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Preview: DIRT 5 – PS4, PS5 – It’s One Big Playground

Dirt 5 is coming later this year to PS4 and then to PS5, and it’s bringing with it one of the most exciting additions to-date: a level editor where players can create and share their own maps full of driving challenges.

You’d think that this would have come a lot sooner, given the popularity of the Dirt series and the need to keep players hooked for longer in this day and age of software-as-a-service. Better late than never, then.

I’ve had the immense pleasure of playing around in Dirt 5’s new Playgrounds mode over the past week using a preview build on PC. At the moment, there’s no way to preview games on PS4, so PC will have to do.

That being said, it was probably for the best as I got an early look at what games could look like on PS5. Dirt 5 is a great looking game, and despite my PC being a bit behind, I still managed to ramp all the settings up to Ultra and have a good time.

Playgrounds is what you make of it, literally. If you fancy yourself as a budding creator, happy to cater to the masses for nothing more than a bit of love, you’ll find a home in Dirt 5’s Playgrounds mode. If you’re a bottom-feeding leech like I am, happy to consume without giving anything back, you’ll love it too.

For the purpose of this preview, I did give the creator mode a go. To be fair, it’s really easy to put together a simple track and set challenges, even using a controller. For the PC build, I played it with a DualShock 4, and despite the creator being deep, it was still easy to find the pieces I wanted and place them how I wanted. It wasn’t an exciting track, and I daren’t share it with the other media folk playing for fear of ridicule, but at least I gave it a go. More talented players will be able to do a lot more, and probably in a shorter amount of time. I spent an hour making a simple figure 8 track with a jump and a burning death ring.

For players looking for new stuff to try out, Dirt 5 uses a community curation style menu, a little like Dreams or LittleBigPlanet. You can browse the latest stuff, see what’s being played the most, and vote on your favourite tracks to keep them handy for your next go.

I tried over a dozen different maps over the course of this preview. Some had me laughing my head off, others had me frustrated and hitting the ‘quit’ button on the menu. One in particular map called ‘Don’t Look Down’ had me busy for half an hour as I constantly overshot my landings on the jumps situated way up in the air. I was determined to beat it, and I eventually did. It was me versus the creator, and the score ended around 1 – 30. We’ll call it a draw…

Obviously, the main draw of Dirt 5 will be its career mode and multiplayer, but I can’t fault Codemasters for wanting to squeeze a little more into the game. This could be the difference between a player dropping it after a couple of months, or logging in for their daily dose of mayhem until the next game drops.

Playgrounds is just that – a bunch of playgrounds. It’s not to be taken too seriously, and I really hope that the community that builds around the game doesn’t forget it. I want to see the ridiculous, the outlandish, and the downright annoying because as a fellow annoyer, nothing pleases me more than seeing a master at work.

Dirt 5 is set to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 16th. The game will be available on October 13th for those who pre-ordered the Amplified Edition. Dirt 5 will also release later on this year for PS5 and Xbox Series X, with a Stadia release planned for early 2021.

This preview was carried out using a pre-release build on PC, provided by the developer.

 

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