I’ve always been a huge fan of rally games and anything that shy away from traditional track racing. My childhood was spent craving experiences such as Colin McRae Rally (god rest his soul), V-Rally and Sega Rally. Moving along with recent times we have been quite spoilt with off-road titles and storming onto the scene in October 2020 will be a brand new instalment of the DiRT series with DiRT 5. I can’t quite believe it’s been three entire years since DiRT 4 graced our screens because it really doesn’t seem that long ago, you can play this on Xbox Game Pass at the time of writing by the way so make sure you check it out.
DiRT 5 is scheduled to launch on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 on October 9th, 2020 and the first glimpse I had of this was when Xbox conducted their games showcase back in July 2020. Whilst they are launching on current generation machines you will be able to get their souped up editions when the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 launch in November and I’m pretty certain that if you invest in the title on current generation, it transitions to the new version when you upgrade consoles for no further charge, very generous!
Whilst DiRT 5 is still a few months away, I have been extremely lucky to get an early build of some portions of the title to play through before release.
DiRT 5 appears to be going back to the Dirt Showdown kind of vibe by the appearance of the upcoming features and modes. It is essentially focusing on creation and touring the world in many vehicles in a huge mashup of modes. The creation elements that will make its way to DiRT 5 are livery customisation and the all new Playgrounds mode.
Playgrounds is brand spanking new to the DiRT series and a hugely exciting feature which I think will transform the longevity of their title massively. Playgrounds will give you the ability to create, customise, design and edit your very own racing tracks and arenas. This isn’t where it ends though, you’ll be able to upload them to the DiRT5 servers for others to play and try to achieve the fastest laps or the highest scores in their own unique Leaderboards.
Playgrounds features its very own design suite where the player will have access to a range of items such as pieces of track, loops, kickers, bumps, tunnels and even rings of fire! You’ll be able to spend time making endless amounts of creations or simply jump on and play with other people’s designs. The opportunities really are endless and add a new element to not only the DiRT series but to racing titles as a whole, I have never seen this done before and it really is fantastic.
From the creation point of view you are given a completely blank canvas to work from and can choose from two locations in the preview build, I am sure more will be added over time. The two locations are Arizona and Cape Town Stadium in Africa. The building menus are very simplistic and fluid, with a drop down menu and a selection of items for you to choose from. There is a lot to choose from to completely customise anything the way you want it, from blocks and ramps to bumps in the road and water to splash through, the choice is yours. You can also edit your surroundings with foliage, smashed up vehicles and alter colourings of almost anything. Placing objects down is very easy, clear instructions on how to rotate and drop and any restrictions on these objects are indicated. You can duplicate items, snap items together and jump into a car at any stage to test out your creation. You can tell a lot of work has gone into this mode and it really shows.
There are a few event types that you can modify your creation to use for the actual event you want your level to be played for. These modes are called Gate Crasher, Smash Attack and Gymkhana. Gate Crasher is a time based event in which you must proceed through checkpoints. Smash Attack pits you against others in order to locate randomly placed objects with others to be avoided at all costs. Finally Gymkhana is more of a stunt based event where you’ll be drifting, doing donuts and performing jumps, just a tad more expensive and cheaper than doing it in a Vauxhall Nova in Tesco car park. Once your creation is published, which will have to be completed by a run through yourself first, then anyone can stumble across and play it.
Of course you don’t actually have to create anything, you can just get stuck into the action and play other players’ creations which I got lost in for hours playing level after level. Across time I am sure the team at Codemasters will have built it fully to have featured Playgrounds with the best rated creations. There is also a way of picking a level at random, so you can be surprised off the cuff.
Playgrounds is all I have experienced so far and I am glad I have as it had certainly convinced me to become more intrigued for DiRT 5 for sure. Codemasters have laid the foundations of something very special here, unlimited longevity of racing and performing on custom made levels to try to beat everyone’s high scores will keep some avid racers going for years to come. The fact Codemasters has also worked on upgrading to the new generation shows that they are committed to this one for a few years to come as well.
As for the other modes we are yet to see how they progress, but DiRT 5 certainly felt a long more casual than DiRT 4 and the DiRT Rally titles. It is still incredibly competitive and strives to achieve a fun experience for everyone from its feel. It is super satisfying to play, and I whizzed around other players’ creations repeatedly attempting to beat high scores and climb certain Leaderboards. The career mode promises several vehicles and classes across ten differing locations spanning the globe, it will be really interesting to see how all that is implemented into the game too.
Overall DiRT 5 is bright, beautiful, vivid with very satisfying mechanics. It shows real ambition and promise to introduce features it never has before and I truly think the Playgrounds mode will be something incredible with servers full of players. Codemasters has a roadmap coming real soon in the run up to launch, so keep your eyes peeled! One last thing, DiRT 5 runs at 4k 60fps on Xbox One X and is slated to increase to 120fps on next generation consoles, the future of DiRT 5 is exciting!
PREVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this preview. Please send all preview and review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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