DIRT 5’S PLAYGROUNDS MODE IS ONE OF THE GOOD ONES
Snap those ramps.       


HANDS ON PREVIEW

By JAY TEE
07/09/20
Previewed on Xbox One X.

Need more dirt? MAKE YOUR OWN.

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Dirt 5 is pitched as a jack of all trades, master of “loads”; it seems whenever new gameplay is unveiled, or features are teased, the value proposition goes through the roof. There aren’t many racing franchises out there dabbling in free next gen upgrades, four player split screen, 120fps modes for new console hardware, and the combo platter of Troy Baker AND Nolan North. Side note: We interviewed two of the devs! Yeah! Fun!

Now, if that opening paragraph reads a little hyperbolic, I can assure you there’s balance to my fervent praise. Dirt has always been a reliable stalwart, but its direction has meandered somewhat in recent years. There’s a dedicated fanbase for sure, and rightly so, but one that tends to curtail its expectations; that Dirt somehow occupies a solid standing in the AA space, choosing to do a couple of things well, albeit without taking much risk.

Given everything that has been revealed & discussed about this new instalment, Dirt 5 appears to be the answer to that (reasonable but ultimately subjective) take. Chief among several impressive additions is the Playgrounds mode, a map editor that lets you build challenging arena based tracks across a selection of game modes. After our hands on time with an early access preview build, I reckon it has the potential to be a standout.

One of the stereotypically frustrating parts of custom design tools is the tools themselves. There are so many games with map editors that quickly get abandoned because illogical controls and / or needlessly complex processes exhaust ones patience, and you end up throwing in the towel. Thankfully, Dirt 5’s snappy and responsive utilisation of this feature elevates it above the rest. And by the rest, I mean LittleBigPlanet. Because I was never clever enough to make sense of it.

There are bugs, sure, especially with lining up objects that, in theory, should click together nicely. But for the most part, this is a rich editor that crucially won’t take you long to make something cool. Being able to share and download other creations is a common sense but still appreciated flourish, and the learning curve is extremely forgiving.

What I’m really saying is: this is going to be a very good videogame. Please be excited.



TARPS?

At the bottom of some of our articles, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.  

The BAM! DONE! badge lets you know that within minutes of picking up the controller, you can play this like a pro.

The SKYPE RINGTONE badge is for a game with a catchy soundtrack that you can’t help but love.

The BATTLESTAR GALACTICA badge is for a game with a visually realistic and / or grounded setting.

The KITCHEN SINK badge is an indication of a game that is bursting at the seams with content (either on disc or DLC).

The COUCH MADNESS badge is awarded when a game nails split/same screen gameplay.

The DEANNA TROI badge is for a game that had a great Demo, Alpha and / or Beta[zed] test.

The QUANTUM OF SOLACE badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by Mike Hazleton.




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