releases are Dirt 5 and Dirt Rally 2.0.
These games differ a lot in gameplay and show the indecisiveness of the Dirt series.
While the main aim is to get in your car and finish the race in first place, they couldn’t be so different.
The main difference between Dirt and Dirt Rally
The original dirt game was considered realistic. Offering a realistic take on multiple racing disciplines, it quickly won my heart.
Dirt 2 moved slightly more to the arcade side, but it was still great.
As we’ve progressed throughout the series it seems to have gotten farther from reality.
With the originals straying further from reality, they decided to create Dirt Rally. A decision I’m very grateful for, as are many others.
Both Dirt Rally games are much more on the realistic side and focus on special-stage rallying.
This brought back a lot of the hardcore rally fans who played the earlier Colin Mcrae games.
It’s very straightforward to make the decision between the two titles.
Pick Dirt if you want an arcade multi-discipline racing experience.
Pick Dirt Rally if you’re after a realistic special-stage rallying experience.
Dirt 5 vs. Dirt Rally 2.0
While both rally and racing-themed, the differences between Dirt 5 and Dirt Rally 2.0 are huge.
We’ll start off with the types of races you can do.
Dirt 5 is multi-discipline and allows you to compete in 8 different race types. These range from Rallycross to Baja Trucks, Ice Racing, all the way to Gymkhana.
Whereas Dirt Rally 2.0 has literally only Special Stage Rally and Rallycross.
As for the Cars, Dirt 5 offered 63 cars on release. These range from R5 cars to Baja Trucks, Superlites, and even “Rally GT” cars such as a BMW M2.
Dirt Rally 2.0 offers over 50 different cars. This is actually more like 25-30 though, as most of them offer both Rally and RallyX versions of many.
The locations in both games are fairly similar. They have stages and tracks from all around the world.
The main difference is that Dirt Rally 2.0 offers a lot of real stages and rallycross tracks.
Dirt 5 has dynamic weather which changes as you progress through each race, whereas Dirt Rally 2.0 is set for each stage.
Both of these games do offer “career modes”.
I’ll be honest though, there isn’t much excitement in the Dirt Rally 2.0 one. You race through rally championships and earn money, repairing and buying new cars on the way.
Dirt 5 on the other hand offers a slightly more in-depth story and progression system.
Dirt Rally is more focused on the racing.
Neither of them are particularly hard to progress in but the racing is definitely harder in Dirt Rally.
Assists can be changed to make the game easier, harder, or more realistic.
Both of the Dirt games have online play, and you’ll be able to get lobbies on both.
They’re not that busy online, but there’s enough of a player base thanks to EA Play and Gamepass.
The online modes in Dirt 5 offer a lot more variety, whereas Dirt Rally is a little more restricted.
Dirt 5 offers all of the modes in the game, as well as party games.
Whereas Dirt Rally you’ll have daily challenges where you post your best stage time or if you want PVP, you can play the Rallycross races.
Dirt 5 – Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & Stadia.
I believe that at the time of writing this article, it’s available on EA Play so you don’t need to buy the game outright if you have that.
PC System Requirements
As you can see, these are pretty much the same recommended specs. If you can run one, you can run the other.
Dirt 5 vs Dirt Rally 2.0 – My Conclusion
I’ve been on Rally games for as long as I can remember. I used to play Richard Burns Rally as well as the very early Colin Mcrae titles.
Given the option, I’d choose Dirt Rally 2.0 every single time. I much prefer the rally simulator experience over the arcadey racing offered in Dirt 5.
However, I’ve got a slight spanner to throw in the works.
Dirt 4 vs Dirt 5…
Now, despite the fact I’d still side with Dirt Rally over either of these two games, Dirt 4 is a good option.
Dirt 4 is a very good middle ground between Dirt 5 and Dirt Rally. It’s realistic enough to satisfy a sim fan but has enough variety to keep the casual entertained.
Dirt 4 is also the game that has come closest to recreating the very first in the series.
The career mode is very like the other Dirts. You have to race your way through rally stages, rallycross, and landrush while building a team and following.
Dirt 4 also featured the “your stage” builder which generated new rally stages based on the users’ inputs.
And when you weren’t fancying proper racing, you could always jump into the free-roam arena.
The free-roam arena played host to many non-rallying challenges, tutorials as well as the freedom of driving around as you like.
Dirt 4 is available on PS4, Xbox & PC.
However, if you’re a PC player, you’ll have to buy a key from a CDKey reseller as the game has been removed from the Steam store.
Overall, Dirt 4 is a better game than Dirt 5 (In my opinion). It’s not quite as good as the Dirt Rally series, but it will give you many hours of fun.