Dirt 5 has the distinct pleasure of launching across two console generations this November. We have our full review of Dirt 5 up here. With that, we could not think of a better way to see how the Xbox Series X enhances its launch games. It should be noted that developers still have many more years of optimizations ahead of them. With that, it is important to see what early offerings the Xbox Series X has in store for gamers. Let’s take a look at how the Xbox Series X enhances Dirt 5.
Dirt 5 Running On the Xbox One X
Dirt 5 on the Xbox One X has two video modes. Under the video options, you can toggle an option called “Prioritize.” This allows you to adjust between a preference of frame rate and image quality. Notice the two images above, the differences between the two modes are modest. Prioritizing frame rate locks the game in at a solid 60 FPS while scaling back on lighting and details. Prioritizing visuals enhances lighting and environment details. While the frame rate becomes rugged, fluctuating between 32 FPS and 48 FPS.
These changes between the two versions are beginning to border on visual sliders found in PC games. The scalable details on foliage, lighting, and landscape may just be one option or another. Yet, this is just day one of the new console generation. It makes me wonder if that is a direction we are heading this generation. As some gamers may prefer ultra-wide output options, high-end HDR, or generous frame rates. Having options is not something the average console gamer is accustomed to.
The Xbox One X version of Dirt 5 has significant load times. It takes 69.2 seconds to get from the Xbox home screen to the menu of the game. After you get through the menus it takes 61 seconds to load a race in career mode. Followed by another 14.3 seconds to get back to the menu after a race. These load times should provide a great example of how the SSD in the Xbox Series X will further enhance experiences going forward.
Xbox Series X Enhancements
When looking at the images there seems to be a very granular level of detail between the two consoles in visual mode. Then there is almost no difference at all between performance modes across consoles. From visual mode, I noticed the reflections are more dynamic running on the Xbox Series X. On the Xbox One X, you will see the sunlight appears as two white dots on the center rear of the two cars. Both dots are perfectly centered as if they are drawn on. Then on the Xbox Series X, there are more accurate sunlight reflections coming from those two cars. You will also notice some more detailed foliage on the right sides. If you look even closer at the Xbox Series X performance mode you will notice the increased density of the bushes under the tree on the right-hand side.
If you are playing on the Xbox Series X or the Xbox One X you seem to be giving up the same level of environmental detail for the locked 60 FPS. In visual mode, Dirt 5 fluctuates between 32 FPS and 48 FPS just like the Xbox One X version. It should be noted that the major difference between performance modes across the consoles is that the Series X can go all the way up to 120 FPS at continued environmental degradation. With that said it requires an HDMI 2.1 connection and of course an HDMI 2.1 capable display that can reach 120 FPS to achieve that in 4K UHD. You can also try to downgrade your resolution to 1080p if 120hz is supported.
An Overall Better Experience
I appreciate that Codemasters has given options with the video settings here. You always want to have a better-looking game, with higher levels of detail. Yet this is a fast-paced racing game where you can’t spend time looking at these off-track details. Some people may demand a locked 60 FPS for improved performance and handling when competing online. As well as other people that are content with the frame rate as long as it’s above 30. With that, I am not bothered by 30 FPS but what does bother me is the fluctuation between the 32 FPS and 48 FPS. Personally, I honestly use both modes. The performance mode for online or competitive matches, then the visual mode for the best next-gen experience on my Xbox Series X. I would feel stronger about the visual mode if it were a locked 30 FPS.
In addition to the visual and performance improvements, the Xbox Series X enhances Dirt 5 load times. The game loads in less than half the time. To launch the game from the Xbox home screen, it takes just over 27 seconds. Compared to the 69.2 seconds on the Xbox One X. This does not even include quick resume. In-game load times are shorter as well. The load time leading up to a race has been reduced from just over 14 seconds to just under 13 seconds. All while loading greater volumes of data. The Series X version of Dirt 5 is about twice the size as it’s Xbox One X counterpart. This is just day one for the Xbox Series X. Over time we should see a significant uptick in optimization.