Whether it be the arcade-like controls and sense of speed, or it’s realistic but fun approach to off-road racing, the Dirt games have always been a safe bet when looking for racing that that's more fun than simulation. That's where Dirt 5’s Playgrounds mode comes in.
Recently, I was able to play an early build of the new Playgrounds mode in the upcoming Dirt 5. In Playgrounds, you will be able to make custom tracks and courses to be used in three different game modes, Gymkhana, Gate Crasher, and Smash Attack. Gate Crasher is your standard time attack race to the finish mode. While this can be really fun with the right course, it's a bit safer and more standard than the other two modes. Smash Attack, unlike Gate Crasher, is a mode where you will need to destroy objects on the track and reach a target score as quickly as possible. There is a lot of replay value here in this mode and trying to get a better overall time was pretty rewarding. But if you’re not a fan of time trail modes then this is definitely not going to be for you.
Finally, Gymkhana is a trick attack mode similar to a Tony Hawk game in which you’ll need to score points by performing various “tricks” throughout the course. Repeat the same thing too often and that trick will become less valuable and your current run of points will be lost when crashing. This mode seems like it will be a fan favorite simply due to how pick up and play it is. Unlike the other two more objective-based modes, Gymkhana has a freestyle feel to it that just felt a bit more intuitive and fun. I found myself drifting along and wanting to go back and try again as soon as a run was complete. If you’re looking for something to relax to and “tune out” to then this may be the mode for you.
As I mentioned earlier, in Playgrounds you can build your own custom arenas as well as share them online. This is where Dirt 5 really separates itself from the pack simply due to the limitless gameplay potential here. If you’re like me and awful at making any custom maps in games, you’re in luck because Dirt 5 has an intuitive and easy to navigate builder. While the builder isn’t the deepest and most in-depth user-generated content experience ever, it's still diverse enough to allow players to make some pretty unique courses. Expect to see some creative and crazy courses shortly after launch.
As far as the gameplay itself goes, like all entries in the Dirt series, driving feels great and I never felt the car slipping away from me due to it being too fast or floaty. Visually Dirt 5's Playgrounds mode is looking to be a bit more colorful and punchier than the base game, which is fitting considering the nature of Playgrounds. The game also runs surprisingly well on the PC considering I played an early build on an iMac Pro and throughout the few hours I spent on the game I never ran into any major issues. Considering this was an early build, it's extremely promising on how well optimized Dirt 5 will be at launch.
With the launch of Dirt 5 only a little over 2 month’s away, it's looking like the game will not only be a major value but also please racing fans and casual gamers alike. With the inclusion of its user-generated playgrounds mode, story-driven campaign, and free next-gen upgrade, that package is only looking more and more complete.
Techraptor played Dirt 5 on the PC with a code provided by the game's publisher. Dirt 5 releases on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on November 6th 2020. Dirt 5 also includes a free next-gen upgrade with the purchase of the current-gen game.